Campers, hikers, backpackers, and wilderness experts understand the importance of bear spray. This is a product that some might not give much thought or credence to until they need it. Imagine that you’re hiking through the woods and encounter a bear. Will you gratefully reach for your bear spray or feel a heavy rock in the pit of your stomach as you realize you did not pack it? We don’t want to sound dramatic, but the bear spray you use can be the difference between life and death when you’re alone out in the wild.
You might be wondering exactly why bear spray is the best option for bear deterrence. For one, it’s easy to use and fast acting. Bears have sensitive noses and use their sense of smell for most of their hunting and foraging. Bear spray immediately delivers a burst of anti-bear mace that can be sprayed at a long distance. If a bear starts to charge or comes too close, you can send it heading in another direction at the push of a button. Bear spray is also faster acting and more effective than using a gun. In some cases, shooting a bear will just aggravate it further. Bear mace has a 98% success rate.
Now that you know how important a good can of bear spray is, you may be wondering how to find some. That’s where we come in. We have reviewed the best bear sprays currently available. We have listed them below with their product specifications and their top pros and cons. Each option on our list has been chosen based on factors like power, spraying distance, real-life rating, effectiveness, ease of use, and overall value.
Guard Alaska prioritizes safety, quality, value, and service in all of their products. Their bear spray combination pack includes a 9oz can of bear repellant formulated with a maximum strength 1.34% total capsaicinoid deterrent as well as a convenient and durable belt loop ballistic holster for easy carrying. This product is unique, as it’s the only bear repellent that has been registered with the EPA as a repellent for all species of bears. It’s also environmentally safe and doesn’t contain any flammable or ozone-depleting substances. A fogger delivery system allows the spray to quickly engulf a bear’s entire face including its snout and eyes. This spray has undergone six years of extensive testing in the backwoods of Alaska. Additionally, this spray shoots up to 20-feet and has a 9-second continuous release rate. With the high Capsaicin content, easy delivery trigger, and impressive range, this is a good option for defense against all types of bears. The only disadvantage is that this is a single-use repellant option. You’ll have to purchase a new can after use.
This spray works well and shoots up to 35 feet, which means that you won’t have to be any closer to bears than you’d like. It also has a stronger capsaicinoid formula than other options such as the Guard Alaska. Like the Guard Alaska, this kit includes both a bear spray deterrent and a belt clip holster. This can is also durable and damage-resistant. Its security tie prevents accidental discharge, and you get 9.2oz of fluid – more than many other cans offer. It also delivers a larger burst of spray. Unlike other fogging sprays, it discharges in a large burst for added defense and then creates a lingering fog to keep bears at bay. When seconds count, this is an important factor. It has also been field tested and approved. It’s bit more expensive than other brands, but we think the slight price increase is worth it for the stronger formula and better can design. It also boasts an impressive 3-year shelf-life. This product is not reusable.
Here’s another bear spray that also comes with a convenient belt loop carrying holster. This is a good option if you’re going to be in areas where large bears like grizzlies are common. It comes in a large 10.2oz can that discharges at a rate of 9.2oz per second and sprays 32 feet. It also features a safety cap that helps to prevent accidental discharge. This bear spray has the hottest formula allowed by the EPA: 2% capsaicin. It also boasts one of the longest spray times on our list. It is only beaten in distance by the Sabre Frontiersman and the UDAP 18HP Super Magnum, which both reach distances of up to 35 feet. With a long discharge time, you will have enough time to force bears away, and you can adjust your aim as you spray. We find this useful, as bears tend to move around a lot when they charge. This can also glows in the dark, making it easy to access at night. On the downside, it’s marginally more expensive than some of the other quality bear sprays.
The largest can of bear spray on our list, we recommend UDAP 18HP Super Magnum Bear Spray for backcountry hunting, hiking, and fishing trips where large bears are definitely known to live. It also contains the hottest CRC formula allowed and was developed by a bear attack survivor. It is a high-volume spray with a 35-foot range, tying it with the Frontiersman Bear Spray. If you are going to be in wild grizzly country, this is a must-have. If you’ll be in black bear territory, it may be a bit excessive. This spray deploys an extremely high-volume blast of concentrated CRC and pepper spray. It creates a fast and dense fog that covers a broader area in a much shorter time compared with many other sprays. On the other hand, it also costs more than any of the sprays on our list, though this makes sense, as the can contains 13.4oz of bear deterrent. This spray also cannot be taken on commercial airlines.
We’ve rated this product as the best value. This is because it comes at a good price, contains powerful spray, and has everything that you need to keep bears at bay. For starters, this bear spray is compact and durable. It also comes with an easy-to-use holster that clips to your belt. It has an additional glow-in-the-dark safety clip with an attached chain. This bear spray has the hottest 2% CRC formula allowed by the EPA. It has a 30-foot range, which is enough to keep bears away. Just like the other UDAP sprays, it was developed by a bear attack survivor. The only difference between this can of spray and the UDAP 18HP is that it comes in a smaller can and doesn’t shoot quite as far. It’s a good value and would work well for most bear attacks. However, if you’re going up against grizzly bears, we recommend getting the slightly more expensive and larger 13.4oz can of UDAP 18HP Bear Spray.
Created with a 10% OC Pepper Formula called Oleoresin Capsicum, this spray disables bears without permanently hurting them. It is made of the naturally occurring hot pepper oils that other kinds of mace are made with. It is also EPA approved. The can empties in around 6 seconds and can be shot up to 35 feet. This spray contains 260g of product. While this spray should work perfectly well if you come across a curious bear rummaging through your supplies, for high-danger situations, we think you might be better off with a more powerful option.