Survival is crucial in the wilderness, every encounter with nature like wild berries, snakes or even heavy thunderstorm decides what happens next. Same goes when you encounter a bear out in the forest.
What’s the thing you do when you see a wild bear, you panic and freeze or run for your life? When you’re put into this scenario, the best thing to do is analyse the situation and your surroundings, stop what you’re doing and move slowly away from the bear while keeping an eye on it. That way you’ll be able to predict the bear’s next move. However, this is just one of the many ways you could avoid getting attacked from a bear.
So, what’s the next precaution you could take when you come face to face with grizzly bear? Bear spray would be your no.1 survival tool! This is such an IMPORTANT product to bring along every time you go hiking, camping or into the wild. Proven to be 92% effective during an attack, this is a lot more effective than using a firearm.
Bear sprays are not meant to harm the bear but to deter its aggressive instincts or when it’s charging towards you. It is also crucial to know how to use the spray correctly and various bear sprays have different spraying distance for an effective effect on the bear. Typically the distance between the bear and you should be about 1.5 to 4 meters. Then press the nozzle tip for 2-3 seconds to release the spray content.
What is the Difference between Bear Spray and Pepper Spray?
Let’s start with the basics, pepper spray and bear spray are not the same thing in case you were wondering. You should definitely take note of this before buying your survival kit, wouldn’t want to buy the wrong spray for an aggressive bear charging towards you.
So first thing’s first, a pepper spray is more known as a personal defence spray which can be for both humans and animals as well. Where else a bear spray is specifically used for all bear species. However, it is important to know that both these sprays have oleoresin capsicum (waxy extract of hot peppers) content in them. In addition to that, bear sprays have active ingredients which are called capsaicin and related capsaicinoids.
Hence, next time you go shopping for bear spray, select products that doesn’t state 10%, 20%, or 30% of oleoresin capsicum content as those are pepper sprays. Generally, bear sprays are quite noticeable and it will be clearly written on the bottle as bear deterrent, bear repellent, or for stopping charging or attacking bears.
Another way to differentiate bear and pepper spray is to look for The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration and establishment numbers that can be found at the bottom front label.
EPA has made specific requirements regarding the Capsaicin and related capsaicinoids concentration that should range between 1 and 2.0%. The percentage content is low because it causes pain so this ensures the product doesn’t harm the bears and are much more humane compared to pepper sprays.
Comparison Table of the Best 7 Bear Spray
|Product||Weight||Range||Accessability||EPA aaproved||Spray pattern||Holster||Price|
|Sabre Frontiersman||9.2 oz||35 feet||easy||yes||fog||nylon||$$|
|UDAP||7.9 oz||30 feet||easy||yes||broad||clip||$$|
|Counter Assault||10.2 oz||32 feet||easy||yes||fog||nylon||$$|
|Guard Alaska||9 oz||20 feet||easy||yes||fog||nylon||$$|
|UDAP 12HP||7.9 oz||30 feet||easy||yes||broad||sleeve||$$|
|Mace||9 oz||35 feet||easy||yes||fog||nylon||$$|
|Frontiersman||7.9 oz||35 feet||easy||yes||fog||-||$|
Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray Industry Max
The manufacturer, SABRE Security Equipment Corporation produces some of the best survival products out there. Besides bear spray, SABRE is also one of the world’s top sellers for pepper spray, known for its effectiveness in education and personal safety training.
According to EPA guidelines, Frontiersman Bear Spray contains the most powerful formula of 2% major Capsaicinoids in this industry. This amount of Capsaicinoids is apparently the most effective on bears. It is also approved by the Canadian Health Government as the spray strength is guaranteed by SABRE HPLC lab.
Furthermore, these products have already been field tested by Elmendorf Air Force Base in Elmendorf, Alaska and Brown Bear Resources in Missoula, Montana and proven to be 99.9% effective (maximum stopping power) on deterring charging bears. Also, the sprays works on all bear species such as polar bears, brown and black bears.
Imagine being 10 meters away from a bear, while it can cover over 30 feet per second. With 9.2 oz. amount of content, this canister is a powerhouse! Adding to that, it is able to fire up (fog) to 35 feet away. The heavy fog produced delivers 40% more coverage, blurring the bear’s surrounding within seconds. However, it is IMPORTANT to consider the weather and wind conditions!
