Survival Gear Review: UDAP Bear Spray

My first thought was does this stuff stop a bear, of course. Then questions start to flow, like legality and effectiveness. Is it legal to blast someone with a spray designedUDAP Bear Spray For Self Defense for animals?  Can you carry it open or concealed?  Does it really stop a bear or 2 legged predator from doing you harm?  Personally from a father’s perspective, I like the thought of my girls having this option. It is supposed to be non-lethal, but after reading about its strength and what it can do to your senses, I could see it being life threatening to someone who has less than stellar lungs.

Bear Spray For Self Defense

The active ingredient in pepper spray is oleoresin capsacum, which contains a compound called capsaicin, the stuff that gives it the spicy kick.  It doesn’t take much of the stuff to make you feel pain. The ‘heat’ content is measured by the Scoville scale, developed by an American named Wilbur Scoville.  Once you look at the levels of ‘heat’ in certain foods, you get the picture of pain that can be inflicted by concentrates of these peppers.  I love Scotch Bonnet and Habanero sauces, they get me sweating, but they are on the wimpy side of the scale, around 200K.  Jalapeno’s, child’s play.  Udap bear spray is playing in the 3.3 million range.Bear Spray for Self Defense

Some of the peppers grown for sprays can’t be handled with bare hands without great risk.  We are talking peppers with a rating in the millions on the scale.  If the smell of Tabascomakes you pull away, then this stuff will make you run for your life. This stuff is rated around 3.3 million, on the Scoville scale. Some cop sprays go to 5 million, or so I have read.

The effectiveness of UDAP bear sprays is well documented.  The Forest Service issues this to its people instead of a RPG, so I’m going to go with the fact that it works.  So the question begs to be asked, ‘Is it better than a gun?’ As much as I love my big magnum revolvers, I would go with the spray for the big predators. Blasphemy you say, the fog pattern is better than a 12Ga, and the fact that you don’t have to think about ricochets, background targets, and wall penetration, makes it a viable consideration, and its non-lethal. In reality, both would be the best option. The UDAP canister with holster weighs about a pound, my 7.9 oz net can weighs 11.2 gross, and costs around $60 with carry option, that sounds like bargain security.  What if you get some on you?  By accident or wind or …DON”T RUB IT! You are just grinding it in. Read this great info page (click here).

In Your House?

Basically, you don’t want it on you if possible. So here is the disclaimer, I don’t think you can use bear spray in an enclosed area without Bear Spray for Self Defensegetting intimate with the spray.  Using this inside your home for defense could get dicey.  Airflow in your home would have to be taken into consideration before deciding to use this as an option.  If you could deploy this down a hallway and close the door behind you, it would be an option. Walking through a cloud of this doesn’t sound like fun.  All that said, think what it would be like to have it used on you.  A deputy friend told me that many of his fellow deputies have quit carrying spray due to the clean-up, putting a sprayed suspect in the car, and potentially wrestling with said suspect, all that puts you in contact with the stuff.  So all this might sound like reasons not to include this in your arsenal, but I think the opposite.  This stuff will deter an attacker, period. When the chips are down, it is all about you getting away alive. Bear spray is easily deployed, carried, and purchased.

Legality. Personal defense sprays are legal to carry in all states, some municipalities may ban it or limit the size of the can.  D.C. requests that you register it, but I think that you might have to register your salad forks in Washington DC too. Where does Bear spray land on the legal issue?  You can buy it online in most states, but using it on a human is not encouraged.  If your safety is in danger, blast away I say.  If you are in the right to defend yourself, I am guessing the potential penalty, if a jury doesn’t sympathize with you, would be worth the risk.  Better judged by 12 than carried by 6.  If you think that carrying this with is an option, do your research for your AO.  We could not find any volunteers for field applications, wussies. I even tried money,$20 doesn’t buy what it used to.

Not A Volunteer

One of the guys who works on this blog (not to be named) had a nasty run in with UDAP Bear Spray.  Late one night after a show, he decided to drive home rather than stay in a hotel.  By the time he got home, his wife was in bed.  He ate a late dinner and decided to go to bed.  Unfortunately his wife had locked the bedroom door.  So being the smart survival guy and not wanting to sleep on the couch, he decided to pick the lock.  He assumed that his wife would know it was him.  Bad idea.  With the lock almost picked, his wife swung open the door and sprayed him with UDAP Bear Spray.   Luckily for him, it just hit his arm and shoulder but that was enough to make him a true believer.  “This stuff is 10 times worse than the riot gas they use in the Marine Corps.  My arm hurt for four days and even though it did not hit me in the face, I could barely see out of my eyes for almost an hour.  It literally felt like my arm and shoulder were on fire.  I can’t imagine getting hit in the face with this stuff.  This is why I don’t give her a gun, she is crazy.”  It made for a great story the next day.

