Summer is prime time for bears to make their debut in campgrounds around North America. Are you prepared for these mighty visitors? Obviously these RVers weren’t ready:
You might think that bears only attack backpackers and tent campers, but that kind of thinking can get you into trouble. Bears love RVs too and they don’t discriminate between soft-sided RV pop-up tent trailers and hard-sided class A motor homes. If you have something that smells tasty, they’re adding it to their menu. Try not to get too upset though; remember, bears were there first, RVers are just visiting.
Here are some tips to avoid RV versus bear encounters in the wild:
Tips When RVing with Bears
For RVers in soft-sided campers and pop-up trailers, the National Park Service shares these tips for camping with bears:
Keep Food Properly Stored
- When camped in a national or state park campground with a busy bear population, you’ll notice food lockers at your campsite. Always store all of your food in food lockers provided. Bears may enter campsites even in your presence and some will even check lockers to see if they’re latched. Keep your locker closed and latched at all times, just like you would a freezer.
- Only have the food out that you are actually using; if you’re not using it, put it back into the food locker.
- Finally, treat your trash like food: keep it in your food locker or dispose of it in a bear-proof dumpster; do not leave it sitting out.
If you’re camping in a hard-sided RV like a motorhome or trailer, don’t get lazy. The National Park Service suggests:
- Food may be stored out of sight in hard-sided trailers and RVs, as long as windows, doors, and vents are closed when you’re not there. Food may not be stored in pop-up or tent trailers, or other soft-sided campers.
Remember, bears are like human criminals. They are opportunists looking for the easiest opportunities to steal your food. The last thing they want to do is greet you at 3 AM but if you give them an easy opportunity to do so they will.
More Tips to Keep Bears Away from RVs
Keep your campsite neat. Bring in coolers at night and don’t leave a spec of food, citronella candles or garbage outside your rig. Remember, once a bear associates your garbage with food, all it knows is they can eat it.
Remember you’re visiting bears, not vice versa. Keep a low profile and don’t seek out Facebook photo opps with wildlife. They’re called “wild” for a reason.
Often called “The O.G. of full-time RVing,” Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson hit the road in a fifth wheel trailer in 2007, after their dog Jerry lost a leg to terminal cancer. Sixteen years later they are still traveling and sharing their nomadic adventures at LiveWorkDream. As a self-employed wordsmith, Rene shares her expertise for many RV industry videos, publications such as the Escapees RV Club Magazine, and has authored numerous books, including the Essential RVing Guide to National Parks, and Income Anywhere, a guide to earning money on the road. She has been featured in global media outlets including the PBS documentary “NATURE: Why We Love Cats and Dogs,” The Guardian Sunday Edition, and the Dan Pink book Free Agent Nation.