How to use Bear Spray Effectively – Guide

Walking and camping in nature can be one of the most exciting and relaxing experiences you can have. Striving to maintain a healthy balance between time spent indoors and outdoors is probably the most rewarding effort you can make in your life. The only problem that deters some from camping more often is the possibility of encounters with bears. Learn all about How to use Bear Spray Effectively in this article.

Simply grab a can of this highly effective deterrent when packing for a trip outdoors and keep it within walking distance.

How to Choose the Best Bear Spray

We know there are many options, and all of them boast of being the best bear spray of all time. Choosing one can be confusing, and even after making a purchase, you may still have a lingering feeling that you could have chosen better. Especially since this is a safety issue, it is normal and expected that you will worry if you chose the best formula.

So how can you stress less? By continuing to read, of course. We’ve explained exactly what factors to consider when choosing a reliable bear spray for hiking and so on. This way, if you know what to look for and what each feature on the label means, you’ll have more peace of mind after choosing a Bear spray.

bear wood

How to use Bear Spray Effectively: Range and Coverage

The maximum range offered by any product on the market is 35 feet, although most options (even the best) generally offer a range of 25-30 feet. Keep in mind that this may be an exaggeration in most cases, and the actual range you reach when spraying the product is likely to be less (about 20 feet). Not that the promise on the label is false, but the actual range of pepper spray can depend on many other factors: wind speed and direction, the strength of your hands, your familiarity with this type of spraying device, etc.

At a minimum, look for products that can guarantee a range of at least 16 feet. This is the minimum recommended range for this type of product. If the bear spray you are considering has less than a 16-foot range on the label, continue with the next option.

You will most likely use it when the bear is closer to you than the maximum range advertised on the spray can. This is for two reasons. First, the farther you spray, the less effective it is. When sprayed closer to you, the fog remains more concentrated and therefore more effective. Second, most bears avoid humans, so it only makes sense to start spraying if you see the bear coming towards you and attacking you. This means that you will be spraying from a fairly short distance, but that is no reason to panic. Bear sprays are so effective that they have been proven to work in exactly this type of situation.


The best bear sprays are available in a capacity of at least 7.9 ounces of spray because that is the amount of active product needed to deter a large animal. This amount of product will give you 6-9 seconds of continuous spraying until the can is completely exhausted. Some of the best options come in large quantities (such as 10.2 ounces). This can give you an extra second or two or spray, which can be reassuring, especially for novice users.

bear spray

Bear Spray Holster

The bear spray you are using should be on hand if you come face to face with a bear. Such encounters can occur suddenly (especially in the area known as Bear Country, but also in any of the mountains popular with hikers and campers). If you have to rummage around in your backpack in search of the spray, it may be too late. Therefore, to be able to reach it easily, you have to carry the bear spray container around your belt. The best bear spray products offer a cover that goes with the container, but they also tend to be more expensive because of that.

Pepper Spray vs Bear Spray

All the best bear sprays are based on a high concentration of capsaicin-derived substances. It is like pepper spray that is used for self-defense against humans, but much more powerful, to be effective against bears. However, some formulas are more environmentally friendly than others. If you are concerned about your impact on nature and the ozone layer, be sure to choose a formula that promises low impact.

Strength and Efficiency

The strength of the bear spray you will use depends on two factors: the concentration of the active ingredients (the actual components of the pepper) and the amount (which translates directly into the total spray time you can get from the can).

The concentration can vary between 1% and 2% (this 2% being the maximum concentration allowed by law). The best bear spray formulas, which are considered quite strong, have a concentration of capsaicin-derived substances of at least 1.3%. As long as you see it on the label at least, you can be sure that the bear repellent you have chosen is strong.

bear spray mace

How to use Bear Spray Effectively: Ease of Use

You want a bear pepper spray that is easy to use, of course. At the same time, you should make sure that there is also a safety system in the warehouse so that the can of bear mace is not accidentally discharged. Therefore, the best bear sprays have a mechanism that achieves a balance between ease of use and safety.

Where to Buy Bear Spray

You can get bear spray in most online stores. You may also find them at Walmart or similar stores.