Car camp Bear proof food storage

I’m from MN and planning a a trip to CO this summer and plan on staying in my car. Does anyone have some cheap ideas on how to store food to keep bears away? Idk if I want to spend a lot of money on a bear cache, for only one trip…

Thanks for any help


I’ve lived in Colorado for over 40 years and have camped regularly during all of that time. Many Colorado campgrounds located in bear country have dedicated “Bear Boxes” at their sites. These are metal and quite sturdy. They will fit all but the largest coolers along with your other foodstuffs.
If you do your research, you should be able to fine plenty of sites so equipped. When you want to camp where there are no boxes, just remember to keep your camp spotless. Keep coolers and stoves clean and store them in your trunk or other secured spot. Lock your car. Don’t do dishes in camp, leave pet food out, and keep your trash secured. Keep in mind that bears have a very keen sense of smell and if you’re not meticulous in keeping things clean, you can attract them from quite a distance away.
Having said all that, I’ve never had a bear encounter in camp. An encounter is certainly always possible but if you keep your site clean, the odds go WAY down.

I hope you enjoy your trip, Colorado is truly a beautiful place!


If bear boxes or poles exist at your camp site, that would be the best choice when used properly, as David mentions above.
Many roto-molded (like Yeti, Orca, etc) coolers are IGBC approved too, which means they were tested with bears. You can follow the link below to a list of approved products, you might very well have one already:

Although for me, its the other critters that can be the most annoying! People I’ve camped with have had bags that were strung up invaded by mice and squirrels, they are crafty little buggers. I’ve watched a mouse find a forgotten wrapper in a backpack and chew through pockets to get it, and then a squirrel eat a bag of peanut M&M’s while helplessly watching 10 or more feet below. Ravens are pretty good at operating zippers - they will steal stuff from your backpack before you know it. Keeping camp clean and cooking away from camp are very important to keep all critters away!

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As @Luv2Camp mentioned, storing stuff in your car is simple, effective, and offers pretty good protection against other critters as well. Be sure to lock your car, though! I know someone who suffered a “break in” from a clever bear.