Bear Defense Products at the Outdoor Retailer Show

OK.  So I have a few dislikes about camping.  Humidity, insects and sand are among them.  But those things are just on earth to make your life miserable.  There’s another camping dislike of mine that spends its time actively trying to hunt down and kill you.  I’m talking, of course, about bears, and the menace is spreading.

Now, not all bears are out to kill you, of course.  Some of them are bear scientists locked away in bear laboratories trying to unravel mysteries like doorknobs and dumpster latches.  This is why it’s vital to our survival as a species that we stay one step in front of Smokey the Menace in the arms race.  Fortunately, there were some brave companies at Outdoor Retailer doing just that.  To wit:



The CampGuard Motion Alarm System

This product may look like a regular battery-operated camping lantern, but it does so much more!  It offers 360 degrees of protection and early warning against ursine invaders.  When set out at your camp site, this lantern will detect motion up to 35 feet away, through all 360 degrees.  When motion is detected, it lights up, and emits a warning tone that is supposedly severely annoying to bears.  (Fortunately, we’ve got a few scientists of our own to figure that stuff out.)

The CampGuard Motion Alarm lantern is available on Amazon, thanks to the folks at BrightPath LED.  I recommend getting about 8, so you can set up a complete perimeter defense.

Counter Assault Bear Products

Counter Assault was there with two products.  The first of these was Bear Spray.  I’m sure we’ve all heard of bear spray before.  But being based in Montana, I tend to think they know a little bit about bears – considering hat half the state is closed down due to bear activity and so technically, they’re behind enemy lines.  I was told they’ve tested this product against bears effectively at up to 30 feet.  I don’t want to know who they had test the product for them (particularly at lesser distances)…

The second product Counter Assault was offering was, hands-down, the coolest thing that’s ever been exhibited at Outdoor Retailer.  A PORTABLE ELECTRIC FREAKING FENCE!  That’s right.  They’ve developed an electric fence that runs on just D-cell batteries, and can generate 8000 volts of bear-deterring electricity.  I asked, and they provide a way for RVers to hook the electric fence up directly to your RV’s 12 volt power system.  This should provide increased run-time and increased voltage for the fence, which are always good things.

The fence packs down into a small nylon bag for storage and transport.  In keeping with the arms-race theme, they’ve named the fence The Pentagon.

I hope to try some tests with these products in the future.  Unfortunately, Stef is likely to veto any really cool test I come up with, or anything that involves grandchildren.  So I’ll likely have to conduct my testing in secret  Stay tuned!

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he's also an IT consultant.

    14 thoughts on “Bear Defense Products at the Outdoor Retailer Show

    1. Wayne

      Some interesting new products. Will have to consider as part of our kit for the RV trip we are planning to Alaska. Especially since firearms are prohibited in most national parks and would be particularly difficult to possess as a tourist in Canada.
      Are bear “intrusions” frequent at campsites? From my 30+ years of tent camping, not really.
      However, better to have a deterrent and not need it, then to need it and not have it!
      Thanks James for the info!

      PS- I share your concern about sand. I strongly suspect it is a low tech stealth weapon deployed by aliens. Not to kill, but to slowly drive us mad as we constantly try to clean it out of our RVs, cars, homes, tents,etc.

      1. Alain

        Just FYI:

        “Alaska law allows for the taking of bears in the defense of life or property provided that the taking is not brought about by the improper disposal of garbage or similar attractive nuisance and all other practicable means to protect life and property are exhausted,”. “A person taking a bear in this manner must report the incident within 15 days and deliver the hide, skull and claws to Fish and Game. The prohibition against allowing someone to keep a bear killed in defense of life or property is designed to incentivize people to not shoot a bear unless all other practical means to protect life or property are exhausted.”

        Now I have a real funny image in mind of James skinning a bear…LOL

        1. James - Post author

          Wait a minute. Read that carefully.
          So does that mean that if you accidentally missed the Snickers wrapper in the bottom of your backpack, you’re LEGALLY REQUIRED TO LET BEARS KILL YOU??!!
          Are they insane? The death penalty for carelessness?

    2. James

      The Chinese have a product called gunpowder that throws lead at the threat. Which usually eliminates it. Maybe it’s just the Marine in me. But, besides eliminating the bear threat you could also fill your freezer with organic meat and get some nice blankets and rugs.

      1. James - Post author

        YES! Someone who thinks like me! But you’d have to cook the meat really well… in addition to all the fangs and claws, they’re also riddled with parasites!

        1. James

          Rocket Scientist vs. Bear, no contest.

          However, the truth is that it is Rocket Scientist vs. Wife, state local and federal laws, and bear.

    3. Velda S

      If you go back a few years with Sue from RV Sue and crew, you will find a post where she woke up in her fiberglass Casita trailer with a bear shaking it while up on the side. Since then she got a very loud air horn that she hangs on her wifi pole and to which she has a panic button on the wall inside. She hasn’t had to use it, but she feels it would scare away both two footed and four footed critters!

    4. Sue Ann Jaffarian

      Are bears really that big of a threat to RVers just minding their own business in national parks? I understand not to leave food and garbage out. Not to try to make friends with cubs, etc. But are bears actually hunting us down? Aren’t bears mostly herbivores, except for the occasional fish and small snack? I’d be way more afraid of alligators in the waterways of Florida. Will the fence help with that? And what about mountain lions? Or are you just trying to scare us for giggles and grins?

      1. Stefany

        LOL, Sue Ann! Don’t be scared, it’s just James being….well, James. He also thinks “sand” is a huge threat to RVers. Perhaps that tells you something?! 😉


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