Going on a camping trip is something that’s supposed to be a lot of fun. It usually is a great time to go camping, but when you’re camping in an area that is known to have bears, it’s especially important to be careful.

If you don’t know a lot about what attracts bears, then you might be wondering about whether you can pee outside safely. Some people are curious about whether bears are attracted to human urine.

Read on to get all of the necessary information to put your mind at ease. You’ll learn about how to stay safe from bears at a campsite so that you can have a smooth camping experience.

Yes, Bears Do Seem to Be Attracted to Human Urine

It isn’t entirely clear why, but bears do seem to be attracted to human urine. If a bear smells that human urine scent, then it’s likely going to come to check it out if it happens to be nearby.

Bears have incredibly powerful smelling capabilities, and this means that they will be able to smell urine very clearly even if you try to dilute the smell. It simply isn’t a good idea to try to pee too close to your campsite if you want to keep things safe.

The best thing that you can do is walk a fair distance from the campsite to handle your business. It’s recommended to urinate downstream from the camp as well so that none of it will make its way back toward the campsite.

Of course, this also goes for when you need to defecate because bears will also be able to smell that. If you have to relieve yourself, then it’s going to be wise to do so far away from the camp.

Experts recommend burying your excrement as a precaution, too, because it’ll be more likely to keep the bears from coming near your campsite. You should throw some dirt on any urine that you happen to leave behind since it might help a bit as well.

Admittedly, it might seem like a pain to have to go to these lengths to protect yourself from bears, but this is a part of camping in bear country. If you know that an area has a local bear population, then you’ll need to be as careful as possible to avoid potential confrontations.

Don’t Leave Food Lying Around

Leaving food lying around is going to be a terrible idea when you’re camping. It’s very possible that bears will be able to smell the food, and they’ll want to come to try to get as much of it as they can.

It’s necessary to take precautions when you’re camping in an area that is known to have bears. Always clean up your food and seal any trash bags that you have to prevent the bears from smelling anything.

You might even want to go so far as to cook away from the campsite. The smell of cooking food is going to be something that can attract bears, and cooking away from the campsite keeps them away from it.

If a bear does come around after you’re done cooking because it notices the smell, then at least you won’t be lingering in that area. This is another thing that could be considered an inconvenience, but you have to be as smart as possible to avoid issues.

When you cook too close to the campsite, the smell of food is going to permeate the air. The smell of the food and the smoke will also get on your tent, and this is going to make it smell like food.

You could decide to take a nap and then wake up to find that a bear is curiously poking around. There’s no reason to give yourself a scare like this when you can avoid problems by cooking away from the campsite.

Avoiding Aromatic Foods Might Be for the Best

Some foods are going to be far more aromatic than others. Cooking smelly foods such as fish or bacon will wind up being a siren’s call to the local bear population.

You might be hankering for some fish or bacon in your meals, but it’s better to choose foods that are less aromatic. If you can bring foods that don’t have powerful scents, then you’ll be able to eat without having to worry quite so much about piquing the interest of nearby bears.

Plan out your meals ahead of time so that you can make good decisions. If you do things right, then you’ll be able to get through this camping trip with only fond memories.

Store Food Safely

Food needs to be stored safely when you’re camping so as not to attract bears. You should bring some type of bear-proof cooler that can store all of your food and beverages.

When you buy a bear-proof cooler or storage case, it’s going to keep things safe from bears. Even if a bear were to come and try to mess with the cooler or storage case, it wouldn’t be able to get inside it.

This doesn’t mean that a bear wouldn’t try to mess with it, though. Experts suggest that you store food containers like this in a safe spot that will be away from bears as a precaution.

For example, some people decide to suspend coolers or storage cases in the air using ropes. You’ll be able to lower it and raise it with a type of pulley system.

If this sounds annoying to you, then you can just try to store the food container in your car so long as it is sturdy enough to withstand a bear. Do not store a container like this in a tent or a pop-up camper since bears will tear right through things like that.

Avoid Leaving Open Drinks Out at the Campsite

Remember that you need to avoid leaving drinks out as well because those can attract bears. You might not think that an open can of soda would be something that a bear would be interested in, but bears will try to mess with stuff like that.

If you’re going to open a bottled or canned soft drink, then you should try to drink it in a timely fashion. Once you’re finished with the drink, it’ll be best to dispose of it neatly.

