If you're venturing into the great outdoors you might want some tips for keeping bears away from your tent. These furry and curious creatures can be a real nuisance when you're snoozing under your nylon shelter after an evening of hobo packs and six packs around the campfire. Follow these tips for keeping bears away from your tent and you can have a worry-free experience in the wild.
- Camp where bears don't exist. Unless the circus is in town and the dancing bear in the pink tutu has escaped and somehow found its way to your campsite, this singular tip will ensure a bear-free night in the woods. Bears have natural habitats and the outskirts of Cleveland or Nebraska are fairly safe bets for plopping a tent in a safe zone from maul-thirsty bears.
- Don't use your tent as a dining room. If you choose to camp in terrain where bears are known to roam, try to refrain from eating a fish dinner inside your tent with the thought that you are too tired to wash your dishes until morning. Bears like fish. Any scent of errant flakes in your sleeping bag is an invitation for a rude awakening about three in the morning.
- Don't freshen up your armpits with deodorant or overly foam your mouth with toothpaste in the tent. Bears like this smell as well. For some reason they think Old Spice and Crest smell like fresh squirrel. Also, don't sleep with a squirrel in your tent.
- Protect your food. Secure all food in vehicles, a bear box, or hang it from a tree branch at least ten feet high and four feet from the trunk. The bear may spend the night trying to figure out a way to move the picnic table into a position to be able to swat the food bag to the ground, but at least you will be safe in the tent.
- Ditch the leftover gorp from your pockets before crawling into the tent for the night. In fact, burn your shorts. If you haven't figured it out by now, bears have a fairly keen sense of smell. That Butterfinger you were hiding under your pillow for a late-night snack? Death bait. Hang it from the tree and live to eat it another day.
- Place motion-activated claymores in a circular defense pattern around a 360 degree radius from your tent. There might be some collateral raccoon, squirrel, chipmunk, possum, or stray emu damage, but the noise of the explosions should keep bears away. If not, there will be plenty of carcasses to keep them distracted while you slumber away in your one mm thick fortress.
- Sleep to the sounds of Ted Nugent blasting away from a battery operated iPod docking station. You could try Culture Club, but I don't think the odds of preventing an attack would fare as well as "The Nuge" defense. In fact, Culture Club may actually act like a kind of auditory fresh salmon buffet. So stick with "Cat Scratch Fever" for safety reasons.
Follow these tips for keeping bears away from your tent and you can experience an enjoyable camping experience whether you camp in the Rocky Mountains, the interior wild of Alaska, or your backyard in Des Moines on a night when the Shrine Circus is in town. Keeping bears away from your tent is all about common sense and proper planning. Spiders, flies and mosquitos will have to be discussed in a separate article.