Bear Country in a GFC

I live in Tennessee and we have black bears but they look like puppys compared to the bears out west.
My concern is carrying food in the camper.
I have a mule trailer that we keep our food in and at night we park it a little ways from the GFC.
My question is mainly concerning the portable refrigerator I keep in the GFC!

How do you handle it out west?


Just one opinion from a guy that lives in Alaska in reasonable proximity to both brown and black bears and has guided tourists to bear viewing areas (I understand polar bears are a different issue all together). To a large degree bears are bears. Black and brown are certainly different size and have dramatically different personalities, but if you are used to taking reasonable food storage precautions where you live, those same precautions will probably be good where you are traveling. A bear can certainly be more ‘dangerous to life’ than a raccoon or squirrels, so the stakes are higher, but they can all be problems regarding food. The only issue “out west” I would consider is that in many places we have a lot more of them than back east. Picking a campsite next to a salmon stream during salmon spawning is always a bad idea. Just don’t get the general idea that if you camp out west you probably won’t live to make the trip back east. If you are currently being prudent regarding food storage you will probably be okay.

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I’m planning to fish solo through beary areas of Idaho and Montana in July. I’m not carrying much for food and relying on dehydrated backpack meals during my time in bear country. I have a bear resistant cooler that will be mostly for canned bevs. I’ll stash the cooler 100 feet from the GFC. Plan to store trash in a bear container inside the cooler. I’ll have 2 cans of bear spray and a 9mm bear pisser-offer. Hope it doesn’t come to that. Anything to minimize food, scents, and trash. That’s what I do.

Once I’m west of Bozeman, I’ll be back to my normal camping routine.


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bmcq and GFC706

Thanks for your input. This is answering my question.

I grew up in Palm Beach FL. and I am at home in the Okeechobee Swamps where the critters are small but deadly, with a couple gators added in.
I moved to Tennessee in 2005 and started learning about larger threats that are sneakier and have bigger teeth.

I will keep all foods and cooking items in my trailer and park it away from the GFC. It’s nice there is a solar system already in my trailer that can run my refrigerator. It also has motion detector lights. The light let me know something is sniffing around.

I also carry bear spray, poppers and as last resort a 357mag just encase. (Depending on the State)

One more question:

My wife is the camper. She picked out and had me buy the GFC. She likes the external shower/latrine and two ladders.

Is it better to keep the porta potty in the camper or can I use an external latrine?

Is there anything else I need to know?

PS: I will be coming with friends.


When you fish you double bag and store it in a container. When spearfishing in the Bahamas we put the fish in a bag with a little air and float it to the surface where the boat picks it up. Don’t want sharks taking our dinner.

I have never been trout fishing but when I was a kid I used to fly fish in Key Largo Fl.

Keep a clean camp, don’t eat in the GFC, and keep your food and cooking supplies in the trailer and you should be fine.

The bears that aren’t around people tend to avoid their camps in my experience. The only issues I’ve had with bears have been in developed campgrounds when camp neighbors didn’t keep a clean site. One time the bear got into the neighbor’s beverage cooler and took down some beers and soda.


Perfumes and scented cosmetics are also bear attractants. Limit your toothpaste, tiny amounts of shampoo (if you do that), use a bland biodegradable soap, and maybe leave the fruit scented mirror tree out of the vehicle. Try to eliminate all scents.
Also, I don’t generally recommend bear bells, but they’re a useful alarm on outside things like a bear resistant cooler. Have a good strong spot flashlight.
Have fun. Most bears will just run away.



If you already have motion detector lights you could also add some type of motion activated alarm. There are a number of different options on Amazon. Only problem with those is that you may not get much sleep. It is amazing how many things move around at night…including things animated by a late night gust of wind!

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The first time I camped with my Devos Light I had the sensitivity too sensitive and the moths kept me up.
What about a CO2 air horn? LOL

My friend read my post and thought I was worried about bears. Actually I’m not worried, I’m just curious.
Last week we had to put our female dog down and my wife mentioned that when our last dog, which is 14 years old also, passes on she wants to drive to Alaska. That is why I am asking for input.

She is starting to plan our route and soon I will ask about place to visit along the way.

Thanks for your input!!

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Living in San Diego I don’t get much interaction with bears, only a couple times on trips North though. What about freeze dried food? Then just boiling water as opposed to cooking a big meal on your stove, and any packaging can be sealed up and reduce smell.
I joined a few guys from Washington for the WABDR and they all pretty much only ate freeze dried food. I didn’t really think to ask if it had anything to do with bears as they weren’t really a consideration for me then.


Yes. Dehydrated backpacking meals are preferable to cooking and wafting food smells.

I don’t believe bears mean to be naughty, but they are food motivated and a hungry bear is determined.



Agreed on the just add water cooking options as good quick and easy to contain options. If I do cook in bear country I do it before dusk and before I get to wherever I’m going to camp.

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i just ordered the Devos sensors because of this post lol

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Good move.
The motion sensor works great.
I place it about 6 feet high on the pole.
That way only large animal like humans set it off. LOL

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I like the idea of cooking before getting to the camp site.
I also tried Adventure Meals and even some MRE’s.
I can’t eat them. To much salt.

Great idea about the alarm. The trailer was a demo trailer and they installed remote 12vdc power switches in the trailer for shows. I could connect up a strob and horn to one of them.
That might be over kill.

Last week I ordered Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented).

Consider trying the Peak brand dehydrated meals. I tried Chicken Alfredo and Berry Cobbler at the Flagstaff Expo. For me the taste and texture were both very good, so I bought several packs of various flavors.

good idea!
usually i put the lights low closer to the ground because of windy situations lol
good thing is I also have my BD S2 camplights wired to switch pro so i can turn them on with my phone too!