WTB - Hardened (bear-resistant) all-terrain camper

First question: American or Canadian? Reason I ask is bringing a rifle into Canada is not that easy (yes I am well aware one can smuggle/sneak one in easily enough) if you are an American.

It can be done. Getting caught without the proper permits and such is not a good thing as the Canadian Gov can add you to their version of a no fly list for entry to Canada if one is caught with what the arresting officer/game warden consider an illegal gun. As well if they want to be pricks about it, they can legally seize your rig and assets (doesn't happen often, but can happen). If you are doing Alaska and are an American, I personally would choose a handgun over a rifle. It is unreal how fast a grizzly can move at full run while charging. The guides/people I have done Alaska with all carried handguns for said purpose with the argument being you can pull out and fire a handgun way quicker than lining up a shot with a rifle (I know some ex-military folks who can/would challenge that).

The bear spray and bangers are good idea. Never carried them myself, but lots of people up that way swear by them.

For rodents and such there are sprays designed for autos that deter mice/rats/etc. Mighty Mint comes to mind as well as Captain Phab is another one I have heard of (never used either myself).

Probably a long shot, but wolverines are something to be aware up that way. Rarely sighted (only seen three my entire life in the wild), but they can have an attitude and do serious damage to people/things as well.

And as far as asking said questions here. I have always been under the impression the site is about exploration/travel/overlanding and not just vehicles, so IMHO your questions are totally in scope of what the site exists for.

And not sure you have thought of it, or perhaps already have but in my experience connecting with a local guide/game warden/police department in the area(s) one is going to be traveling to before hand is a world of help. These are the pros who work in the field in that area and most are willing to make some time to respond to an email or three or even take a phone call, as well they are the best resource for cool places "not on the maps". Myself I like to drop off a bottle or print as a thank you, as it's the way I was raised.
American. I checked the import laws for non-citizens/residents regarding rifles and confirmed what is allowed (and what isn't). Not interested in being Rambo--don't need an automatic or semi-automatic, sniper weapon, etc. Also, not going hunting. Will only take guns for the purpose of wilderness safety. For Canada, a rifle is sufficient and generally legal. For Alaska, perhaps a rifle and handgun. Definitely plan on declaring everything if going to Canada. And, again, using a rifle or handgun would be a last resort.

Definitely agree--talking with locals (park rangers, guides, etc.) is a good idea and plan on doing so.
 
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Might I ask why this area and what time of year you plan on going?

Reason I ask is this...

Freeze in, freeze out (fall and spring) changes the terrain in a big way.

Also depending on where one is going a larger LMTV may not make it down a lot of the smaller back roads. And if you have never dealt with tundra or muskeg remember stuff sinks and good luck getting something super heavy out on one's own - the stuff is like quicksand. Something to consider.

While we are on the topic, if you have never been to the region before, black flies and misquotes are a serious pain in the butt up there. Like the skeeter gets this big (holds hand three feet apart). So you may want to also consider some sort of screened in canopy/shelter/gazebo if you want to enjoy the outdoors.

As well keep in mind, stuff that is easily fixed down south is not so easily fixed up north. Parts are not readily available, skilled mechanics know what they know and that is about it. Carry spare parts, carry at least two full size spares. Your A/C goes, ya may end up living without it. Your heater goes, everyone will know how to fix that. The big three are still the auto of choice up that way with Toyota, Subara, Nissan up next.
  • Reason for going - nature, adventure, relaxation, more.
  • Regarding temperature/season - You're absolutely right.
  • I've thought about tundra and muskeg. While I mentioned LMTV or FMTV as possibilities, I've also considered vehicles with low ground pressure, such as tracked vehicles (e.g. BV206, etc.). Glad you brought that up, because it is definitely a consideration.
  • Regarding flies and mosquitos - Definitely aware of how bad it can be. In fact, you can watch some videos on YouTube by guys who have trekked across parts of Canada and in almost all cases, they mention many times how much they were bitten. Best to bring mosquito suits and other protection.
  • Regarding repairs, you're absolutely right. Repairability, durability, having spares, etc. are definitely important considerations. And, generally speaking, the more simple the vehicle, the better. While I want something hardened, I don't need a refrigerator, microwave oven, stove, TV, etc. or stove. Don't need cruise control, A/C, or heat (i.e. don't need them built-in the vehicle.)
 
