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Safety (and comfort) Gear

A wonderful vacation can turn into a nightmare when unsafe or uncomfortable situations arise. I once hiked 15 miles to a backcountry arch at Zion National Park but only stayed to view it for a couple of minutes because the bugs were so bad. Here are my suggestions to keep your trip running smooth and safe.

Bear Spray

There are bears and other dangerous animals in a surprising number of mountain ranges in the United States. The National Park Service recommends you have a can of bear spray with you if you are going on backcountry trails in Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Park.

You can buy bear spray at these locations, but you’ll pay a higher price, not have a chance to get familiar with it (who wants to figure out bear spray on vacation?), and there is a chance they won’t have any available. I’ve noticed that as summer progresses, buying bear spray becomes more difficult.

If you aren’t going to be flying on an airplane, I recommend ordering the Frontiersman bear spray because it shot farther and longer than the others I tested in the video below.

We tested 3 kinds of Bear Spray

Disposable Ponchos

Storms come and go very quickly in the mountains so a disposable poncho found on Amazon is a must. It takes up so little space and only costs a couple of dollars. This small purchase can save you a lot of misery if you get stuck in the rain on a hike or a long way from your car.

Mosquito Repellent

Don’t go on a trip without this. Great moments can be ruined by biting, swarming bugs! I’ve never purchased a can of mosquito spray that didn’t work, but here is a different option. Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion lasts for up to 12 hours and also protects against biting flies and deer flies. If you’ve ever been bitten by one of those, you’ll happily pay the $8 for this protection. A little bit of this lotion goes a long way. Plus I’d rather carry around this small bottle than a big can of aerosol mosquito spray that needs to be reapplied every couple of hours.

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