Unlike other brands that fogs up to 20 feet, Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray has the safest spraying distance out there giving you a higher chance of survival during a bear encounter in the wild. There’s also a trigger lock system with a white thumb clip attached to the nozzle to prevent unintentional spraying.
Moreover, you would also get an accessible hip holster which gives you the advantage to initiate an action before the 800 pound animal does. You should always carry the bear spray in the holster given to avoid any leakage or accidentally setting off the nozzle. This holster also happens to have a glow in the dark safety feature that can come in handy during dark hours.
This high emission system releases maximum fog each time of usage. Depending on how much you spray each time, roughly 2 second bursts it could last up for 7 uses. It really does depend on how long you spray it for. Usually for first time bear encounters, it is best to spray for a longer period. Based on Frontiersman, the bear spray releases 1.84 oz. per second for optimal protection.
UDAP Bear Spray Safety Orange
This bright orange canister has an attractive exterior that separates it from the rest. Quick, easy and effective! The UDAP manufacturer company is one of the most trusted bear spray brand in the survival tool industry. Here’s a fun fact about UDAP bear sprays, it was originaly developed by a bear attack survivor himself.
The UDAP Bear Spray Safety Orange dispenses one of the highest amounts of active ingredients in a shorter period of time. UDAP has proven to be a brand of improvements and efficiency when it comes to bear spray as it releases large amount of OC.
How are you going to escape this scenario? Fortunately, UDAP is well made to help you in such cases. The fog produced is designed to spray in a broad pattern, most effective spraying method. For an example, you encounter not just one but 2 or 3 bears at a time.
The fog produced can range up to 30 feet in length. Not to mention that the inhalable tiny particles in the spray actually stops a bear from charging towards you. The 2.0% Major Capcaicinoids and 10.0% Oleoresin Capsicum content makes this product the hottest bear spray formula that had been allowed by the EPA.
In addition to that, the bear spray comes with an exclusive Griz Guard holster that’s unique from the rest. It’s more of a clip in attached holster that you can strap on your belt rather than a nylon slip in pouches. Easy to put on and off plus, it never stretches over time.
If you’re wondering if this bear sprays works on other animals, the answer is yes. The twist is that the spray only works on mammal (land animals). So, mountain lions, leopards, foxes YES it works. Where else the bear spray is 100% not effective on reptiles such as alligators and bird species.
The spray is extremely simple to use even for beginners. All you have to do is off orange safely clip from the nozzle tip and press it down for a couple of seconds. The belt clip provided is strong and durable, so you can do a quick test first with the mace.
Overall, it’s a great bear spray that comes with an affordable price tag as well. You definitely won’t regret keeping it in your survival kit next time you go for camping or hiking.
Counter Assault Bear Deterrent
A bear deterrent that has been tested not only on bears but on dogs and wolves as well. With this 10.2 oz. spray, it ranges between 12 to 32 feet of distance in total. The Counter Assault is a brand of excellence and efficiency when it comes to outdoor and camping kits.
This spray is great for animal sneak attacks in the outdoors. If you’re planning to use these on wild dogs or smaller animals, then best to use it in small amounts as you would not want to hurt the animals. Most people often use it as dog repellents as well. Bear sprays are definitely not to be used indoors.
Furthermore, this EPA approved bear spray contains one of the hottest formulas with 2% capsaicin. Strong enough to deter an aggressive bear charging towards you! The Counter Assault Bear Deterrent product also has the longest spray time of 9.2 seconds per burst. This proves how effective is it!
It is extremely vital for bear spray users to use this product accurately. You wouldn’t want to disable the spray facing you instead of the attacker. However, the bear deterrent also comes with a safety cap that helps to prevent any accidental leakage.
Moreover, the nylon holster provided along with this product is easy to strap on and super accessible so you don’t have to look for it once you see a bear approaching. The holster can be strapped on your belt or even on a shoulder strap. In addition to that, it features a glow in the dark safety tie on the holster itself to avoid losing it.
Best to take note of the wind direction before opening the safety lock as it will disperse into an orange/brown fog and you may also get some on your clothes or skin. So it is wise to wear fully covered clothing because it may take a while to remove the stain once the fog touches your skin.
Counter Assault is also one of the most carried and recommended brands among people in the Yellowstone/Teton region.