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Photomike

White Turtle Adventures & Photography
You've already gotten some good responses but I want to toss in my two cents worth here. I've lived in Canada all my life and I've lived outdoors for large majority of it. I have hiked in the mountains, rafted, kayaked, cycled, camped and just put anything else you can think of in the outdoors. I can tell you I've done that in bear country and I have never had an issue. Now I'm not saying that you won't have an issue but I think if you prepare for all possibilities you're going to end up living inside of a nuclear hardened bunker. The biggest thing is to keep a clean campsite and camper (dump garbage as much as possible). Keep a can of beer spray or some beer bangers close by 24/7. Watch out for signs of any wildlife in the area. We have had bears walk through our campgrounds on many occasions and just ignore the people in tents and Rvs. In glacier National park one of the members of our party slept in a hammock and woke up in the middle of the night to find their hammock swinging back and forth and a grizzly underneath it walking away from them. There are lots of stories about the horrors of bears but honestly for what you would have to prepare for it just gets to the point of not being practical.

I myself currently use a van that I've camperized. But I've also used a motorhome and a truck camper. Never once have I felt any less safe in these then I do at home. Now if we want to talk about people that's another thing. I have moved more times because of problems with people then I ever have because of problems with animals. Yes a regular camper could be broken into by bears but honestly for all the people that camp and for the number of actual bear attacks it is extremely rare for this to happen.

Find yourself the type of unit that you want, that's going to work for you, and get out there and enjoy. I would be more concerned about repairability and comfort than any animals.
 
You've already gotten some good responses but I want to toss in my two cents worth here. I've lived in Canada all my life and I've lived outdoors for large majority of it. I have hiked in the mountains, rafted, kayaked, cycled, camped and just put anything else you can think of in the outdoors. I can tell you I've done that in bear country and I have never had an issue. Now I'm not saying that you won't have an issue but I think if you prepare for all possibilities you're going to end up living inside of a nuclear hardened bunker. The biggest thing is to keep a clean campsite and camper (dump garbage as much as possible). Keep a can of beer spray or some beer bangers close by 24/7. Watch out for signs of any wildlife in the area. We have had bears walk through our campgrounds on many occasions and just ignore the people in tents and Rvs. In glacier National park one of the members of our party slept in a hammock and woke up in the middle of the night to find their hammock swinging back and forth and a grizzly underneath it walking away from them. There are lots of stories about the horrors of bears but honestly for what you would have to prepare for it just gets to the point of not being practical.

I myself currently use a van that I've camperized. But I've also used a motorhome and a truck camper. Never once have I felt any less safe in these then I do at home. Now if we want to talk about people that's another thing. I have moved more times because of problems with people then I ever have because of problems with animals. Yes a regular camper could be broken into by bears but honestly for all the people that camp and for the number of actual bear attacks it is extremely rare for this to happen.

Find yourself the type of unit that you want, that's going to work for you, and get out there and enjoy. I would be more concerned about repairability and comfort than any animals.
Thanks. I recognize the likelihood of a bear attack is relatively low and that there are a number of things I can do to reduce it further. These include using a bear fence, keeping a clean camp, staying away from bear cubs and feeding grounds, etc. And, even if a bear approaches, it might just be curious and not attack. I'm guessing these points can also be said for moose.

This said, an extra measure of safety might not necessarily be a bad thing. While I don't want to become paranoid and/or camp in fear, having a safer shelter to sleep in does provide some insurance in case of an attack.

I also want to be realistic about how well I will keep a clean camp. While I will do my best, there could be one or two times when I continue wearing in my camper the same clothing I wore when eating 100 yards away. Or, I might not realize that something in the camper is giving off an odor that attracts animals (could be toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.,).

Lastly, while I initially focused on a bear-resistant camper, I now realize it would be better for me to consider other animals, such as moose, muskoxen, wolves, cougars, etc., as well. It's also important for me to mention the possibility that I might camp alone.

Despite these comments, I want to continue to thank you and everyone else for your responses. These are all very important and help me better prepare.
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
Having woken up by a bear standing up against my truck while I slept on the toolbox in Cibola NF 20+ years ago, I don't question wanting to sleep inside. I slept in the truck the rest of that night! I must admit, the first lines of defense against bears had not been adhered to very well.
 

bri

Adventurer
I have had bears sniffing around my tent numerous times while I was inside a 2 person tent. I have bears in the yard around my house regularly. Granted, these are max 450lb black bears, but I have been around some grizzlies. All of a sudden you can smell your last meal on my own breath.

Funny advice here! If a grizzly wants in, it is getting in.... especially if there is food inside and you are not there. Especially if it is habituated to humans and what we bring.