Utilize the trash bags that you have brought with you to keep the bears from smelling things as much as possible. It’ll help to keep you safe, and your campsite will be a lot tidier since you’re being vigilant.

Never Sleep in Clothes That You Cooked in

Sleeping in clothes that you were wearing while cooking is dangerous. The scent of the food is going to have seeped into your clothes, and this could very easily attract bears.

It’ll be better to change your clothes before you go to take a nap in your tent. To keep the bears from smelling the clothes that you cooked in, it’s recommended to seal the clothes in a plastic bag.

If you can utilize plastic bags that seal airtight, then that will certainly keep the bears from smelling the clothes. Even something like a garbage bag that is tied off well will help, though.

This is one of the reasons why you should bring a change of clothes even if you’re just camping for one day. It’s best to be safe rather than to wake up and find bears at your campsite.

Pick a Good Spot to Camp

Picking a good spot to camp is going to be crucial when you’re trying to stay safe. Camping in certain spots will be far more dangerous than others.

For example, if you camp too close to the river, it’s possible that you might be camping near spots that bears frequent to hunt for fish. If you want to camp near a water source, then you should ask around to find locations that are known to be safer.

It’s best to keep your campsite away from known trails and berry patches as well. If you notice any carcasses nearby, then you’ll certainly want to steer clear of that area since that could be a sign that a bear is near.

Even if the carcass has nothing to do with bears, it’s going to be something that could attract bears to the area. Be smart and camp away from signs like this to give yourself the best shot of staying safe.

Always Sleep in Your Tent

If the breeze feels nice, then it might be a bit tempting to take a little nap out in the open air. As great as this sounds on paper, it’s going to leave you vulnerable to bears.

You should always sleep inside your tent when you’re at the campsite to stay as safe as possible. This means that hammocks and things of that nature should probably not be utilized for sleeping while on a camping trip.

If you’re feeling sleepy, then you should always return to your tent before falling asleep. Falling asleep out in the open could wind up being very dangerous, and there’s no reason to risk it.

Be Careful About the Cosmetic Items You’re Using

One thing that most people fail to think about is that bears can smell things like cosmetic items. This means that the cologne or perfume that you might be wearing could potentially attract bears.

Before you go camping, it might be wise to look up some information about the cosmetic products that you’re using. You should just avoid using cologne and perfume while you’re camping to be safe, but you might still wish to use deodorant and other things like that.

You can do a bit of research to get the right type of products that won’t attract bears. Buying unscented deodorant is a must, but you can also choose to forego using deodorant while camping.

Keep Pets Leashed and Accounted for

Bringing pets on a camping trip with you is fine, but you need to try to do things safely. If you’re bringing your dog to the campsite, then you’ll want to keep it on a leash.

A curious dog that goes wandering too far could wind up encountering a bear or other dangerous wildlife. A dog wouldn’t be able to do much to protect itself from an aggressive bear, and it’d be a horrible thing to lose a pet in such a way.

You care about your dog, and you want to keep it safe. This is why it’s so crucial to ensure that you’re using a leash to keep it near your location at all times.

What to Do If a Bear Shows up

What if a bear shows up at your campsite even when you’ve followed the advice above? Well, it’s going to be wise to get away from the bear if you’re able to do so safely.

Sometimes fleeing isn’t wise, though, and it’s going to be better to try to startle the bear to see if it goes away. You can try making noise and puffing yourself up as big as you can by standing tall and raising your arms.

Bears that are used to humans and aren’t afraid will be especially dangerous. If attempts to scare a bear away seem to be fruitless, then you’ll want to try to safely exit the area and get away from the bear.

Don’t concern yourself with your belongings in this situation. Just try to coordinate with the other members of your campsite to get everyone away from the camp and to a safer spot.

You can return at a later time to try to pick up your belongings. It’s possible that the bear might have made a mess of things, but it’s better to lose a tent and some belongings than to get attacked by a bear.

Make Wise Decisions

Now that you know more about bears and how to stay safe at a campsite, it’ll be easier to make wise decisions. Moving forward, you’ll be able to plan things out to avoid any issues while camping.

It isn’t always possible to predict a bear’s behavior, but you can still have a good general gameplan to follow. You’ll be able to do your best to avoid attracting bears to the campsite, and you’ll know what to do if something does happen to go awry.


I have a bachelor's degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies...I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.

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