Best Bear Sprays

Best Bear Sprays: Top 9 Options

Camping is a fun outdoor activity that brings tranquility, promotes survival skills, and fosters an appreciation for nature and the environment. But camping also provides opportunities to come into close contact with woodland creatures, particularly bears, so you need one of the best bear sprays. Spotting a bear in the wild can be rewarding, as long as it’s from a distance. Bears aren’t technically aggressive, but they can be unpredictable when they feel threatened or imperiled. That’s why it’s best to avoid getting too close to bears, especially if the bear has cubs or is scouring for food. But if you do find yourself becoming a disturbance to a bear, and a bear attack is imminent, you will need one of the best bear sprays to act as an effective deterrent and form of self-defense.

Top 9 Best Bear Sprays

Preview
Best Value
Udap Bear Spray Safety Orange Color Griz Guard Holster (Black)
Most Powerful
SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray 9.2 oz (Holster Options & Multi-Pack Options) — Maximum Strength, Maximum Range & Greatest Protective Barrier Per Burst! — Effective Against All Types of Bears
Best Range
Mace Brand Maximum Strength Bear Spray,
Guard Alaska Bear Spray with Belt Clip Holster and Pepper Defense Max Strength 10% OC Pepper Spray
SABRE Frontiersman Practice Bear Spray, 7.9 oz Inert Canister, Practice Before You Go, Realistic Canister Increases Familiarity and Confidence in Use
Title
Udap Bear Spray Safety Orange Color Griz Guard Holster (Black)
SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray 9.2 oz (Holster Options & Multi-Pack Options) — Maximum Strength, Maximum Range & Greatest Protective Barrier Per Burst! — Effective Against All Types of Bears
Mace Brand Maximum Strength Bear Spray,
Guard Alaska Bear Spray with Belt Clip Holster and Pepper Defense Max Strength 10% OC Pepper Spray
SABRE Frontiersman Practice Bear Spray, 7.9 oz Inert Canister, Practice Before You Go, Realistic Canister Increases Familiarity and Confidence in Use
Rating
4.8
4.7
4.5
4.4
3.5
Strength
Maximum strength CRC (2%)
Maximum strength CRC (2%)
Maximum strength CRC (2%)
1.34% CRC
Not applicable
Delivery Range
30 feet
35 feet
35 feet
20 feet
30 feet
Spray Duration
4 seconds
9 seconds
6 seconds
9 seconds
5 seconds
Accessibility
Holster included
Holster included
No holster included
Holster included
No holster included
Size
7.9 ounces
9.2 ounces
9.2 ounces
9 ounces
7.9 ounces
Price
$39.99
Price not available
Price not available
$44.99
$19.99
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
Best Value
Preview
Udap Bear Spray Safety Orange Color Griz Guard Holster (Black)
Title
Udap Bear Spray Safety Orange Color Griz Guard Holster (Black)
Rating
4.8
Strength
Maximum strength CRC (2%)
Delivery Range
30 feet
Spray Duration
4 seconds
Accessibility
Holster included
Size
7.9 ounces
Price
$39.99
Prime Status
-
Button
Most Powerful
Preview
SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray 9.2 oz (Holster Options & Multi-Pack Options) — Maximum Strength, Maximum Range & Greatest Protective Barrier Per Burst! — Effective Against All Types of Bears
Title
SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray 9.2 oz (Holster Options & Multi-Pack Options) — Maximum Strength, Maximum Range & Greatest Protective Barrier Per Burst! — Effective Against All Types of Bears
Rating
4.7
Strength
Maximum strength CRC (2%)
Delivery Range
35 feet
Spray Duration
9 seconds
Accessibility
Holster included
Size
9.2 ounces
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button
Best Range
Preview
Mace Brand Maximum Strength Bear Spray,
Title
Mace Brand Maximum Strength Bear Spray,
Rating
4.5
Strength
Maximum strength CRC (2%)
Delivery Range
35 feet
Spray Duration
6 seconds
Accessibility
No holster included
Size
9.2 ounces
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
Guard Alaska Bear Spray with Belt Clip Holster and Pepper Defense Max Strength 10% OC Pepper Spray
Title
Guard Alaska Bear Spray with Belt Clip Holster and Pepper Defense Max Strength 10% OC Pepper Spray
Rating
4.4
Strength
1.34% CRC
Delivery Range
20 feet
Spray Duration
9 seconds
Accessibility
Holster included
Size
9 ounces
Price
$44.99
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
SABRE Frontiersman Practice Bear Spray, 7.9 oz Inert Canister, Practice Before You Go, Realistic Canister Increases Familiarity and Confidence in Use
Title
SABRE Frontiersman Practice Bear Spray, 7.9 oz Inert Canister, Practice Before You Go, Realistic Canister Increases Familiarity and Confidence in Use
Rating
3.5
Strength
Not applicable
Delivery Range
30 feet
Spray Duration
5 seconds
Accessibility
No holster included
Size
7.9 ounces
Price
$19.99
Prime Status
Button

