Ask A Bear: Will Cider Vinegar Attract A Bear?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'
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Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Q: I use cider vinegar when I shower. I put it on my arm pits, hair, face, etc., and let it sit for a few seconds before rinsing it off. Except for a very short period of time directly after using the cider vinegar, I can't smell it on me. However, I know that your nose is better than that of any hound dog, so you might be able to detect its odor on my body possibly even hours later.

As bears like both apples and alcohol (there's a slight amount in vinegar), will they be attracted to me because of my vinegar use?—David, via email

A: Vinegar showers, eh? And to think you people have a problem with me not showering at all.

As official bear buddy Buck has answered before, it's unlikely that cider vinegar on your body will attract me to you in any added way. Vinegar evaporates quickly off the skin, and any that remains will be overwhelmed by your natural human scents (which get stronger the longer you stay in the backcountry).

I often get questions about cider vinegar as a repellent, and though it's been used to chase off black bears, I wouldn't rely on it.

If you bring cider vinegar into the backcountry, though, it's probably wise to take typical bear precautions and store it with your food and other smelly items in a canister.

Otherwise, enjoy your cider vinegar showers. But I'd probably refrain from sharing your vigor for vinegar with neighbors or prospective romantic interests...at least until the third date.

—BEAR

Got a question for the bear? Send it to askabear@backpacker.com.