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Up to date Apr 11, 2023 6:41 AM

When touring by means of bear nation, an err of warning ought to all the time be taken, and for most individuals, meaning carrying objects like bear spray and bear canisters. Most of what’s advisable for hikers and campers is to stop bear encounters, however since we’re touring by means of their houses, we’re sure to cross paths every so often. 

There usually are not a variety of variations between the bear sprays available on the market, however there are a couple of. When you find yourself looking for a bear spray that can assist you deter any potential bear assaults, search for the quantity, vary, and ease of use. This spray ought to solely be used as a deterrent to an aggressive bear and shouldn’t be used to hurt docile wildlife. To make sure you have top-of-the-line bear sprays to your subsequent journey out in bear nation, we reviewed a few of our favorites and, in our opinion, a couple of of the best choices. 

How We Picked the Finest Bear Sprays

Fortunately, a number of regulatory pointers make sure that deterrents might be efficient if used appropriately. That signifies that those available on the market ought to all theoretically work. In our opinion, the most effective has a spread of not less than 30 ft, can create a cloud, and has a capability of not less than 7.9 ounces. Different options can contribute to ease of use, like a security lock and a holster. 

Past the usual security precautions and regulatory necessities of bear spray, we didn’t have many different necessities. Since this can be a security product, issues like sustainability had been more durable to slender down. Because the canisters are pressurized, they’ll’t simply be refilled or recycled until there’s a canister recycling program in your space, the park you might be visiting, or a set by means of the corporate. 

Our prime picks for the most effective bear spray had been primarily made primarily based on the efficiency options and effectiveness when in use. 

Finest Bear Sprays: Critiques & Suggestions

Finest Total: UDAP Bear Spray

Finest Total


  • Spray Vary: 30 ft
  • Quantity: 7.9 oz
  • Holster: Sure


  • 30-35 foot spray vary
  • Blasting fog sample
  • Could be discharged in or out of the holster
  • EPA accepted spray
  • UDAP Magnum examined to 0°F (-18°C)


  • Solely accommodates a minimal quantity (7.9 ounces)

If efficiency is your prime precedence, the UDAP Bear Spray ought to be your prime decide. We selected this as our prime decide for the most effective bear sprays as a result of long-range, ease of use, and spray sample. Developed by a grizzly bear assault survivor, this spray was deliberately designed to be the most well liked oil-based spray that may legally be bought. 

It comes with a useful holster, and the spray canister has a security on it. It’s nonetheless straightforward to make use of and may even be deployed within the holster, making it even simpler to make use of in an emergency. The one potential flaw we noticed with this one is that it solely meets the minimal necessities for quantity (7.9 ounces). With this quantity, you must nonetheless have not less than 4 seconds of spray time, which can deter a bear throughout a confrontation. 

Total, this is a wonderful alternative for anybody touring in bear nation. It’s reasonably priced, efficient, and straightforward to make use of. Additionally obtainable in a two-pack with a holster included. 

Finest for Backpacking: Mace Guard Alaska Bear Spray

Finest for Backpacking

Mace Guard Alaska Bear Spray is the best for backpacking.


  • Spray Vary: 15-20 ft
  • Quantity: 9 oz
  • Holster: Not included


  • Excessive quantity (9 oz)
  • Doesn’t include ozone depleting elements 
  • Registered efficient in opposition to all bear species 
  • Empties in about 9 seconds


  • Bigger canister as a result of quantity 
  • Holster bought individually

Mace Guard Alaska Bear Spray might not have the furthest vary, however it does have a excessive quantity making it a wonderful choice for backpacking. Whereas it could really feel counterintuitive to go for the next quantity due to weight, it offers an extended spray time and higher protection total. That alone offers many backpackers extra peace of thoughts whereas mountain climbing for a number of days in bear nation. 

With the upper quantity, you can even guess that the canister is bigger. There are holsters you may get to go together with this selection, however they’re typically bought individually. Bear in mind that there are a couple of knock-off variations of this floating round on-line, so be sure to purchase the actual factor to make sure effectiveness and that it’s EPA accepted. 

Finest Vary: Counter Assault Bear Spray

Finest Vary

Counter Assault Bear Spray is the best range.