Guard Alaska Bear Pepper Spray
Here’s another EPA approved bear spray effectual for ensuring your safety and protection from wild bears. Here’s a fun fact, bear sprays are 50% more effective than fire alarms or bear bells as may actually attract bears instead.
In addition to that, Guard Alaska Bear Spray happens to be environmentally safe as well because it does not contain any flammable or ozone depleting substances in it. The hot pepper formula has also been endorsed by the Alaska Science & Technology Foundation, plus scientifically proven to be high quality.
The Guard Alaska Company has manufactured superb bear repellent sprays made from the original component itself, hot pepper spray which is why it’s called bear pepper spray. If you are concerned about the hot pepper ingredient not being humane to use on bears, not to worry as it is the one brand registered under EPA as a repellent for all species of bear. This spray has had extensive years of extensive testing in Alaska too.
As a defense spray used against 800 pound sized animal it has one limitation, the range distance. Unlike most other bear sprays that can range up to 35 feet, Guard Alaska Bear Pepper Spray can only range between 15-20 feet. Moreover, if the weather and wind conditions are of your favor, the maximum range you could reach is only 25 feet. This is just a rough estimation as it really all depends on your environment.
This super-size 9 oz. is able use for 9 times if you use 1 second blast each time. Furthermore, the 4” x 2”bear spray comes with nylon holster with unique velcro closure and a belt loop. Although this spray is rather small in size, you would still need both hands to open the yellow stopper. Safe to say at least for beginners but most hikers usually open the stopper first before starting their hike. Many experienced bear spray users would also suggest keeping the holster on your side for easy accessibility.
All in all, the Guard Alaska Bear Pepper Spray is an invincible hot bear pepper spray, one of the most effective, powerful yet affordable ones in the market today.
UDAP 12HP Bear Spray
UDAP is a dedicated brand to outdoor enthusiast and campers who need high performance survival products. So, here’s an alternative option from UDAP bear spray collection that is top notch and effective! The UDAP 12HP bear spray is among one of the hottest bear sprays out there which contains 2% CRC as well.
This imported based bear spray also comes with a safety tip booklet to assist outdoor rookies. Besides that, it has a wide range just like the previous UDAP spray, 30 feet.
The net spray content is only 7.9 oz. where else the canister weighs at 11 oz. There isn’t much difference between the weighs and it doesn’t really matter either because you would be strapping the sleeve holster onto your clothing. That’s not all, it comes with a glow in the dark safety clip attached to a chain as well.
If you are thinking of using this bear spray to chase out raccoons from your house or garage, it is best NOT TO TRY THIS! A bear spray contains powerful ingredients which has a wax like texture and odor. And it is not pleasant! Your entire house would smell like bear spray for days and it’s not the best case scenario, trust me. You would need a lot of cleaning to do, so best only for outdoor usage.
Here’s another thing you need to pay attention to, ensure the wind direction is not blowing towards you or else it will burn your eyes and skin. Next, remove the cap lock carefully as you wouldn’t want to inadvertently pull the trigger before the bear is 30 feet away from you. Moreover, there are about 3 seconds of spray in each can, where a ½ second blast will be more than enough to stop a large dog.
Mace Bear Attack Survival Spray with Mace Bear Defense Spray
Mace is an outstanding global brand in the personal defense industry, manufacturing one of the top bear spray products when you’re out in the wild. Mace bear sprays are made and manufactured in Cleveland Ohio.
The brand uses one of the strongest yet safest formulas in their animal deterrent line. Moreover, all their products have been approved by the EPA. It’s safe, humane and effective on the bears or on other mammal species as well. Not to mention, Mace is also another brand which has the longest spray range, just like Sabre Frontiersman.
With a range up to 35 feet, you won’t need to worry about the bear getting to close. The formulated ingredients are packed with 2.0% capsaicinoid concentration, that’s considered to be very powerful when using it against smaller animals.
Once, the spray is set off, the capsaicinoid substance fogs up the bear’s surrounding. This powerful magnum fogger delivers excellence results and guarantee your safety if used correctly. Mace bear spray contains over 9 oz. of capsaicinoid concentration which can empty out in six seconds.