1. UDAP Pepper Power Bear Deterrent 

The UDAP Pepper Power Bear Deterrent spray delivers a powerful fog of spray up to 30 feet away from a bear. It empties in a swift 4 seconds, which may be beneficial to some campers and hikers. It has maximum potency, and the bright orange color of the spray canister will make it a hard object to misplace or lose on the campgrounds or the trail. 

Specifications

  • Strength: Maximum strength CRC (2%)
  • Delivery Range: 30 feet
  • Spray Duration: 4 seconds
  • Accessibility: Holster included.
  • Size: 7.9 ounces
Pros
  • Sturdy holster
  • Lightweight canister
Cons
  • Low capacity canister

Sample Customer Review… I would never want to go hunting without Udap bear spray. I like this one because the holster is sturdy. In my state, we are not allowed to carry a sidearm while hunting, so this is our only option for defense against aggressive four (and even two) legged assailants. I had another can of Udap bear spray that had a fabric holster that began to wear out. This is sturdy plastic, so it should not fray, although I suppose it could potentially break. However, it’s not flimsy and I think it will hold up for a long while.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

2. Griz Guard Bear Spray

The Griz Guard Bear Spray is a trusted brand of self-defense against bears for hikers, campers, and outdoor lovers. It has maximum strength potency and has a delivery range of 30 feet, giving it the ability to be deployed at a safe distance. This bear spray also has a silent trigger, which is a great feature, and the absence of a noisy trigger won’t spook the bear, you, or any other wandering woodland creatures. The Griz Guard Bear Spray also comes with a holster, making for easy accessibility.

Specifications

  • Strength: Maximum strength CRC (2%)
  • Delivery Range: 30 feet
  • Spray Duration: 4 seconds
  • Accessibility: Holster included.
  • Size: 7.9 ounces
Pros
  • EPA-approved
  • Lightweight canister
Cons
  • Low capacity canister

Sample Customer review… This is as I expected it. I purchased this not only for an unexpected encounter with a dog, bear, or other wild animals but also, as a self-defense device against any crazy characters I could potentially meet on the hiking trail. It fits very snug in its holder, but it appears very easy to use. I think with a bit of strategic placement and practice, it will work effectively for my needs.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

3. SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray 

This SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray has maximum potency and a pretty safe delivery range. It’s also non-flammable and environmentally friendly, which makes it perfect for camping! 

This bear spray works on black, brown, and even polar bears (you know. . . in case you ever find yourself snow camping).

Specifications

  • Strength: Maximum strength CRC (2%)
  • Delivery Range: 35 feet
  • Spray Duration: 9 seconds
  • Accessibility: Holster included.
  • Size: 9.2 ounces 
Pros
  • Great delivery range
  • Reflective packaging
  • Lengthy shelf life
Cons
  • Bulky container

Sample Customer Review… I carry this product every time I go out with my 2 dogs. There are bears here along the Oregon coast from time to time. If I feel threatened by a bear, loose dogs, or some jerk, this will fix the problem. The belt holder is perfect and very secure. yet, the can is easy to draw and prime for use (remove safety key that is)I highly recommend this product. Though I have not had to blast beast or man-beast with it, sure nice to have for my treks.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

4. UDAP 18HP Super Magnum Bear Spray

At 13.4 ounces, the UDAP 18HP Super Magnum Bear Spray is the largest spray on this list. It has maximum potency, great delivery, effective duration, and a holster feature to make for easy accessibility and storage. And the best part about this spray: it was created by a guy who survived a horrendous bear attack. This spray was literally made to provide powerful protection against bears.

