Bear attacks: The greatest fear of every new hiker. While seeing wildlife out there can be a magical experience, it can also be pretty jarring, especially if you aren't prepared. The reality is that when you head out for a hike, you're heading right into the home of all types of animals. Bears, and most other predators, typically only attack humans when they feel protective or threatened, so there are steps you can take up front to mitigate your risk, like wearing bells or talking loudly, keeping your dog on a leash, and carrying bear spray.
That said, the chances of actually running into a bear at all are very low, and the chances of said bear attacking you are even lower. So, the main function of your bear spray is to give yourself a little peace of mind, plus an effective solution if you do find yourself in an unlikely emergency. In fact, studies have shown that bear sprays are even more effective than firearms in emergency bear situations, and obviously come with the benefit of not seriously wounding or killing the bear.
So, to help you in that regard, we found some of the most effective and reliable bear sprays and maces online. Keep reading to find the top picks that hunters and hikers alike count on, so you can get out on the trail worry-free.
The Best Bear Sprays of 2023
- Best Bear Spray Overall: Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Spray
- Best Bear Spray for Value: Mace Brand Guard Alaska Maximum Strength Bear Spray
- Best Bear Spray for Reliability: UDAP Bear Spray Safety Orange with Color Griz Guard Holster
- Bear Spray with the Best Range: SABRE Frontiersman 9.2 Ounce Bear Spray Deterrent
- Best Bear Spray for Practice: SABRE Frontiersman Practice Bear Spray
The Best Bear Spray Overall
If you want to make sure you can scare a bear off from as far away as possible, this spray from Counter Attack comes with a range of 32 feet. Developed at the University of Montana, the spray contains 2% capsaicin (the highest legal amount), and should work with any and all types of bears. Each can has a four-year shelf life and, like UDAP, it was developed by a survivor of a grizzly bear attack.
The Best Bear Spray for Value
This pepper spray made by Mace comes with a range of 20 feet, along with a powerful formula that's sure to make a bear think twice about coming closer. It's EPA-approved and easy to use, and it comes with a safety cap to avoid accidental discharges. With 4.6 stars on over 1,100 reviews, this is easily one of the most popular options you can find on Amazon.
Mace Brand Guard Alaska - $30.62
The Best Bear Spray for Reliability
The bright orange color of this UDAP spray is sure to stand out, and it's one of the most trusted options by regular adventurers. The can comes with a convenient holster, and the spray itself is the hottest allowed within regulations. Reviewers on Amazon report that it sprays wide, making it easier to hit your target. Plus, this spray was developed by an actual bear attack survivor, so you can bet that its performance is taken pretty seriously.
UDAP Bear Spray Safety Orange with Color Griz Guard Holster - $43
The Bear Spray with the Best Range
This spray from Sabre ups the ante on Counter Assault and claims a range of 35 feet. It's quick and quiet to use, with an easy-access holster that you won't have to fumble with in an emergency. The formula for the spray contains the maximum amount of capsaicin, and it's been thoroughly tested to ensure that it'll work for you, the bear, and the environment.
The Best Bear Spray for Practice
When you buy bear spray, the sincere hope is that you don't get your money's worth and never have to use it. However, in the event that you do need to, you won't want it to be for the first time. So, instead of wasting your actual spray on dry runs, you can grab one of these practice cans. The practice spray uses the same mechanism as actual Sabre sprays (minus the actual pepper formula) so you can get a great idea of how to aim and use the spray. Here's to hoping that practice is all you'll need!
Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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