Does Peeing Around Your Campsite Keep Bears Away?

Last Updated:

We may earn commissions for purchases made through links on our site. Learn more on our about us page.

Two chairs in front of camping tents - Does Peeing Around Your Campsite Keep Bears Away?

Since the time of the Pharos, people have held strong beliefs about urine and its various uses. Some say your pee can tell you the gender of your unborn child and even diagnose various diseases.

So, can your pee also keep bears away from your campsite? Would you be essentially marking your territory and saying, “Hey, bear, seats taken? How about you mosey on out of here.”

There are a couple of different answers to this question. On the one hand, anecdotally, it is believed that human urine can repel animals. On the other hand, there is a possibility that pee can actually attract bears.

National Parks also subscribe to this belief, adding that the salt in one’s urine could actually attract bears, and they suggest not peeing within close proximity to your campsite.


What Can You Do Around Your Campsite to Avoid Attracting Bears?

One of the most important things you can do to keep your campsite bear free is to clean up. This does, however, consist of a few different steps and mainly center around food. It should be common practice in bear country to secure all your trash.

Never leave your trash outside unsecured. When bear-proof trash containers are available, use those. If they are full or you don’t have access to them, you can lock your trash up in the trunk of your vehicle or RV.

Also, you will want to store food and other attractants away from your campsite. Some camping areas offer bear-proof lockers where you can keep food, toiletries, and drinks.

If camping in the backcountry, you can utilize bear canisters. You can store your items in your locked vehicle or RV as a last resort.


What Smells Will Keep Bears Away?

Bears’ sense of smell is really, really good. 100 times better than our sense of smell, to be exact. Some smells that we find repugnant may actually smell attractive. Dare we say yummy to bears?

So you aren’t going to deter bears from using trash. Just the opposite, you are going to attract them. But things that smell potently like chemicals can possibly deter a bear from getting too close to your campsite.

Chemicals such as ammonia bleach, however, you must use extra caution when using ammonia as it has been known to cause blindness in bears.

Along with ammonia and bleach, Pine-Sol has been found to keep bears at a distance as long as it is the original scent, not lemon or orange scented Pine Sol. Apple cider vinegar, neem oil, pine oil, and even Lysol have also been known to deter bears.


Do Bears Run Away from the Smell of Vinegar?

As we mentioned above, one scent that can deter bears is apple cider vinegar. Therefore, no bears do not like the smell of vinegar. Now you may want to consider that vinegar tends to evaporate quickly.

So, if you are planning on using it as a deterrent, you would want some way to ensure the smell stays potent enough to keep the bears away.

One anecdote is that bears are likely to run away if they’re sprayed with it. Maybe if you don’t have bear spray but happen to have a handful of vinegar, you may be able to repel the bear if you throw that in its direction.


Are there Any Spices that Bears Hate?

It has been said that the irritants in the peppers have kept bears away. However, spreading the seasoning around your tent or campsite seems like adding a little extra spice to their meal instead of keeping them away.

One of the ingredients in bear spray does happen to be cayenne pepper. So, instead of using any spices as a deterrent, maybe stick to using them as intended within the proper bear deterrent tools.


Can Bears Smell Baking Soda?

Fun fact, baking soda alone has no smell. However, baking soda can absorb the smells in the proper environment. For example, if you have a box of baking soda hanging out in your cooler, it can absorb the smell of your onion-feta-spinach.

One step further, if you decide to leave that can of baking soda out when you have securely locked up your other food and toiletry items, you still may be inviting a big fluffy visitor to come nosing around.


Final Thoughts on Does Pee Around Your Campsite Keep Bears Away

Remember, bears’ sense of smell is astronomical compared to ours. We wouldn’t want to tempt fate by leaving any trace of food that could attract a bear. This would include baking soda as well.