Bears and the van


Hello all I have a quick question about bear safety and the van. My wife and I have never taken the van to bear country but are planning a short trip to the Smokey Mountains and we are concerned about bears. Everything we have read talks about keeping food and scented items in the camp bear boxes or in air tight containers in your trunk. We are a little worried about dispersed sites that may not have bear boxes and the fact that a van doesn’t have a trunk (as in my bed is the trunk). Any advice on van dwelling around bears in both organized campgrounds and dispersed sites?



Seems like bears can smell yummy stuff in vehicles, even if it hasn’t been there for ages. I carry bear spray, but have never used it. I’ve had a few encounters with bears, waking me up while sleeping, and the best solution I have found is to just drive off. If I’m in bear country, everything is packed inside and ready to roll at a moments notice.

I scared one bear away when I popped up and hollered at him, and he could see me through the window. He ran off, but about an hour later, him or one of his cousins was back looking for an easy way into my van. I drove off, end of problem. If the bears in an area are used to finding goodies in vehicles, you’re a target whether you have anything inside or not. I’ve actually seen bears breaking into car after car in parking lots.

Bear spray MIGHT deter them, but getting out of harms way has worked the best for me.



Thanks for the tip, I definitely was thinking in the event I was woken up by one Id probably just start to drive away.


If you keep the food in your car at night. You’ll have no problem at all. Otherwise tie it up in a bag between two trees.


The only bears in the Smokies are black bears and honestly, they’re pretty wussy. I’ve come across bears camping around the Smokies plenty of times and they always run off if your just make a bunch of noise. Just crank your engine, honk your horn, and flash your headlights and they’ll ton of quicker than hell. Don’t let worrying about black bears ruin a great trip.



I’m not saying it never happens. I’m saying the chances are low. You can post all the articles you want. I know from experience.

Take every instance of dangerous bear incidents in the Smokies and compare it to how many people visit in a year. You’ll see what I mean