In today’s article, we will answer the following question: Is an RV refrigerator bear proof? We will give you a few essential tips on how to safely store your food on camping. We will also guide you on what to do if a bear approaches your camping place and how to avoid an unpleasant encounter in the first place.
Is an RV refrigerator bear proof?
No, an RV refrigerator is not bear-proof and neither is your motorhome! It is risky to leave any provisions within reach of animals at night. Faced with a huge pile of food at the end of a long day, however, the effort seems to outweigh the risk, and one may be tempted not to put away some, if not all, provisions.
If a bear gets a few pieces here and there, it may not seem too much of a problem for you. However, problems may arise for the travellers who will follow you. After tasting the campers’ food, bears will begin to recognize campsites as places where something interesting and easy to bite into is possible.
The bears, therefore, become denatured; they remember the smell of our camps and they remember how little effort it takes to get there and help themselves. The cubs inherit this feeding technique, and the problems get worse.
What about tetra-PAK style cans and containers? Many campers believe that these items do not attract bears because the packaging emits very little odour. It is often tempting to leave these heavy containers out of the cache.
Granted, I have never had the opportunity to see a bear open a can or a container to lick the contents, but I have nevertheless heard some incredible anecdotes which reveal that bears are certainly interested in it and that they are willing to do it! To prevent bears from becoming denatured, your best bet is to hide all supplies.
Tips for avoiding meeting a bear while camping
- Favour group hikes. Obey the bear presence notices posted by park wardens, if you are in a national park, for example. Do not venture into areas that have been closed.
- Try to do your hikes in a group of at least 4 people and keep your eyes on the children, so that they stay close to you.
- Be as loud as possible by singing, talking loudly, shouting and clapping your hands. The noise will alert them to your presence and they will likely leave the area.
- Be especially careful if you are walking against the wind because the bear cannot smell you or if you are walking near a stream because it will be difficult for him to hear you.
- Avoid walking in the evening and follow the official trails.
- If you see fresh tracks from a bear, whether it tracks, droppings, holes in the ground or stones that have been turned over, or if you find a dead animal carcass, leave the area immediately.
- If you meet a baby bear, its mother is probably not far away and will seek to protect it. Don’t stay put.
- Avoid bringing your dog on a hike as it can anger the bear.
- Dispose of your waste in inappropriate places, such as bear-proof bins.
- If you sleep while camping, keep your site clean and avoid leaving food, waste, dirty dishes or wastewater (from cooking or dishes), oils or grease, a cooler, a tablecloth, or scented items like sunscreen, mosquito repellent, toothpaste, soap, etc.
- Keep food out of the reach of bears. In furnished campgrounds, store all food (including your pet’s food) in the trunk of your car that you have taken care to lock.
- If you are wild camping, make sure the food is inaccessible to bears. Hang food very high (at least four meters) in a tree, and at least two meters from the trunk of the tree.
- Do not cook near your pop-up camper. In addition, you have to change location very often: do not stay in the clothes you wore when you were cooking.
- Throw dishwater on a slope, so that it runs as far away from your camp as possible.
- Dispose of your rubbish in a container inaccessible to bears. When camping in the wild, burn what you can and hang the rest of that waste with all your food.
- At night, when you get out of your pop-up camper, use a flashlight to avoid unexpected encounters.
- Dispose of fish scraps in a brisk current or deep water, not on the shore near your camp.
How to hide your food and waste from bears
The items that attract bears and other wildlife are “wild animal attractants” include obvious things, such as:
- dirty barbecues and camping stoves
- the RV refrigerators
- food and drink
- dirty dishes.
They also include things you might not consider, such as, for example:
- empty boxes or storage bins
- citronella candles
- toiletries (especially scented products)
- empty dog dishes
- Food cooking on the barbecue.
Bears are very intelligent animals who quickly learn that there is food in a box near a tent or that a black bag next to a barbecue has tasty leftovers.
To avoid bear curiosity, store all wild animal attractants in the trunk of your RV and close the windows. They won’t be able to see or smell them.
If your vehicle does not have a trunk, place garbage in the cabin of your vehicle by covering it with a blanket. Tonneau covers are not bear-proof!