If it tears down the door going in, it is going to tear out a window to get out.

I think you might be just a tad paranoid (or overly wise) to worry about clothes you were wearing while you were eating.

I would just get a hard sided camper and never look back. You will be fine. LOL. IMO, in a high quality hard side, you will be as safe as being in a house. You will pay through the nose though.

The stuff about toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, etc. is largely a myth associated with horribly habituated bears and people that use mega scented crap. You are better off without these anyway. I would not recommend taking scented items on any camping trip. Just hang all your left overs in a bearproof container, along with other perishables in a tree using the tried and true technique and you will sleep snug as a bug.

YMMV!!!!

;-)

Oh, and you sayit needs to survive one or more attacks..... are you sure about that requirement? I am of the frame of mind, in that case I would be one and done.
 

jadmt

ignore button user
I have been camping in bear country for some where around 60 years (I am 63 and have been camping as long as I remember) I have 0 worry of cats, wolves, wolverines and maybe 5% worry about bears....snakes now snakes I afraid of especially the 2 legged ones.
 
I don't see the problem. If your are in a hardened shelter, you will sleep that much better. I once worked for a guy that said when it comes to industrial safety, it's not safe until it's impossible. This applies to lots of areas.
No one is saying it's a "problem" - they're pointing out that his fear is completely irrational and unfounded.

If he wants to seal himself behind 10 tons of armor at night because he's afraid winnie the pooh might try to murder him, then he's free to do so. He'd likely be better spending that money on therapy though.
 

Photomike

White Turtle Adventures & Photography
I also want to be realistic about how well I will keep a clean camp. While I will do my best, there could be one or two times when I continue wearing in my camper the same clothing I wore when eating 100 yards away. Or, I might not realize that something in the camper is giving off an odor that attracts animals (could be toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.,).

Lastly, while I initially focused on a bear-resistant camper, I now realize it would be better for me to consider other animals, such as moose, muskoxen, wolves, cougars, etc., as well. It's also important for me to mention the possibility that I might camp alone.
I was hoping that this thread was actually going to be reasonable but seeing your last two comments I am beginning to think that this may be either a troll posting to pass the time or it is someone that's gone off the deep end with worry and will never leave their room for fear of coming face to face with nature.

A clean camp does not mean that you change your clothes when you're inside versus being outside. It also does not mean that you don't use toothpaste, deodorant, soap etc. I'm not a fan of anything with smells including fabric softener, soaps, deodorant, etc, etc it doesn't get to that point anywhere that I've been in Canada that you can't use it when camping in a vehicle. Hiking I would be more cautious but in a vehicle the smells are going to be a lot more then some nauseating scents. If you don't want smelly soaps, etc, DON'T pack them.

Your last statement is that you should consider other animals such as moose, Muskox, wolves, cougars, etc is pushing it to the extreme. In all my time of living in the bush I have never had an incident with a moose when I was in anything. Sure I know of moose that have broken into structures but that was more from being an accident then a per-mediated attack for goring or for food (Moose don't eat people!). As far as wolves and cougars I've never heard of them breaking into an RV just to get inside to eat the person inside of it, maybe in some Hollywood movie but I live in reality. Muskoxen is one that I've absolutely no experience with but I don't see them standing on the hill watching for tourists coming to town so that they can gore them while they sleep. The really don't have fangs or claws so I think you have pushed it past the point of worry.

Again, like I stated before, I think that it is more important finding a useful vehicle then worrying about all the other cases.

P.S. Before I forget Gophers and ground squirrels cause a lot of injuries each year. You should consider something to protect your ankles before you head out. Wouldn't be good to break an ankle way up north.
 
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Josh Biro

New member
I am interested in buying an all-terrain camper/expedition vehicle that can withstand one or more attacks by grizzly bears. The part of the vehicle that contains the living/sleeping area should protect the occupants during one or more attacks. And, the vehicle should be able to traverse rocky and/or hilly terrain, creeks, etc. in remote areas (mainly in the US and Canada).

One possible vehicle I thought of is an LMTV or FMTV with a habitat at back. The habitat would need to have hardened walls (steel, etc.) -- not thin fiberglass found in standard RV's.

I am interested in purchasing within about a month.

Thanks.

This would do it
 
I have had bears sniffing around my tent numerous times while I was inside a 2 person tent. I have bears in the yard around my house regularly. Granted, these are max 450lb black bears, but I have been around some grizzlies. All of a sudden you can smell your last meal on my own breath.

