Ask A Bear: Ditch The Deodorant In Bear Country?

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

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Q: I am getting ready for my first long hike. I was wondering if the smell of deodorant attracts you or any of your family? Do I need to use a crystal deodorant or can I stick with my regular stuff? —Lori Bartlett, Gunnison, CO

A: Ooh—are you wearing Secret? I hear it’s strong enough for a bear, but made for a woman.

But seriously, humans: Like all cosmetics, I could potentially be attracted to deodorant, especially the fruity, heavily-scented kinds. If you’re just dayhiking in bear country, I wouldn’t worry about it, because I’m hopefully going to be alerted to your presence by noise or another sign before I detect deodorant.

But there is some cause for concern if you’re camping or backpacking in bear country. My recommendation is to skip the deodorant. Besides, you’re camping after all, and the sooner you accept your own natural musk, the better a time you’ll have. This will save you from having to store another superfluous smelly item in the bear canister.

If you absolutely can’t go without deodorant while camping, I’d recommend an unscented baking soda variety. But try to ditch the deodorant. You’ll smell more like me, and I think I smell great.


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