Specifications

  • Strength: Maximum strength CRC (2%)
  • Delivery Range: 35 feet
  • Spray Duration: 7 seconds
  • Accessibility: Holster included.
  • Size: 13.4 ounces
Pros
  • Fast and dense delivery
  • Large capacity canister
Cons
  • Canister may be hard to retrieve from tight holster

Sample Customer Review… This product is among the top products available with the most “pepper” for the buck. The chest holder positions this defensive spray in easy reach when you have to react to a bear attack. The Magnum Bear Spray also comes with an informative pamphlet on how to handle yourself when you come in contact with bears. I would recommend this to a friend. Overall great product.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

5. SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray with Chest Holster 

This SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray is the same as the one described above, but it has a useful and unique addition: a chest holster! The chest holster will provide you with fantastic accessibility in the potential incident of a bear attack. Plus, unlike holsters that attach to belts, chest holsters have decreased chances of somehow coming off of your person. All in all, with this product, you get one of the best bear sprays and an effective means of accessibility and storage.

Specifications

  • Strength: Maximum strength CRC (2%)
  • Delivery Range: 35 feet
  • Spray Duration: 9 seconds
  • Accessibility: Holster included.
  • Size: 9.2 ounces
Pros
  • Great delivery range
  • Reflective packaging
  • Lengthy shelf life
  • Excellent accessibility
  • Adjustable holster
Cons
  • Bulky container

Sample Customer review… This is expensive but it’s only for if you want pepper spray which shoots the farthest. I tested every brand & size of types of spray & stream for maximum distance, including Fox Labs 1Lb, Sabre Red large canisters, & all the smaller sizes of brands. This definitely shoots farther than any brand & size of pepper spray.

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6. Guard Alaska Bear Spray Repellant

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The Guard Alaska Bear Spray Repellant was tested for six whole years in Alaska, a state with a dense bear population. The spray has a whopping duration of 9 seconds, and it has a belt clip holster for easy accessibility. This spray will keep the bears away!

Specifications

  • Strength: 1.34% CRC
  • Delivery Range: 20 feet
  • Spray Duration: 9 seconds
  • Accessibility: Holster included.
  • Size: 9 ounces
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Effective on all species of bear (Not just bears in Alaska)
Cons
  • Formula does not have maximum potency

Sample Customer Review… I bought this spray for emergency situations, which have not happened as yet–thankfully! So I have yet to use it and cannot review its effectiveness as a deterrent. However, the can is definitely much larger than the home-type of mace or pepper spray I am used to seeing and the canister seems very sturdy and well-made. The holster is rugged and holds the canister very nicely. Should we have to use it, I have all the confidence that it will do the job for which it was designed.

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7. Mace Brand Bear Spray

The Mace Brand Bear Spray is a power fogger spray that empties in 6 seconds. It has maximum potency to ward off aggressive bears, and it sprays at a safe distance of 35 feet. And considering you get 9.2 ounces of spray in a single canister, this is a pretty sweet deal.

Specifications

  • Strength: Maximum strength CRC (2%)
  • Delivery Range: 35 feet
  • Spray Duration: 6 seconds
  • Accessibility: No holster included.
  • Size: 9.2 ounces
Pros
  • Dense delivery
  • EPA-approved
  • Large capacity canister
Cons
  • No holster

Sample Customer review… I used this on a four-day backpacking trip and the stitching held up just fine. I used it with an 8.1 oz can and it fits perfectly, but there is room for expansion. I wouldn’t recommend that you go with this holster for a can much smaller than 8 oz. The trail that I experienced was mountainous and even through the switchbacks and ups/downs, my can remained secure at all times.

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8. Guard Alaska Bear Repellent + Belt Clip Holster + OC Pepper Spray

This Guard Alaska Bear Repellent bundle features the same Guard Alaska bear spray as described above. However, this product package is unique because it comes with a holster and a highly potent (maximum strength) OC (oleoresin capsicum) pepper spray, which is a self-defense spray typically carried by police officers. The travel-sized OC self-defense spray has a key ring attachment, making for easy and quick accessibility. In general, this product bundle is good to have to keep yourself safe against bears and any human attackers while on the trail.

Specifications

  • Strength: 1.34% CRC
  • Delivery Range: 20 feet
  • Spray Duration: 9 seconds
  • Accessibility: Holster included.
  • Size: 9 ounces
Pros
  • Bear repellent effective on all species of bear (Not just bears in Alaska)
  • Bear repellent and OC pepper spray are easily accessible
Cons
  • Bear repellent formula does not have maximum potency
  • Product has limited shipping locations

Sample Customer Review... A great product at a great price. This Combo Pack gives you everything you need to safely hike through a country that is populated by predators and large animals. The spray without a holder is useless in an emergency and the keyring model is a bonus! I gave that to my daughter for her personal protection. Although I live on the East Coast, we now have plenty of black bears, eastern coyotes, moose, and possible mountain lions. I did the research and am convinced that this is the best package available. Thanks!

