Bear spray while bikepacking?

While the assurance of carrying bear spray is nice, the bulkiness and weight are major factors that persuade most individuals from carrying it bikepacking. And, for most people in the southeast the thought of carrying bear spray rarely crosses their minds. Plus, the odds of seeing a black bear in North Georgia are somewhat slim while camping or riding, but the possibility is always there… Below is a 673 pound black bear taken by a crossbow in Northeast Georgia.

Bikepacking Heaviest Bear in Georgia
Georgia’s heaviest bear taken in Rabun County on 9/30/2017.

Do you need to carry it:

For bikepackers out West and here on the East Coast, the time to be concerned is when you settle in for the night. Having that can of bear spray next to at night might ease your mind, thus allowing you to get a few extra minutes of sleep. Now after bikepacking alone a few times I do think it is worth the weight and would highly advise all bikepackers to carry a can. You don’t want to be remember as the guy who was too cheap or too concerned about weight to carry a can and die from a bear attack.

For Solo Bikepacking:

I think anyone who is bikepacking alone should carry some form of protection, a hand gun or bear spray. Carrying gun is not always ideal, but it is probably the best alternative to bear spray. Bear spray will also ease your family’s mind. Carry it to please them.

For Group Bikepacking:

If you are bikepacking in a group and camping together make sure at least one person in your group carries it… I would give it to the slowest guy as he will need it the most. 🙂 Remember to always to keep a clean camp, hang your food bag, and keep food odors away from your sleeping clothes.


Tips to “Bear Proof” your Campsite:

  1. Sleep in different clothes than the ones you cooked in.
  2. Keep a can of bear spray and a flashlight near you while you sleep
  3. Use the bearmuda triangle method, keep your sleeping area 100 yards away from both your cooking area and food bag.
  4. Cook simple and avoid smelly food.
  5. Always hang a food bag and don’t keep any food in your tent.
  6. Always “Pack it Out”.

And, remember bear spray is a deterrent and no deterrent is 100% effective.

Bikepacking and Bear Spray

Necessary or not?