UDAP Bear Spray Review

grizzly bear in tall grass
Big brown bear way too close for comfort – look at those teeth!

UDAP bear deterrent spray is one of the most popular brands of anti-bear attack deterrent that is currently out there on the market. While this definitely isn’t necessary for every area, if you live in bear country then you want to take the proper precautions to make sure that you’re protected in case you accidentally surprise a bear, find an overly curious one, or find yourself even in a worse case scenario with an aggressive or charging bear.

While many people in really rough and isolated areas are very familiar with a favorite firearm, park rangers and many others also carry a can of bear spray. Not only are these designed specifically to put a stop to charging bears or overly aggressive actions, multiple studies have shown that when properly used a good bear spray is actually more effective than using a handgun.

While many people meet this claim with skepticism at first, it is worth noting there’s a reason park rangers carry bear spray, and the studies aren’t back and forth on it: they’re in overwhelming agreement that bear spray is better as you can read about here, here, in this article on the BYU study, or even in our past post on surviving a bear attack.

We’re big on bear deterrent spray because in the far majority of situations it is simply the best option for getting out of a bear attack unharmed or barely harmed, or even scaring off an overly curious or aggressive bear before those actions turn into an actual attack.

Why Is Bear Spray so Effective?

two cans bear spray in plastic container
Why buy one when you can get two?

Bear spray is effective in two ways: compared to other options for trying to fight off aggressive bears, and as a standalone product that is specifically designed to protect people from bear attacks. There are many links throughout this post (and others we have on bears) talking about the studies that have been done showing that using bear spray consistently created better results than using a firearm.

Bear spray is an alternative that was designed not to be a general tool but to serve one very specific function that needed to work consistently and reliably.

The idea for bear spray came when early lab tests repeatedly showed the only thing that seemed to consistently have any effect on aggressive bears in the lab was a strong animal pepper spray (HALT – which you can read about in our post on the best dog deterrents). This result was extremely surprising to the lab, but further tests showed that the use of a dog deterrent pepper spray seemed to have a strong instant effect that would not only stop a charge, but cause the bear to withdrawal, as well.

A bear’s nose is incredibly sensitive, far more so than a human’s. Hundreds or possibly even thousands of times more sensitive. In the right circumstances with the wind blowing, grizzly bears can smell a person from more than 15 miles away, or a fresh carcass, and they have a sense of smell that is even 700% better than a well trained bloodhound – a dog bred specifically to have an insanely strong sense of smell.

Great Bear Defense Video: .44 Magnum Vs. Bear Spray

What Makes UDAP Stick Out?

two spray cans and cloth holders
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UDAP is a bear spray that has a very violent history in a way, because it’s foundation came with an actual bear attack. Mark Matheny was a bow hunter taking a trip with friends near Yellowstone Park (note: near, not in) all the way back in 1992. Unfortunately he stumbled upon two bear cubs and the mother immediately charged. Mark would not only get mauled, but his face ended up between her jaws as she bit down.

A friend sprayed her with a pepper spray, one that was only designed for people, with only a short burst but it was enough to get her to let go and go after his friend. After she attacked Mark again, his friend stood up and unloaded the entire pepper spray can into the bear’s face.

Despite it being a weak pepper spray just used for basic self defense against humans, that worked as the bear moved back, obviously upset and in pain, and it was enough to force it to run off with the cubs, allowing first aid to be applied.

The experience was traumatizing, and some of the memories are no doubt always going to stay with Matheny, who fully admits he became outright obsessed with bear deterrent and especially how pepper spray could work. He knew that saved his life and wanted to become a part of that and spreading a good product to other outdoorsman. He became a salesman for a bear spray company but wanted a stronger and more effective option and thought about things like having a cans that glowed in the dark so would be easy to see at night or had better carrying cases that people wouldn’t fumble with when they needed it most.

This led to the founding of UDAP with the specific purpose of creating a better bear spray and eventually led to the the modern UDAP bear spray we know today.

bear spray can and holsterUnfortunately depending on what YouTube video you find on bear spray, UDAP has struggled a bit with reputation because of a “test” that shows it failing miserably.

This is from the channel “The Late Boy Scout” and while he does have a lot of good stuff there, there’s one big problem with this video. The problem is simple: he uses it wrong. This is why every report talks about “When properly used (emphasis mine) bear spray is more effective than firearms.”

Bear spray is not meant for a tiny shot. While the “hold it down for the entire can” isn’t the right strategy unless the bear is literally coming right on top of you, but the finger needs to stay down longer and firmer than it does in the video. Those longer spurts drastically increases the range, strength of the spray, and staying power of the cloud that forms in a light wind. This is obviously different than what gets shown in that one video, but it also addresses the problems. Now if he re-tested that can for long bursts and had the same result, then calling that can defective would be 100% legit.

You can find tons of videos on YouTube that also just display this clearly where the use of the bear deterrent spray comes out as a longer, stronger burst. You have to use it correctly for the product to work.

What’s the Final Verdict on UDAP Bear Spray?

There’s a reason UDAP shows up on our blog post of the best bear spray options. This is one of the big names in the business of making top notch bear spray and when used correctly it is an extremely effective deterrent against overly curious, overly aggressive, or even attacking bears. You would hope that a bear spray that starts with the story of an avid outdoorsman surviving a bear mauling would produce one of the best bear sprays on the market and in this particular case, that’s exactly what happens.

If you are choosing among the top names in the bear spray, you aren’t going to be sorry if you go with UDAP. Developed out of need and obsession, it lives up to the heavy standards of the company founder and is one of the best bear deterrents out there. If you’re going to be going into bear country, don’t take a regular pepper spray. Make sure you have a bear spray like UDAP to make sure you give yourself the best chance of being protected.

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In Conclusion

There are many bear spray options out there, and there is a reason that UDAP is frequently on those top lists. This UDAP bear spray review was as thorough as we can make it, and we hope at this point you can see why this particular product is so well thought of among many experts. As someone who spent several years in Alaska, there is absolutely no argument that in bear country you want to be prepared. While being aware, letting local wildlife know about your location, and traveling with groups is a great start, if the worst case scenario takes place, you want to make sure you’re prepared that way you can enjoy the true beauty of wild bear country.

How to Use Bear Spray Video Review Tutorial