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9. SABRE Frontiersman Practice Bear Spray 

This SABRE Frontiersman Practice Bear Spray is not an actual bear spray, so it only contains inert material, not capsaicinoids. This is simply a practice bear spray that should help you feel comfortable and get familiar with aiming and deploying an actual bear spray. This SABRE Frontiersman practice spray has the same spray pattern and deployment mechanisms as the real SABRE Frontiersman bear spray products. Therefore, you will get great simulated practice with this safe practice bear spray!

Specifications

  • Strength: Not applicable
  • Delivery Range: 30 feet
  • Spray Duration: 5 seconds
  • Accessibility: No holster included.
  • Size: 7.9 ounces
Pros
  • Contains no capsaicinoids
  • Simulates real bear spray
Cons
  • No holster

Sample Customer Review… This Frontiersman can work just like the one I tried in Yellowstone and the one I own (they pretty much all work on the same principle). With your pointy finger through the ring, use your thumb to kick back the clip and then press the lever in short spurts (you are practicing after all). Another huge bonus is that you get to see the distance the spray goes vs. only having a rough mental calculation. The clip was a bit tight on the first few uses, but loosened up to where it released more easily, but would not be at risk to fall off. The clip is also secured via a little chain so you won’t lose it on either this practice can or the real spray.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

How Bear Spray Works

Bear sprays are made with capsaicin-based agents similar to those used in the pepper sprays, which can be used as self-defense to prevent attacks from aggressors. The difference between bear spray and pepper spray has to do with potency.

Standard self-defense sprays sold over the counter use fairly low concentrations of capsaicin agents (generally 0.18 to 1.33%), while bear deterrent formulas have capsaicin and related capsaicinoids (CRC) content of 1 to 2%. These contents cause a temporary burning sensation in bears’ eyes, nose, mouth, and skin.

This burning sensation will temporarily incapacitate the bear and prevent an attack. These CRC content percentages correlate with potency: the higher the CRC content, the higher the potency and strength of the bear spray. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows for a maximum bear spray strength of 2% although a minimum of 0.85% CRC content is enough for the spray to effectively deter an attack. 

Not only are bear sprays an effective defense against a bear attack, but the sprays are also ethical. If used correctly, bear sprays are not lethal to you or the bear. The sprays just serve as an unharmful preventive measure, often leaving bears unscathed or with minor injuries. Sprays are also safer than using guns to ward off an attack. Gun usage, despite proper training, may contribute to irreversible violence, especially if you are nervous or intimidated when faced with a potential bear attack.

You also may want to avoid killing animals who are simply living in their natural habitat, as doing so is deemed cruel and unethical and a disturbance to the peace that camping should facilitate. Bear sprays are a safer form of protection and self-defense. However, it must also be noted that even though bear spray is legal across the United States, there may be regulations for bear spray usage in certain national parks.

Do your research before your next camping or hiking trip to a national park to ensure that you’re complying with park regulations and making sure either that safeguards are already in place or if you must provide your own forms of protection.

How to Use Bear Spray in an Attack

Step 1: Pull out the canister and remove the safety clip. Most bear spray cans include a safety tab to avoid accidentally discharging the spray while camping or hiking. You should remove this safety clip when you’re ready to discharge the spray.

Note: Always store bear spray where it’s easily and readily accessible. What good is a bear spray if you have to search for it in your backpack while a bear is approaching you? To avoid such situations, try to look for bear sprays that come equipped with a holster.

Step 2: If possible, try to move so that you are upwind. Doing this will reduce the risk of being inadvertently hit by the spray when it’s discharged from the canister. 

Step 3: Aim slightly downward (at about a 30-degree angle) between you and the potential path of the approaching bear. You want to hold the spray canister firmly with both hands to steady your aim and increase accuracy. The bear should, ideally, be between 30 and 40 feet away from you as you’re discharging the spray.

Step 4: Pull the trigger in 1 to 2-second bursts to discharge a cloud of the spray in the bear’s path. Slowly walk backward as you continue to spray until the bear changes direction. The sound of the spray and the cloud of red pepper should deter the bear. However, if the bear continues to charge at you through the cloud of spray, you should aim directly at the bear’s face and spray a full blast until the bear retreats. Most bear spray canisters have an average of an 8-second spray duration, so use your spray wisely and conservatively.

