Ask A Bear: Will Silicone Waterproof Spray Attract A Bear?

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Q: I’ve read and been told that using spray-on silicone waterproofing on my boots is like waving a Hershey bar under your nose. In essence, am I asking to have my boots munched on whether my feet are in them or not? —Phil Jacobs, via email


A: First question: Are your boots made of chocolate-covered berries?

If not, you’re probably safe. While spray-on silicone waterproofing does emit a strong odor when used, a lot of that goes away once you let the boots dry properly. Also there’s no evidence I’d be attracted to that scent anyway; while certain chemical smells do attract me (perfumes, sunscreens, etc.) this one is subtle and different enough from foodstuffs to most likely not enliven my curiosity.

There’s another big factor here: your stinky feet. Your boots are likely going to absorb and broadcast your week-in-the-woods stank than more than any waterproofing spray. It’s a well-documented fact that I’m not attracted to your B.O.—I’m actually repelled by it. Let’s face it: After a long backpacking trip, you guys smell worse than even I do.


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