If you spend any time hiking in bear country you need to be prepared for a bear encounter. On a recent backpacking trip in northeastern Minnesota, we had Counter Assault Bear Spray on us the entire time, and it provided the safety and peace of mind we were looking for.
The main selling point for us is that Counter Assault is the only bear spray on the market that sprays a full 40 feet for eight seconds. In an encounter, this extra distance and time could make all the difference. We found the holster to be comfortable, but also secure, making it easy to remove the bear spray quickly if needed.
Counter Assault Bear Spray is 2% capsaicin (the strongest allowed by law), and has a four year shelf life. This was also something we appreciated, because it’s important to know exactly how long the bear spray will function effectively. If it’s older than four years you’ll want to toss it and make sure that you’re hiking with a fresh canister.
When deploying Counter Assault Bear Spray there are two things you need to pay attention to.
Deploy your bear spray at a 45 degree downward angle in a sweeping motion. Many people think that bear spray should be sprayed directly in a bear’s face, but this isn’t the most effective way to use it. What you want to do is create a wall of capsaicin that the bear will have to run through. This greatly increases chance that the bear will get capsaicin in his mouth, nose, and eyes.
Practice makes perfect! If you want to increase your chances of staying calm during a bear encounter, you need to practice drawing your bear spray from the holster. Do this over and over again, until you can do it without thinking. Counter Assault also makes inert training canisters, which will make your practice more realistic.
Bear spray works, and there are numerous success stories to prove it. Escaping to the backcountry for an adventure is something we live for, but it’s also something that we prepare for. Carrying bear spray is essential in some parts of the country, and it makes sense to pick the most powerful one. At the time of this writing, Counter Assault is the one you should reach for.