  • Spray Vary: 32-40 ft
  • Quantity: 8.1-10.2 oz
  • Holster: Sure


  • Two quantity choices
  • Lengthy spray vary 
  • Non-compulsory 8-second spray period
  • Efficient in opposition to all bear species 


  • Giant canisters might be laborious to hold

Counter Assault Bear Spray has two canister quantity choices obtainable, with the bigger dimension (10.2 oz) having a twig vary of as much as 40 ft. The most effective bear sprays must have good vary and, as of scripting this, 40 ft is the most effective vary obtainable in a deterrent efficient on all bear species. 

With the longer vary and the upper quantity, the canisters are pretty massive, and the primary grievance concerning the Counter Assualt Spray is that it’s too large to hold comfortably. Each canister sizes include a holster to connect to your belt or a backpack strap. 

Together with being an efficient bear deterrent, it additionally claims to launch 91% fewer greenhouse gases than rivals. Counter Assualt Bear Spray meets all EPA necessities and insurance policies associated to the Clear Air Act. 

Finest Worth: Frontiersman Bear Spray

Finest Worth

Frontiersman Bear Spray is the best value.


  • Spray Vary: 35 ft
  • Quantity: 9.2 oz
  • Holster: Sure


  • Choice for brief bursts or full canister launch 
  • Out there in a multipack with holsters
  • Additionally obtainable in a 7.9 oz canister 
  • Further chest holster choice 


  • Holster isn’t tremendous safe 

The Frontiersman Bear Spray is an efficient and reasonably priced choice that is available in two quantity choices and may typically be present in a multipack. It’s distinctive as a result of it permits for one-second bursts of spray, whereas most will deploy all of sudden. You’ll be able to spray the whole canister directly in case you select, which is usually advisable in a bear assault. Having the quick burst choice is useful and lets you re-aim the nozzle if wanted. 

We advocate the bigger 9.2-ounce canister to offer you an extended spray time, however there may be additionally a 7.9-ounce choice. Most on-line choices include a holster, however you’ll be able to decide to buy a chest holster as an alternative of a hip one, which is superb for backpacking. The holster itself shouldn’t be our favourite as it’s elastic and feels a bit flimsy, however it does make for simple entry in an emergency. 

What to Contemplate When Selecting a Bear Spray

Whichever bear spray you resolve to buy, pay shut consideration to a couple particular particulars. These particulars, corresponding to canister quantity, vary, and pressurization, will all differ from pepper spray as a result of the supposed use differs. 

Canister Quantity

When searching for a deterrent that might be efficient, canisters should have 7.9 ounces or extra. The EPA requires that the minimal quantity of spray inside a canister is 7.9 ounces; in any other case, it could not include sufficient to discourage a bear successfully. Having the next canister quantity is more practical because it has an extended spray time and is much less more likely to run out throughout a single bear assault. 

Even in case you are backpacking or mountain climbing and wish to hold bear spray, we advocate having container with at least 7.9 ounces. Any lower than that, and you might be susceptible to not having sufficient to discourage even a single bear. Most may have a quantity nearer to 9 ounces, so hikers are higher outfitted in bear nation.

Vary of Spray

The vary of the bear spray is without doubt one of the most vital points to have a look at when purchasing. Some solely have a attain of about 12 ft. Whereas this may be an sufficient distance, it isn’t a snug one. Go for the next vary to extend your possibilities of safely stopping a bear in its tracks. 

Go for bear sprays with a spread of 30-40 ft—the additional away, the higher. The vary also needs to describe if it’s a stream or a cloud. Having a narrowly centered stream is barely efficient when you’ve got wonderful goal. In these conditions, excellent goal is tough to return by, so hunt down an honest distance and one which has a large cloud, fog, or shotgun blast sample. 

Together with the space and attain of the spray, the speed or pace of the spray can matter. Some sprays will attain a pace as much as 70 mph, whereas others are a lot slower. A sooner charge might be good, however discovering a center floor is right more often than not. That method, you’ve extra time to goal the stream, and also you don’t danger discharging an excessive amount of within the improper course. 


The way you carry the bear spray will normally rely in your exercise. An vital consideration is how accessible will probably be in an emergency. Whether it is in your backpack, even whether it is simply accessible in regular circumstances, you possible received’t have the ability to take the pack off, open it up, entry the spray, after which spray it in time. 

We advocate carrying bear spray in a holster of some form. That method, you’ll be able to attain down and seize it when wanted. You’ll be able to connect it to a belt, the hip strap, or the shoulder strap of your backpack. You don’t must take away your pack to entry the spray. 

