Following Aaron Couch’s insightful article on how to safely ride in bear country, I felt compelled to publish an article about a clever piece of gear that can be used to stay safe in bear country. Though it may only be anecdotal evidence, the majority of adventurers I talk to up here in Alaska swear by bear spray over using a handgun when traveling in the backcountry. Due to the wider area of efficacy with bear spray, a victim doesn’t need to have a sharpshooter’s steady hand and can merely spray a protective peppery blanket between themselves and their four-legged assailant.
Few things can ruin a ride faster than getting straight-up mauled by a bear. In fact, getting mauled by a bear may ruin more than just your bike ride, but for the purpose of this review, let’s focus on preventing bear attacks.
Ideally, you’ll never come face to face with a bear, but should you spot one on the trail while on your ride, the first thing to do is to remain calm and do everything you can to prevent the situation from escalating. Since I’ve not had any real interaction with bears as of yet, aside from spotting the beasts from a substantial distance, I’ll defer to the experts on how to handle a bear encounter. Take a quick read of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s “Essentials for Traveling in Bear Country” for a primer on how to travel through areas where humans and ursidae share space.
Hypothetically speaking, after going through the standard operating procedure of how to handle a bear encounter, you find yourself with a few thousand pounds of muscle, fur, claws, and teeth coming your way. At this point, it would be in your best interest to reach for your protection and prepare to deter the animal assailant.
However, timing is a critical factor of stopping a bear’s charge (or bluff charge) and having a canister of bear spray close at hand can determine whether your defense is effective or useless. Thankfully, Bear Cozy has developed a product that can integrate seamlessly with most bikes on the market and will give riders a great option for deterring any number of members of the ursus family.
The Bear Cozy is proof that sometimes, one of the simplest solutions is also the best. Rather than create a holstering system and an associated frame attachment setup, the creators found inspiration in the lowly water bottle. Using a clever lockring system, the Bear Cozy allows the backcountry rider to secure a can of their favorite bear mace and use their bike’s existing water bottle holder to keep said mace within arm’s reach.
During testing, the Bear Cozy performed admirably, insofar as it never tried to free itself from the water bottle cage and was always close at hand. More importantly, the bear spray stayed secure in the Cozy and showed no signs of coming loose. Thankfully, I had no real incentive to pull the bear spray from its holster and administer a dose of the spicy spray on a charging bear, but that didn’t keep me from pretending to be a cowboy and practicing my quickdraw. Given enough time, I’m sure Mr. (or Mrs., they’re really the ones to watch for) Bear will think twice before lining up for a showdown on the trail. Realistically speaking, I’ll just be happy that my bear mace will be readily-accessible if the furry tank charges me.
For $13, it’s hard to see the Bear Cozy as anything but a great value. It’s simple, durable, and does its job perfectly well. Additionally, a portion of each sale is donated to outdoor education and outreach programs, so you’ll be helping both your human and animal companions. If you’re heading out for a ride in bear country, I highly recommend adding the Bear Cozy to your gear list. Odds are you won’t need to use the spray, but as the saying goes, “it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
Thanks to Bear Cozy for providing the Holster for review.