When writing this review, we had a few laughs thinking about dusting some aggressive beggar or used car salesman, but those pesky laws about hurting people for laughs, keep getting in the way.  So as a replacement just check out youtube, wow people do the craziest stuff.  I did go out with a friend and tried to get some good pics and a short video.  Notice I said tried, the wind was swirling just enough for my friend to get a taste and so did I, but my friend got a bigger sample.  The canister worked flawlessly dispensing an even fog/cloud of repellant. It comes out fast and furious, just what you need when you need it.  My first blast was more than what I guess I expected, in the aspect of effective range.  Just the sound of this canister alone would be enough to give any person pause, then reality hits them square in the face.  A normal person can’t miss the target with this item.  At 10 feet away the spray pattern is around 3 feet in diameter, at 20+ feet it will envelop you.

Bringing us back around to shifting winds.  Be ready to keep moving after hitting the trigger, which should be a natural thing anyway.  Storage, don’t leave this canister in the sun.  It is under some serious pressure, so baking it on your dash might be asking for trouble.  A couple of sites describe storing this during travel in a Nalgene bottle. Drill a small hole in the top, to relieve pressure should a rupture occur, and cover the hole with some foam or cotton material to keep the leak to a minimum.

This product is called a deterrent.  Earlier we were talking about strengths according to Mr. Scoville, cop or personal defense sprays are Bear Spray For Self Defensestronger than this stuff, why?  After thinking about it for a few minutes or hours, it dawned on me as to maybe why.  Bear sprays are meant to deter an attack, not encourage it.  If you hurt an angry momma bear, wrath be upon you.  Better to discourage than provoke.  personal defense sprays are meant to disable an attacker, and they do a good job.  Even if you nail the most violent drug crazed thug that exists, he will slow down and probably have a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment, giving you enough time to retreat or treat them to your version of neutralization.

The Bottom Line

Bottom line is that UDAP Bear Deterrent is a great product that will give the security you desire whether hiking down a trail in Alaska or just camping around your locale.  I could also see this in your kit for crowd control or an urban bug out where a firearm is not an option.  The biggest advantage that this stuff has over personal defense sprays is the fog pattern and distance, you just can’t miss.  And if you do miss, you got a whole canister to track your target down.

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Joel Jefferson
Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

7 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: UDAP Bear Spray”

  1. I have a 16 oz canister of bear spray made by Fox, 5.3 million Scoville units, scary sounding for sure! I have never used it and the few times that I carried it backpacking, it was in the end only dead weight with no other possible use that I know off. Maybe it could be used as an area-denial tool/weapon or used as a distraction allowing you to flee! A firearm has hunting as well as self-defense uses but legally can't be carried everywhere. If someone is attempting to break into your house/home, a quick shot of this aerosol-delivered Hell should make most Zombies/criminal/desparate people flee, but if it doesn't, then a firearm is IMHO essential to protect you and yours! Drug-crazed people/Zombies do things that normally aren't even considered to be in the realm of possibility, bear spray may not stop them, a well-placed shot Will do the job! So, for me, the canister of bear spray has a place at a BOL, but not in my BOB! Good Luck!

  2. I accidentally shot my self in the face with this stuff at point blank range. I was pushing the can into my backpack and by mistake pressed on the nozzle: A direct shot to the face and left eye. My reaction pushed the spray onto my left arm.

    I did this inside the bedroom of a cabin. My first reaction was to tell my wife to get the dog and run out of the room. She was able to leave quickly and was not exposed. Then, I ran to the nearest faucet. The pain and burning was horrible, but not so bad that I screamed (my friends were sleeping in other rooms). There is no doubt, the only thing on my mind, was "get this stuff off of me". No attacker or assailant would be able to do anything but look for relief from the intense burn.

    To my surprise, it was almost equally painful in my arm. I stood under the faucet for 30 minutes until the pain went away. I would alternate between my arm and my face. Finally, after 30 minutes, I was able to take my face out from under the faucet. No more pain and burning, but the irritation to the left side of my face and left eye was obvious. I was able to hike that day, but my eye was red for 3 days. The pain in my arm lasted most of the day, especially when I would put on a coat.

    Several of my friends were awaken by mild coughing, but had no clue of what happened.