What to Do When You See a Bear

Don’ts

  • Although you may feel naturally inclined to run when you encounter a bear, completely avoid doing so. Bears can run up to 30 miles per hour. Even if you believe you have Olympian-level running skills and an unmatched athletic prowess, you still, more than likely, will not be able to outrun a bear.
  • No matter how cute or cuddly they look, bear cubs should not be approached. Mother bears are very protective over their cubs, so you definitely don’t want to be in her path due to wanting a closer look at her baby.
  • With no means of escape from an aggressive and approaching bear, you may think it safe to climb a tree and hide there. However, this escape plan is quite ineffective. Bears can climb, too.
  • Don’t discharge your bear spray too early. Consider the delivery range of your bear spray so that you can discharge it at a time when the bear will come into direct and timely contact with the fog and be less able to attack.

Do’s

  • If you’re camping or hiking with a group, you can all huddle up together so that you seem larger and more intimidating to the bear. Bears may be less likely to attack if you gather together like this.
  • Make some noise! Making noises will also possibly make bears more intimidated and less likely to attack.
  • If you find yourself facing a potential attack from a grizzly bear, try playing dead. Though this tactic may work for you with certain bear species or in certain circumstances, be aware that it will not work as well on predatory bears.
  • Lastly, stay calm. Even though you may be fearful, try not to act on any impulses that may put you in a dangerous situation.

Buying Guide

Thinking about buying a bear spray as a means of protection next time you’re in bear territory? You should be! In order to buy one of the best bear sprays in the market, look for these 4 important things: strength, delivery range (spray projection), spray duration, and accessibility. Here’s an in-depth look at each of these features:

Strength

As previously mentioned, bear spray potency is determined by the amount of CRC content. The maximum strength for bear sprays is 2%, as determined by the EPA. Just know that the higher the CRC content in a bear spray (with the highest being no more than 2%), the more effective the spray will be in warding off an attack.

Delivery Range

You shouldn’t have to be face to face with a bear to prevent an attack. Doing so can lead to major injuries and probably death. Because of this, you want to buy a spray that discharges at a safe longitudinal distance. The minimum delivery range should be a length of 20 feet. An ideal (and much safer) delivery range is between 30 and 40 feet.

Being able to discharge the spray at this range allows you to let the bear come close enough for you to accurately aim and project the spray but not too close that you don’t have time to fully discharge the spray canister’s contents if the canister must be fully emptied to successfully prevent a bear attack. 

Spray Duration

This is a very important thing to consider, especially since the total time for spray duration, or the time it takes to empty the spray canister, depends upon the situation in which you find yourself. 

Short spray durations are typically between 5 to 8 seconds. Although the contents are quickly delivered and a protective barrier is swiftly created, you will have less time to readjust your aim in a way that protects against a bear’s potential change of course, or you will have less time to more accurately aim at the bear if you didn’t have an accurate aim at the start. 

Long spray durations are typically between 8 to 12 seconds. Long spray durations do give you more time to readjust your aim than short spray durations allow. Bear sprays with long spray durations do tend to be big in capacity or size, or ounces. Big sizes leave more spray for any potential future attacks.

So which spray duration is better? You decide! Just make sure you choose a bear spray with a spray duration that allows you enough time to readjust your aim or potentially save some of the spray for future camping and hiking trips.

Accessibility

Accessibility should be a major concern of yours when it comes to buying bear spray. The best bear sprays have holsters that allow for easy accessibility and storage. Bear sprays could be stored in one of your backpack’s compartments or even in a side pocket on your backpack or camping gear, but you have to visualize yourself in a scenario where a bear may attack. Will your nervous, sweaty fingers fail you while attempting to reach for your spray in your gear? Or would you feel safer (and cooler) whipping out your bear spray from your belt? The decision is all yours!

Conclusion

No matter which of these best bear sprays you choose to purchase, it’s wise to always be aware of your surroundings and be familiar with any existent safeguards, or lack thereof, when camping and hiking in order to protect yourself. It’s also extremely essential to know how to camp in the wild and be prepared for any situation that may arise in your outdoor hiking and lodging. Simply having bear spray in your gear won’t make up for ill preparation and failure to know how to survive outdoors. Take proper precautions and stay safe out there! Happy camping, people!


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Written by Artesa Cox and Jack Leduc

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