By Mike Sherman
Do you want to feel protected while camping but you shun guns? There are alternatives that will help you in the event you find yourself under assault, either by an animal, or a human being acting like an animal.
Non-lethal weapons have, of course, been around since the beginning of time. Some might think a rock or a baseball bat is a non-lethal weapon but the law recognizes them as deadly weapons. If you rely on a baseball bat for personal protection, keep in mind its use requires you to be up close and personal with your attacker. But what about a defensive spray? They can save your life with a 15-foot separation between you and the offender. Continue reading about the benefits of pepper spray.
Differences between animal (dog or bear) spray and human pepper spray
If you want to stay safe from both animals and humans while jogging or camping, you probably don’t want to carry two different types of spray (animal spray and human pepper spray). So, the natural question is whether you can use one spray to cover all possible scenarios.
The fact is, animal spray is typically not as strong as human pepper spray. This is because, quite simply, it doesn’t need to be. Dogs and other animals have much more sensitive senses of sight and smell, so it takes much less OC (oleoresin capsicum, the active ingredient in pepper spray) to affect them and keep you safe.
Dog spray (like Mace Brand Muzzle Pepper Spray) is most often less than half of the industry standard put into human defense spray, with the industry standard for human pepper spray being about 2 million SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
What type should I carry?
If you only want to carry one type of spray, it’s advised to carry human pepper spray and have the protection against both animals and humans. Pepper spray is not lethal and will not cause long-term injuries to people or animals. It will only temporarily disable the attacking animal or human. Human pepper spray can still get an instant response in animals and the range is still adequate enough for you to stay safe (between 8 and 16 feet). Each spray wears off in 30 minutes to 2 hours and it’s legal in all states (with a few still having restrictions on its use).
Of course, it should be noted that human pepper spray might not be as effective on larger animals like bears. Bear spray might be a better choice if you’re an avid camper or hiker in locations where you’re more likely to encounter an angry bear than a human attacker. Both bear spray and pepper spray contain the same active ingredient, OC (oleoresin capsicum), and can cause temporary blindness, nausea, burning sensations, inability to breathe temporarily and other bothersome symptoms.
However, the big difference in bear spray and human pepper spray is the bear spray has to pass tests done by the Environmental Protection Agency, to ensure it’s humane. In terms of strength, bear spray has about 2% CRC (Capsaicin and Related Capsaicinoids) and human spray only has about 1.33% CRC. Bear spray typically can shoot farther than human pepper spray and also often has a wider affected area.
The main point is to keep yourself protected at all times, no matter where you are. Think about your lifestyle and what types of dangers you might encounter on a regular day. If you don’t ever camp or hike, chances are you need human pepper spray. It can help you fight off human or smaller animal attacks (dogs, cats, raccoons, opossum). It’s an ideal choice for joggers or for those who need protection as they walk in parking lots.
However, if you are in the woods a lot and need protection against bears it might be wise to carry bear spray alone or carry it with human pepper spray. It could possibly be illegal to use bear spray on a human should you be attacked by a human while hiking in the woods, as it’s not intended for human use. But, keep in mind if you’re being attacked you must react to keep yourself safe. So, if all you have is bear spray, be sure to use it! It will disable a human just the same, if not more effectively.
There are some restrictions in a few states. You can view the legal information and a wealth of product information at Pepper-Spray-Store.com.
Be alert and stay safe out there.
Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary.