Do Bears Break Into Cars? Simple Ways To Prevent It!

Even though bear sightings are unusual for most car campers in North America, many of the most breathtaking and untamed regions are home to a sizable bear population. This encompasses the entirety of Canada, the majority of the mountainous and coastal regions of the United States, and northern Mexico. 

All bear species in North America are known to be perfectly capable of breaking open doors and truck lids if they sense food inside and smashing into automobile windows. The more you can do to lessen your automobile’s chance to become a target because of their constant hunt for food, the better.

Every bear can break into your car. A grizzly bear can break into your car, a polar bear can do it too, a black bear is capable of doing such an act too, and other bears! If they are full-grown bears and healthy, they can surely break into your car. Aside from your car, bears can also break into your houses. However, that’s a different story. 

In this article, we will take a look at bears. I know that it is inevitable for you to encounter a bear while camping, especially if you camp in an area known for having bears. I will give you some helpful tips so that you can prevent bears from breaking into your car while you are camping. 

Can A Bear Break Through A Car Window?

Black bears are the North American species’ most prevalent and least aggressive. Therefore, we will concentrate on them in this article. Yes! A grizzly bear can also break through your car window, but black bears are the usual ones that do this. 

Black bear males may weigh up to 500 lbs, while some have been known to reach weights of up to 880 lbs. 

Despite this, they are pretty nimble, quickly climbing trees and swimming. Therefore, avoid thinking that being close to water makes you safer. They also employ these abilities when looking for food. They often eat a lot of fish, fruits, and berries.

Black bears will go to tremendous lengths to acquire the food they require, even though they are not as violent as brown bears and won’t attack people without being provoked. They can locate their food thanks to their keen hearing and smell, which make up for their weak vision.

A black bear is more than eager to open your automobile like a can of sardines if he senses something inside.

Because people leave food unattended at night, thousands of break-ins and $100,000 worth of yearly damages in national parks. Some parks like Yosemite National Park recorded 600 automobile break-ins in 1997, with damages totaling more than $500,000. 

To protect visitors, this has also led to the killing of 4 bears discovered to be habitual offenders. This is why it’s crucial to store your food properly—it prevents damage to your vehicle and lowers the mortality rate of these lovely animals.

How To Prevent Bears From Breaking Into My Car?

Bears have a keen sense of smell; therefore, remember that the human definition of “food” differs from what bears consider food based on fragrance. All “food” items must be adequately kept and safeguarded.

  • Packaged food
  • Sunscreen
  • Fuel
  • Utensils for cooking and consuming food
  • Drinks
  • Bottles
  • Trash
  • Soaps
  • Insect repellent
  • Perfume
  • Food scraps

You must complete your research on the rules because storage requirements differ depending on the National or State Park you choose to camp at. Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in fines, the removal of objects that were incorrectly kept, or other consequences designed to protect you and the nearby animals. 

During the day, you are permitted to keep concealed food in your car, but at night, they must be further guarded, according to the National Park Service.

Regarding food storage, there are a few choices, which are given below. This might make a bear’s next camping trip more comfortable overall and mean the difference between life and death for a bear.

Types Of Food Storage Car Campers Need

Food Lockers

Many people like using these on their hiking or camping. The reason why is because they are convenient, roomy, and found in many National Parks. See whether your location has them by checking. Large metal boxes known as “food lockers” are used for precisely what they sound like: storing food. Both car campers and backcountry hikers love these.

Remember that your kitchen area and food storage should be 100 yards or more apart from your campground and each other, respectively. A “triangle of safety” exists here. I recommend these if your campsite has one of them. Once more, it’s crucial to confirm whether they are available where you’re going.

Bear Bags

This choice is undoubtedly the preferred one for travelers in environments where every pound matters because it is much more practical when attempting to pack lightly and conserve space. This approach is only viable if you have a large bag to accommodate all of your food supplies and if the location where you intend to camp has a lot of trees.

You will need a long stick, two waterproof storage bags, 100 feet of rope (more than you generally need, but it is always handy to have additional rope in your pack), something heavy to throw that will serve as an anchor, and a tree with a branch that is around 20 feet tall and 5 feet long. Creating the system now entails:

  1. Put a knot in your rope and attach it to the large item you’ve picked (You could even use the food bag itself so you can skip a step)
  2. Throw it over a 5-foot-long tree branch next, and then let it fall back to the ground.
  3. Grab the item, detach it from the rope while holding the other end to prevent it from unraveling, and then replace it with the food bag of your choice. Verify that the bag is well fastened. Raising the food bag to the branch next.
  4. Then tie a weight of equal size to the other end of the rope, wrap the additional rope around the object to prevent it from hanging too low to the ground, and use your long stick to lift it to the same height as the previous sack. Theoretically, this second bag may contain additional food.

All you have to do is that! With the stick you used to lift the sack, you may now lower it.

Therefore, this alternative involves a lot of time, some work to build the system, you can’t keep a lot of food in it, and it’s challenging to have some great snacking when you want to. All four of those are favorites with travelers. However, look for bear canisters below for a far easier approach.

Bear Canisters

When food lockers aren’t accessible, this is a favorite among car campers who have room to get them to their campsites and want a simpler solution than bear bags. If there are no nearby food lockers, several well-known parks mandate the use of a bear canister. This comprises:

  • National Park Yosemite
  • National Park of Grand Teton
  • National Park of the Rocky Mountains
  • National Olympic Park
  • National Park of Denali
  • National Park of Isle Royale

Small, transportable food stores are called bear canisters. For those who prefer to trek a little to their campsite, even vehicle campers, there are lightweight solutions that are helpful. REI brands have been as much as $80-90, but I have also seen them at nearby flea markets for $20. 

Several solutions are available for you, no matter what you feel most comfortable with. These are reliable, reasonably priced, and simple to operate (essentially, it’s a giant anti-bear cookie jar). This looks to be the best option for vehicle campers.

Wrapping Up

Being prepared allows you to feel more at ease while enjoying the outdoors when car camping. Think about all of these possibilities, and get ready for your trip by gathering the appropriate equipment and conducting thorough research of the locations you will go.

With all of these suggestions, you ought to feel secure at your campground and prepared for any adventure you intend to have (or, better yet, don’t intend to have). Goodluck camping!

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