    My "experience" and my two cents: If you're inside a house and at close range to someone: USE IT. It will stop anyone that is not on a dangerous drug. "Close range" meaning 3-5 feet. It will give you time to get away. If the assailant is farther than 5 feet, look at your surroundings and determine where the exit is. I would still use it but aim straight to the face. A direct shot is worse than going through a cloud of this stuff; trust me. I keep a can beside my bed every night after that incident.

  3. If one is looking for a good self defense spray, I would like to recommend good ol wasp spray. It can be kept on any desk or counter without attracting attention and is very effective in stopping any would be criminal. In addition, it has an effective range of about 20 to 25 feet. __About six months ago my daughter moved to San Antonio for her job. She does keep a loaded shotgun in her apartment and as I told her, she also keeps a can of wasp spray. About three months after she was there, some idiot tried to break into her apartment, instead of grabbing her shotgun she grabbed the wasp spray and nailed them in the face with that, thus putting an end to their illegal activities. When the cops got there, they found the individual rolling around on the ground in agony. Both officers laughed the whole time they were arresting this big tough guy as this little girl stood over him. One of the officers asked her why she used wasp spray and she told him that it was better than using her shotgun and possibly putting a round through the next apartment. It turns out the guy she sprayed had broken into or attempted to break into 5 other apartments that night.

    A can of wasp spray can sit in plain sight and no one will ever think twice about it. It is the ultimate in concealment. And if you are bothered by wasps this is better than pulling your conceal carry and shooting the wasp….

  4. UDAP is a great deterrent. Once while with extended family in Glacier Nat'l park i offered everyone a can to carry on a hike. Only a couple accepted. But after an exciting but no-harm-done run in with a Grizzly everyone was lining up for cans to carry the next day. I was also carrying a firearm as well. Interestingly bringing personal defense sprays into Canada is illegal (and i assume using them). A friend i was traveling with across the border paid a hefty fine when the boarder agent found a little lip-stick sized spray in his truck door. Yet if it has said "bear spray" on it, it would have been perfectly legal. Go figure. A friend who lives in Africa asks for cans of bear spray as a gift when i go for a visit. He calls it "crowd control". Hi wife had to use it once on a couple of thugs who were tailing her in the market place. They were big and burly, but laid out on the ground instantly crying like baby's after she hit them with the bear spray. Watch the wind. Some friends were fishing in Alaska when they came along a trial right into a big brown bear traveling the opposite direction. Not being from the area and over reacting they all pulled out their bear spray and let him have it, only the wind was in their faces and they all were laid out by their own spray. The bear stopped to watch them as they writhed in pain in the trail, and then proceeded to walk right around them and kept on his way. Good thing he wasn't looking for red meat, as there was a pile of it right there already spiced up for him. Keep in mind the spray doesn't buck the wind as well as a bullet, but not every bear is a threat either.

    • I drove through Canada en route to Alaska in Spring 2016. I was asked at the border if I had bear spray which I was told by him was illegal. I had shipped my firearm to Alaska from Bellingham Washington prior to crossing the border. I wasn't about to give up my two large cans of spray and they didn't look.

  5. I like this for all critters as long as your aware of the wind, in so many areas and including those that have the potential for bear attacks any chemical spray could be illegal check your areas laws so if you have to use it or carry it
    at least you know to keep it concealed or not carry it at all but as they say better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

    A bear is not slow unless your aware of them they can be on you so fast you will think you were struck by lightening.
    This is a deterent not prevention although I do see it in combination with other tools unless you have been sprayed
    you are in for a real surprise humid air acts like a wall although the spray will penetrate it can also back fire a bit
    even a very slight wind and your in as bad a shape as whatever you sprayed so just be aware and once you use it
    keep your eyes open and avoid the fog and watch what you sprayed even if incapacitated they may still grope to
    find you until it has full effect and you may feel that you need to spritz them again.
    Once your sure they are not a threat get out, beat feet get to a place you can report when and where the danger is
    this is like anything else if it is not at hand it is not going to do you much good especially in your pack like a knife or a pistol it has to be within grasp in a moments notice.

    Bear Spray LMAO this is anything spray people have been robbed rapped attacked by rabid animals even crazed birds it is the wilderness even if your 50 foot off the road taking a leak.

    many years ago I was driving back from Corpus Christi Texas on the side of the road was a mountain lion dead
    it had been hit crossing the FRIGGIN FREEWAY a cat that avoids people hunts at dusk and morning and this
    animal was at least 80 + pounds not a mile in any diorection were subdivisions and gas stations.
    animals are never far away and they get used to humans now we have them digging in our garbage ransacking vehicles and people are killed every year by deer in rut I would carry this inio roadside restrooms.
    This is good stuff and it aint just for bears.


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