Customer safety is a massive priority for us and that isn’t just while you are in one of our stores. We sell bear spray at both of our locations so we feel the need to pass on some information to keep you safe long after you have left our shop.
Why do you need it?
Quite simply, it could be the very thing that saves your life. Whether you are hiking, picnicking, camping, biking, trail running, or paddling in the mountains, carrying bear spray is a great idea. It may reduce your risk of injury or death if you are in an aggressive encounter with a bear and/or other aggressive wildlife. Using bear spray is always a last resort; do all you can to avoid a bear encounter in the first place.
As bear encounters aren’t always very likely, you will never be able to guarantee you wont see one when hiking in the mountains. They call it bear country for a reason, so carrying bear spray comes down to the old saying:
“It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!”
Does it work?
In a study of Alaska bear encounters, it was found that 98% of those who used bear spray were uninjured by the bear. The remaining 2% received only minor injuries that required no hospitalization.
The active ingredient in bear spray is oleoresin capsicum, which irritates the eyes, nose and lungs, causing severe but temporary eye irritation and breathing difficulty.
We are skate shop employees, not mathematicians but still to us those figures seem to point towards the success of this method. We wouldn’t want to know the figures from the study where the subject was without spray in a bear encounter….
Where do you keep it?
If you haven’t already picked this up, caution is key with bear spray and that isn’t only pertaining to the usage. Where you keep it is equally important!
Keep the canister away from items that could crush or puncture it. Never leave the canister in direct sunlight or anywhere temperatures can become very hot or very cold, such as in your vehicle. When driving, store the bear spray canister in a travel container. Once you've arrived, do not keep the bear spray in your vehicle. The variations in temperature can damage the canister.
Bear spray cannot be transported on commercial airlines.
When in bear areas, Always make sure your spray is in an easily accessible place. If you carry it in your backpack, it will be of no help at all. We recommend keeping on your hip belt, shoulder strap, or in a water bottle pocket on the side of your pack.
How do you use it?
You’ll hopefully never need to use your bear spray, but it’s best to be prepared if it ever does come to that. We recommend practicing pulling out your bear spray and getting ready to deploy it a few times. That way you won’t be fumbling around if you ever need to use it. Below are the steps for deploying bear spray:
- Pull out bear spray and remove safety clip.
- Aim toward the approaching bear; account for wind direction and strength.
- Lock your arms and hit the trigger with your thumb.
- Deploy in 2 to 3 second bursts when the bear is within 30 feet.
- Aim the spray at the head of the bear or slightly below it.
- Spray again if the bear continues to approach, aiming for the eyes and nose. Bear spray is most effective at close range.
- Avoid spraying the entire contents of the can as you may need the rest later.
- Once the bear stops, step sideways keeping your eyes on the bear and get out of the area as quickly as possible.
How not to use it?
Don’t spray it on yourself, your tent or your gear. It does NOT work the way mosquito spray works! Also, studies have actual found that the lingering smell actually attracts bears. If it can stop a bear in its tracks, imagine what it would feel like on you. Check the label for health precautions.
All our staff are very knowledgeable and have been trained on bear spray usage. They will also have a good degree of knowledge on the surrounding area. Feel free to come in and have a chat with one of our friendly staff members if you are feeling at all apprehensive about setting foot out in the backcountry, or any trails for that matter.