Funny advice here! If a grizzly wants in, it is getting in.... especially if there is food inside and you are not there. Especially if it is habituated to humans and what we bring.

If it tears down the door going in, it is going to tear out a window to get out.

I think you might be just a tad paranoid (or overly wise) to worry about clothes you were wearing while you were eating.

I would just get a hard sided camper and never look back. You will be fine. LOL. IMO, in a high quality hard side, you will be as safe as being in a house. You will pay through the nose though.

The stuff about toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, etc. is largely a myth associated with horribly habituated bears and people that use mega scented crap. You are better off without these anyway. I would not recommend taking scented items on any camping trip. Just hang all your left overs in a bearproof container, along with other perishables in a tree using the tried and true technique and you will sleep snug as a bug.

YMMV!!!!

;-)

Oh, and you sayit needs to survive one or more attacks..... are you sure about that requirement? I am of the frame of mind, in that case I would be one and done.
Thank you for your response. I agree that, in most cases, if a grizzly wants in, they're getting in.

When it comes to scented items, I don't need them anyways and don't plan on taking.

Will definitely be taking bear-proof containers and hanging food over a tree if possible.

Thanks.
 
No one is saying it's a "problem" - they're pointing out that his fear is completely irrational and unfounded.

If he wants to seal himself behind 10 tons of armor at night because he's afraid winnie the pooh might try to murder him, then he's free to do so. He'd likely be better spending that money on therapy though.
No fear of Winnie the Pooh. More than happy to welcome him into my camp and read some stories together.

That said, I recognize a common response has been that I'm overly concerned about some of the dangers. It's definitely possible this is true. But, again, my goal in posting to the forum Classified > For Sale and Wanted Section > Expedition Vehicles For sale - By ExPo members (*With Price*) was only to indicate I'm interested in buying a somewhat hardened camper and see if any are available. I truly appreciate the valuable information everyone has provided. But. honestly, I just want to see if something is available and possibly make a purchase.
 
I was hoping that this thread was actually going to be reasonable but seeing your last two comments I am beginning to think that this may be either a troll posting to pass the time or it is someone that's gone off the deep end with worry and will never leave their room for fear of coming face to face with nature.

A clean camp does not mean that you change your clothes when you're inside versus being outside. It also does not mean that you don't use toothpaste, deodorant, soap etc. I'm not a fan of anything with smells including fabric softener, soaps, deodorant, etc, etc it doesn't get to that point anywhere that I've been in Canada that you can't use it when camping in a vehicle. Hiking I would be more cautious but in a vehicle the smells are going to be a lot more then some nauseating scents. If you don't want smelly soaps, etc, DON'T pack them.

Your last statement is that you should consider other animals such as moose, Muskox, wolves, cougars, etc is pushing it to the extreme. In all my time of living in the bush I have never had an incident with a moose when I was in anything. Sure I know of moose that have broken into structures but that was more from being an accident then a per-mediated attack for goring or for food (Moose don't eat people!). As far as wolves and cougars I've never heard of them breaking into an RV just to get inside to eat the person inside of it, maybe in some Hollywood movie but I live in reality. Muskoxen is one that I've absolutely no experience with but I don't see them standing on the hill watching for tourists coming to town so that they can gore them while they sleep. The really don't have fangs or claws so I think you have pushed it past the point of worry.

Again, like I stated before, I think that it is more important finding a useful vehicle then worrying about all the other cases.

P.S. Before I forget Gophers and ground squirrels cause a lot of injuries each year. You should consider something to protect your ankles before you head out. Wouldn't be good to break an ankle way up north.
Thank you for your response. My post is serious and not an attempt at trolling to pass time. My intent in posting was simply to indicate I am interested in buying a hardened vehicle, determine if any are available, and make a purchase. I recognize there are many opinions about this and appreciate everyone's feedback. But, ultimately, all I'm trying to accomplish here is to find and buy a vehicle. It's for this reason that I posted in the forum Classified > For Sale and Wanted Section > Expedition Vehicles For sale - By ExPo members (*With Price*) and not elsewhere.

Regarding some of your comments, let me first say I don't think I worded part of my response well and apologize if I misled anyone That is, I don't believe a wolf, cougar, or most of those other animals is going to claw a hole in my camper and eat me. When it comes to these animals, my main concern is about anything they might do (stalking, etc.) when I'm outside the vehicle.
 
This would do it
Thank you. I'll go ahead and take a look at this.
 
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