Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Why is it advised to leave odor free deodorant or antiperspirant behind in the backcountry when sunscreen and bug spray are considered ok? Wouldn’t the same premise apply to all?
Submitted by – Dave – Atlanta, GA
This is going to involve a little guesswork, so keep that in mind. As far as I know, bears have never been observed showing any interest in deet or picaridin, a deet alternative. They have been observed showing curiosity in citronella-based products, and conceivably might be interested in other herbal-type repellents. Bears have never been observed showing interest in sunscreens either–but they might if it smells unusually tasty.
Bears are naturally curious and almost always hungry, but it is not likely a bear who found insect repellent or sunscreen interesting stuff to sniff would then follow up with an attack on the wearer. So, here’s my main guess: if you follow bear precautions you should not be especially attractive if you’re using sunscreen or chemical bug repellents because they don’t smell like food. But still wash it all off before bed.
And with all that in mind, I know of no reason why a bear would be attracted to odor-free deodorant or antiperspirant.