Black bears and odors

The thread on bears and bug sprays has me thinking: I have been a longtime fan of Dr. Bronners soaps. The peppermint fragrance, of course, and in summer the eucyliptus as it is mildly repellant to insects.

But in bear country it would seem to be wise to limit ANY odors, even soaps.

Any thoughts on CampSuds?

I think I will try the natural foods store to see if they have a non-scented castile soap available.


Though the BSA
recommends hanging camp soap I think worrying about Campsuds is overkill. I have never hung it and animals arent much interested in my dish kit nor my hands either…

Unless of course the bear you are worrying about is a panda( which is not actually a bear) as they eat eucalyptus.

That would be a koala
Panda’s eat bamboo shoots.

And koala’s may be cute, but have you ever looked at their claws?! I’m surprised to have never seen a koala in a horror flick.


you’re right!
my bad…

Bears & Soap
Personally I don’t carry any soaps, but if you must a piece of Ivory Soap is probably your best bet. In the woods I try to take on the flavor and odor of the surroundings. Some cedar or alder smoke applied to the clothing masks most everything and keeps the bugs at bay. If you are worried about the company of the opposite sex bring a shower unit and bath in it daily with any non scented soap or just plain warm water. I doubt any self respecting bear will have anything to do with you unless you just have to use that “Right Guard” or “Passion” to attract the significant “other” in your life. Then you, your significant other and the bears can tussle over who gets the tent and the sleeping bags.

The only problems I have ever had with bears has been in campsites in Yosemite, the Trinity Alps, Mt. Rainier, and Yellowstone where “people” bears know the sites and forage for food. It won’t make alot of difference what soap you use in their case. Most places in the more remote areas of forests and parks don’t have bear problems unless the Park Service or Forest Service copters a “people” bear into the backcountry to get them away from heavily used areas. Normal bear precautions in most of the backcountry are sufficient to deter the wild bears. A bar of lavender, Irish Spring, or oatmeal soap isn’t going to present a problem.

Dr. Bronner makes an unscented castile soap for babies.


You never know
We left some strike anywhere wood matches out once,and a bear tore them up an chewed a lot and ate most.You never know what they like.