If you don’t want to keep your trash in your car, throw it out often. If you can’t, wrap them in several layers of garbage bags to trap odours.
What to do if you meet a bear?
And in case you meet a bear while camping:
Use your common sense. To get started, educate yourself and don’t camp in areas where you see signs of bear presence. When hiking, stay on the trail and make lots of noise to reduce the risk of suddenly falling on this animal. Sing, clap, yell at the top of your lungs to make sure you keep them away.
Cubs are cute little things. But don’t try to stroke them: Mom bear is never far away!
Group travel is safer than solo travel. With binoculars, you will observe the surroundings as you travel.
Do not run away if you meet an aggressive bear: useless, it runs faster than you. Walk calmly to your camper and drive. If that is not possible, try to stop the animal. To do this, behave aggressively:
Shout, throw things at him, hit him with sticks. If you have a horn or a can of pepper spray, now is the time to use it to try bear hunting. Fight: this is your best chance for survival.
It is strongly recommended that you take all necessary precautions, but most bear encounters are of no consequence. That said, by following these safety instructions, you will make sure that living together in wilderness areas is even more harmonious!
Usually, bears are not particularly keen on getting to know you. They run away as soon as they hear, see or even smell a human being. But there are also exceptions to the rule!
It is therefore strongly recommended not to feed the animals. However, some people do it anyway. And for the bear, it is very difficult to resist human food. Emerged from their hibernation, the bears wake up hungry. But when offered fish, marshmallows, bread and other foods, they begin to see humans as a most valuable source of nourishment. And unfortunately, it happens that the bear becomes very aggressive.
If you see a bear when getting out of your pop-up camper, stop and keep calm. Avoid running away. Get out your pepper spray (we strongly recommend taking one on each trip).
If the bear seems NOT TO BE AWARE of your presence:
Turn back silently without attracting his attention.
If the bear IS AWARE of your presence:
Bears sometimes feign an attack to get out of the way: they charge, then retreat at the last moment. Bears can also respond defensively by barking, growling, snapping their jaws, and folding their ears back.
- Keep your cool. Your calm demeanour can reassure the animal. Screaming and sudden movements could trigger an attack.
- Talk to the bear. Speak calmly in a firm tone. This will let him know that you are human and not prey. If it rises on its hind legs and waggles its muzzle in the air, it is trying to identify you.
- Back up slowly. Never give in to the temptation to run! The bear might be chasing you.
- Do not put your backpack on the ground. You might need it to protect yourself. If you must continue on your way, take a wide detour or wait at a safe distance and give the bear time to get away.
If the bear APPROACHES you:
Stop and stay calm. Avoid running. Get out your pepper spray. Evaluate the bear’s behaviour and find out why it is approaching.
To stay safe and protect the wilderness, travel with two goals in mind: limiting your impact by avoiding encounters, and managing your groceries, food smells and waste.
- Camp in designated areas where they exist.
- If you are wild camping, cook, eat and store your food at least 50 m from your tent, in the direction of the wind. Choose a location with good visibility, to prevent animals from approaching unnoticed. Avoid camping, cooking, or eating near streams, thick brush, animal tracks, or berry patches.
- Eliminate odours on your person and in your camp. Keep sleeping bags, tents, and clothing worn to bedtime free from food, drink, or food odours.
- Leave your scented products at home. . Store your toiletries and personal effects with your groceries.
- Store your groceries, garbage, and food for livestock or pets away from your tent. Make use of the facilities provided for this purpose at designated backcountry campsites. If you are wild camping, hang them between two trees at least 4m above the ground and 1.3m from the nearest trunks and branches, or use bear-proof containers.
- Wash and store your dishes and utensils immediately after use. Drain the dishwasher in a colander and add the food particles to your waste. Dispose of dishwater in designated areas or at least 50m from where you sleep.
- Bring back your garbage. Avoid burning them, burying them, or placing them in dry toilet pits.
If you want to share your thoughts, comments or questions on the content, please let us know!
- Beginning RVing: Bears & food storage in national parks – RV.net
- Food Storage in Bear Country – [email protected] Forum
- Staying Safe in Bear Country – BC Parks