With so many gorgeous camping spots and hiking trails around the country, you sometimes have no choice but to fly to those places instead of driving. If that is the case, then you need to think about what you can and cannot take on a plane. Some items are required to be checked-in and some are ok to be packed in your carry on luggage.
Bear spray is one of those items. In so many regions within the US, it is unsafe to go camping or hiking without it.
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What is Bear Spray?
Bear Spray is a capsaicin irritant aerosol spray that is used to deter bears away from you and your campsite.
When Should I Carry Bear Spray?
Bear Spray should be only carried with you when hiking and camping in certain national parks around the United States. Some parks have made the deterrent illegal, as the risk of a bear attack is so low, so check with US National Parks for the latest advice. Visiting Yellowstone National Park? Then it is strongly advised that bear spray is one of your packing essentials.
Can I Bring Bear Spray on a Plane?
There is no gray area when it comes to bringing bear spray on a plane. According to TSA, you cannot take bear spray with you in your carry-on luggage or place it in your checked-in luggage.
So now what? You want to be protected from bears, but cannot be prepared before you leave? Keep reading to find out what you can do, to make sure everyone is safe for your upcoming trip.
What to Do Instead of Packing Bear Spray
It is important to know that bear spray is not illegal to carry anywhere but on the plane. If you do have it with you at the airport, it will be taken off you and disposed of safely, but you will not get a fine for carrying the item in any state. All of the parks as well as the TSA state that buying your bear spray at your destination is the best option for campers and hikers.
On site at most parks will be somewhere you can purchase bear spray as well as other camping needs. Some parks even offer the hire of bear spray; a great option if you are only at the park for a short time.
How Much Does Bear Spray Cost?
Not only will you find bear spray and other camping needs like fire starters and fuel at most National Park stores and offices, but all regions with those stunning hikes have stores where you can purchase everything you need.
Bear spray can cost on average from around $40 for an 8oz canister. This can fluctuate depending on where you purchase it, or if you buy online (for those that do not require to take it on a plane).
A great alternative to purchasing your own bear spray is to take advantage of rental services that some parks offer. This is a great option for those on short stays or traveling around the country.
How Long is Bear Spray Good For?
When you purchase your bear spray, you will see that there is an expiry date on the side of the canister. Usually this is indicating that the bear spray has a shelf life of about 3-4 years, so of course it does depend on when you purchase it. If you find that your bear spray has gone over its expiration date, the canister needs to be recycled and disposed of correctly as it still contains traces of chemicals.
How Does Bear Spray Actually Work?
If it is your first-time using bear spray then you may be quite nervous that you will use it incorrectly, or cause harm to you or those around you. While most rangers would be happy to explain how to use the canister when you purchase from them or pick up your rental, you can prepare yourself by watching an online video. A great site is the National Park Service, where they have a demonstration video as well as additional information to prepare you.
If you head into your camping or hiking trip prepared and calm, then that is the best way to prevent any unwanted visitors, not just bears. Be aware at all times, follow the national park guidelines and always do your research before heading on any trip to ensure you have the best experience while away.