Having the spray in a holster, you’ll be able to seize it at a second’s discover and stop the spray from being by chance deployed in your backpack. 

Security and Ease of Use

Not all canisters have the identical security or spray options. Some canisters come and not using a security lock, which might be harmful as it’s a lot simpler to discharge the spray, leaving you defenseless. We advocate all the time shopping for a bear spray with a security lock of some form. 

On prime of that, get to understand how straightforward it’s to unlock, spray, and goal. When a bear is approaching you, the very last thing you want is to spray your self as an alternative of the bear by chance (imagine me, it’s occurred, and it isn’t fairly). 

Security ought to all the time be a precedence within the backcountry. If you’re stocking up on security gear, don’t overlook your first support equipment both. And you’ll learn some tips about avoiding bear encounters from considered one of our consultants.


Q: How do you employ bear spray?

As with every out of doors product, we all the time advocate following producer directions. How one can use the bear spray might differ from model to model, however there are some basic directions you’ll be able to observe. 

To make use of bear spray, maintain the canisters out in entrance of you with two arms. The canister can relaxation in a single hand whereas the opposite controls the set off. Make sure that the nozzle is pointing away from you and in the direction of the bear. The bear ought to be inside not less than 30 ft (10 yards) of you earlier than spray. The furthest vary of a bear spray presently on the is 40 ft, so do your finest to gauge the space in correlation with the product you’ve. 

It helps to spray barely downwards as a result of a slight canister recoil. Most canisters advocate discharging the whole contents of the canister in a zig-zag sample within the course of the bear. This creates a bigger cloud of spray between you and the bear. 

Q: When ought to somebody use bear spray?

Bear spray ought to solely be used if a bear is charging you. It may also be used on different wild animals which are charging you. Don’t use bear spray on wildlife that poses no menace and isn’t exhibiting threatening habits. All the time give the bear an opportunity to go away the world earlier than utilizing bear spray. It’s a final resort and methodology of deterrence to flee a bear assault and shouldn’t be used if a bear shouldn’t be bothering you or doesn’t discover your presence. The primary line of protection in opposition to bear assaults is bear avoidance. 

Q: Does bear spray work?

Sure, bear spray works and is doubtlessly the best line of protection in opposition to bears. A 20-year examine printed by the Journal of Wildlife Administration concluded that bear spray is not less than 90% efficient in deterring undesirable habits from bears. Different sources state increased success charges, as much as 98%, making bear spray way more efficient and safer than firearms to guard in opposition to bears.

Q: What’s the distinction between bear mace vs. pepper spray?

The distinction between bear mace and customary pepper spray is the pressurization, quantity, and vary of the spray. Bear mace is way extra pressurized and may have a  spray vary of as much as 40 ft. The quantity of spray within the canister can also be a a lot increased quantity than pepper spray to accommodate the spray vary. Each bear mace and pepper spray include the identical lively ingredient, oleoresin capsicum (OC), however at totally different volumes. They each may cause short-term blindness, nausea, and different signs. 

Q: How a lot does bear spray price?

A person can of bear spray prices wherever from $40-60. If you’re touring to a well-liked park with bear exercise, they might have bear spray for hire since you can’t carry it on planes, and shopping for it for one journey might be considerably costly. Bear spray does final wherever from 3-4 years, however it’s going to lose some stress over time and might not be fairly as efficient. 

Q: Is bear spray required?

It is suggested that you just carry and know easy methods to use bear spray when mountain climbing and tenting in bear nation. Nonetheless, there are additionally some rules surrounding bear spray, and it might not be allowed in all parks. If you’re touring to bear nation, examine native park rules to see if bear spray is advisable or allowed. 

Remaining Ideas on the Finest Bear Sprays

Realizing space pointers, suggestions, and insurance policies is step one in a profitable trek by means of bear nation. Then comes prevention. We wish to respect wildlife and provides them house. Constantly implement preventative measures to keep away from bears, however it nonetheless by no means hurts to be ready in case you cross their path. Having the most effective bear spray is an efficient option to shield your self and the bears throughout an encounter. 

Why Belief Us

For greater than 125 years, Subject & Stream has been offering readers with sincere and genuine protection of outside gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outside, and that keenness comes by means of in our product opinions. You’ll be able to rely on F&S to maintain you updated on the most effective new gear. And once we write a few product—whether or not it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cowl the great and the unhealthy, so you recognize precisely what to anticipate earlier than you resolve to make a purchase order.

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