Smells That Repel Bears? [Smells Can Deter Bears]

Bears can be quite terrifying. They are big and strong and can scare you if they start running in your direction. If you are hiking in bear country, you will need to be alert, as you will likely have a bear encounter. But you can keep that from happening if you know the smells that repel bears and if you use that against the bears.

Bears might seem frightening, but they are not likely to engage in anything related to human beings. They can be attracted to some of the smells they leave behind, but they are not likely to hurt humans even if they get close to them. Still, it is smart to know how to repel bears.

I will tell you all about the best bear-repelling smells to help you learn how to keep bears away from you on your next camping trip. Make sure that you stick around for the list of smells and the other information I will provide below. Ready when you are!


What Smells That Repel Bears

Smells That Repel Bears

Many smells can attract bears, but few smells can deter bears. When tent camping, you must do everything possible to stay safe throughout the trip. That will include using a scent or spray that repels bears. Let’s see which things are most effective at keeping bears away from you:

Neem scent

Neem is a type of tree that you can find in some regions. The entire tree and its fruits and seeds have a powerful smell. It is common to see people extract the oil from neem seeds and turn it into an essential oil.

You can find numerous neem oil in certain dental and hair products. But this oil is also used in pesticides or products that keep pests as far away as possible. It turns out that even bears are repelled by the smell as pests. So, if you want to keep the bears away, use some of this scent around you, and you will be all set!

Pine scent

Pine scent is as effective as neem scent, if not even more effective. Since bears live in forests, you would expect they would love the smell of pine. But that is not the case; human beings can use that to their advantage.

Try making a pine oil at home as it can prove quite effective at keeping bears away from you. If you cannot make it yourself, get some ready-made pine scented spray that you can use whenever needed. That way, you can use the spray around the camping grounds and keep the bears far away.

Bear spray

The bear spray is a great choice as it repels bears. Any type of bear pepper spray will do. The spray comes in a large can that you can use to spray bears whenever you need to. The range of the spraying pump is quite large, so you can spray the beer while they are as much as 30 feet away from you.

Still, you must be careful when using this repellent as it can be quite dangerous. Do not use it on yourself or other human beings under no circumstance. Also, do not abuse the strong scent of the spray and use it on animals when there is no need to. The bear country is their home, after all, so we must be respectful towards that.


Everyone who has smelt the Lysol cleaning and disinfection product know it has a strong smell. Most animals would be repellent by the smell, including bears. While you will not likely carry Lysol on a trip, you might want to consider taking it if you suspect there will be bears in your area.

Do Bears Hate the Smell of Vinegar?

To add to the smells mentioned above, one more smell is always effective at repelling bears. That is the smell of regular or cider vinegar. Cider vinegar tends to smell the strongest, so it is bound to repel most bears.

You can take a spray bottle and mix some vinegar and water inside it. Then, you can spray it all over your tent, clothes, and everything else you have. That will make your things smell funny but keep the bears away from them.

While on the topic, I would like to share a few tips on things you should do to avoid attracting bears. For example, bears are attracted by the smell of food. If you are on a longer trip, you will have a lot of food with you. That can be quite dangerous as bears are bound to lurk at some point.

Make sure that you remove the food from the campsite. It would be best to attach the food to a tree or something away from the campsite, but it should not be in direct sunlight. That way, your food will not get spoiled, and the bears will not be able to get to it in any way.

Another thing to remember is that bears are attracted to sharp smells. This includes anything from urine and menstrual blood to actual perfumes. If you need to go to the bathroom in the wilderness, make sure you do that as far away from your campsite as possible, or you might attract wildlife.

Also, during your entire trip, ensure you are not using any strong deodorants, perfumes, smells, or even body lotions. I know how amazing it is to smell nice all the time, but these scents can all attract wildlife, including bears. So, I recommend that you leave all those strong scents at home.

If you have a lot of garbage or food scraps, put them far away from your camp. If the food contains fruit, vegetable, and cooked meat that has not gone bad, you can feed it to the animals and make them a bit happier. Make sure you leave the food far away so that the bears are not attracted back to the campsite.

All these things will help you stay safe during your trips. No one wants to get a visit from an unwelcome guest, let alone one that is a big, cute (but dangerous) ball of fur. So, do not risk it! Do everything that you can to keep the bears away from you. If you follow the tips given above, you are bound to succeed.


Thank you for sticking with me through this guide on all things bear repelling! If you want to keep bears away from your camp, remember to take some neem or pine aroma, Lysol, vinegar, or even a can of bear spray. Also, remember to remove all smells that may attract bears to your campsite as soon as you set camp.

Have you ever had any kind of encounter with a bear or any other wild animal? What did you do to repel the animal? I would love to know all about it. So, do not hesitate to share your experience in the comment section below!

Andrew Mullen

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