Each second is crucial and it does make a difference. If you only press the spray for 2 seconds when there’s an 800 pound bear charging towards you, that would INSUFFICIENT! Each encounter would be different so it is best to analyse your environment thoroughly first and make your next move.
This protection package also comes together with a hands free nylon holster that keeps the spray in position ready to be used when you encounter a bear. So, you wouldn’t need to frantically find the spray in your backpack which will aggravate the bear even more.
Mace bear pepper spray is one of the latest editions to the personal defense survival kit, it’s value for money, lightweight and has an extreme blast fog.
Frontiersman Bear Spray
Another yet amazing product by SABRE Frontiersman, similar to the first product in this review but just with a few minor adjustments. This brand has worked with various law enforcement operations to form Personal SAFETY Academy and College Program. In addition to that, they have worked with New York Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the US Customs & Border Protection, and many others.
Now for the product itself, Frontiersman Company has designed the bear spray to have maximum stopping power. This is absolutely possible because of its essential ingredients used. With 2.0% major capsaicinoids, it creates maximum efficiency during an encounter with a bear.
Not to mention, the product is approved by the EPA and Health Canada. The HPLC lab of SABRE has been able to eliminate 30% failures chances which have been experienced by other brands. Moreover, Frontiersman Bear Spray has been already field tested and proven to be effective by the Brown Bear Resources and Elmendorf Air Force Base.
Just like the other Frontiersman bear spray, this also ranges up to 30 to 35 feet each time you hold the spray on. This ensures maximum protection as you are at a safe distance from the bear. This 7.9 oz. powerhouse gives you optimal protection against wild bears that may come your way.
Furthermore, the bear spray provides maximum coverage with its heavy fog that rapidly diffuses into the air in front of you. This product could also last long, up to 3 shelf years from the manufacturing date. Unlike other bear sprays listed on this review, this one does not come with a holster.
Overall, SABRE would not be a disappointment as they have consecutively been a trusted brand by police forces globally and their bear spray is just another one of their excellent product.
Key considerations when purchasing bear spray
Bear sprays normally come in canister packaging. Having that said, the overall weight should not be too heavy or too light. When it comes to survival tools, it should always be lightweight because you wouldn’t need so much effort to carry those items. However, if you strap it on your backpack or so then the weight wouldn’t be an issue after all.
The net weight of a bear spray must be at least 225 grams (7.9 oz.), according to the EPA. Some may have slightly higher weight around 9.2 oz. which is perfectly fine as well. The more the content, the longer your bear spray will last.
The range refers to the distance of how far the spray will go which is the space between you and the bear. Most sprays have a far range of about 15 to 35 feet (10.6 m) which is good for your own safety.
This can help you to escape the charging bear from attacking as you would have more time once the spray is set off. That’s not all, bear sprays also have a deployment setting where the can empties out once used. Usually, about 6 to 9 seconds.
Bear sprays have a similar body shape to an air freshener spray, however it may take a few trial runs until you completely learn how to use it during a bear encounter. Once you’ve got the hang of the canister, it should be a piece of cake.
There is usually a safety lock on the nozzle top, so this may be the only tricky part that you have to face before pulling the trigger. The best place to keep a bear spray is either on your hip or chest so that you can immediately have access to it once you’ve spotted the beast.
The Environmental Protection Agency is an organization which regulates certain rules and addresses issues relating to environment protection. The EPA agency is mainly used in the United States only. However, many companies in the survival product industry often refer to EPA.
Therefore, it is best if your bear spray is EPA approved, which also means that the product has followed all criteria and regulations made. Moreover, the essential ingredients of an EPA approved bear spray would not be hazardous towards the wild bears.
All bear sprays are designed to be quite identical to one another as all of them spray in forward motion. Some may spray in cloud forms while others in a cone pattern. The spray pattern can also be affected by the weather conditions such as the humidity, wind or rain. Ultimately, the spray pattern should be able to fog the bear surrounding.
A compartment where the bear spray is kept which normally comes along with your purchase itself. The holster can be easily accessible once you have strapped it on your hip or back. A regular holster is made from nylon or strong canvas material.
Bears have highly sensitive noses which the bear spray ingredients will trigger off the bear to back off. Bear spray is a standard part of your hiking gear which sometimes your life may depend on it. So, choose your bear spray wisely. It’s a MUST have safety gear for your outdoor adventures that should be acquired.