OUTSIDE Online: How to Properly Carry and Use Bear Spray









Posted on Reddit by: u/gdultrarun



By Dustin Lynx |

This is ‘The Griz’ model of Scat Belt. It comes in several colours.

You know that carrying bear spray is becoming more accepted when you see how fashionable – and practical – the holsters have become! This is ‘The Griz’ model from Scat. I noticed that Mountain Equipment Co-op is now carrying the product and Trail Sports in Canmore, AB. They come in several colours and varieties, enough to fill a display rack. There was a time not too long ago (like last year) when the only choices available were the crappy neoprene holsters that always tore or the bulky webbing and Velcro holsters that looked like one of batman’s utility belt items.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try this belt for a week. I brought it trail running, hiking and even for a walk around town. My first impression is that it looks like gear that you would buy from a running store. It comes in trendy colours and it’s nicely designed. I think that many people have shied away from the traditional police-like holsters and opted not to carry bear spray for a few glaring reasons:

  1. They simply don’t wear a belt to which they can attach the holster, or
  2. Because the swat-team-like holster appears too aggressive, or
  3. They look hideous. I mean bear-geek awful. Lets admit it!

To drive home the fashion point, no one noticed or commented on the Scat Belt when I wore it downtown except for my 14-year-old daughter who was working a shift at a busy ice-cream outlet. Between scoops, she asked me what I was wearing, so I spun around and she said “Oh, it’s a bear spray belt. Cool.” Believe me, if I had stood in line, in her ice cream shop while she was working with a regular holster she would have pretended not to know me. Okay, enough said on that point.

I’m an avid ultra-distance trail runner and I’ve experimented with several different methods of carrying bear spray over the years. So far, my favorite way is with a well-placed pocket on a running vest. I only wear my vest on long runs though. Anything under a few hours and I just wear a belt with a water bottle holder minus the water bottle, so that I can carry the bear spray somewhere. It still flaps around and doesn’t ride well. Oftentimes I leave the belt at home and just carry the spray in a hand.

The Scat Belt carries the bulky bottle in a horizontal tube that is held close to the body near the small of the back, so that when I ran, I didn’t notice it at all. I didn’t have to cinch the belt to tightly like my other homemade rigs nor did I have to keep adjusting the belt from spinning around my waste while in motion. It was perfect! Finally a belt I can use for running. The Griz adds a cell phone pocket and a mesh pocket that nicely fits a single gel – as you can see in the photo.

The only downside to this belt is that it’s not reversible (or flippable, if that makes sense). If it were a holster in the wild west, I’d lose my first shoot-out because I’m not a south paw! The belt seems to be designed to be worn either way, so that you could choose where to put the opening for the holster but if you did that, the pockets would be upside down. So, for the time being, you will have to practice drawing the spray with your left hand, repeatedly, to get the hang of it.

The materials used in the belt are light, sufficiently padded and dry quickly. There are some extra loops where you could conceivably attach another pocket or something but I think it’s fine just the way it is. It’s a minimalist’s dream. I didn’t try it but I could have worn this belt with my hydration belt. I suppose you could also spin the belt around so that the holster rides on one side or the other or up front even.

I encourage everyone who lives, works or plays in bear country to carry bear spray for their protection and the bear’s. This innovative product from Scat will make doing so much easier – and fashionable! Runners: you now have a something that will work without the addition of duct tape and zip ties!




By Wes Siler - Outside 



By Wes Siler - Outside Online

Bear spray is only going to work if you have it with you, and if you can deploy it quickly and surely. But carrying a big, awkward can of pressurized capsaicin can prove challenging, particularly if you’re wearing lighter clothing during the summer. Enter the Scat Belt, which solves this problem elegantly. My girlfriend, Virginia, and I have spent plenty of time in bear country. On camping trips, I’d strap a can to my belt, opposite my handgun, and she’d throw a can of the stuff in one of her pack’s water-bottle pouches. But that meant she always had to carry the pack. She's got an oversized, 10-ounce can of Counter Assault in there, so the belt probably looks bigger than it would with a normal size spray. (Wes Siler) Thing is, the holster I carry is pretty terrible, too, allowing the can to bounce around on my hip as I move and catching brush in tight quarters. One of those things that's so simple and effective, you can't believe no one's thought of it before. Enter the $35 Scat Belt Cub. It's a simple product—just a stretchy neoprene sleeve sewn to what looks like the waist belt off a light technical pack. That puts breathable mesh against your body, while the outside is an abrasion-resistant nylon. It secures at the front with a quick-release buckle. And there’s a Velcro tab that stretches over the top of the can to add security. Just flip the belt over depending on which side you want to be able to draw the spray from. There’s also the $40 Griz, which includes pockets for your phone and keys. But to keep those pockets upright, you can only draw the can with your left hand. Virginia reports that the belt fits comfortably and rides securely, without any bouncing around. I’ve watched her use it on the trail, and have never once seen her fiddling with it. It’s just there, out of the way, in case she ever needs it. Test draws have proven it’s fast and easy to get the can out. The Scat Belt is a simple, cheap product. But also one that now adds an immense amount of safety and peace of mind to our everyday lives. If you live in or plan on visiting bear country, you should get one.



By Forrest Boughner 

Basically, this a belt that holds your bear spray so you don’t have to carry it. Simple enough. Of course, they do have two versions of the belt. The Griz (pictured above) includes a phone holster and a small accessory pocket. The Cub is the bare bones version that is designed to only carry bear spray.

In terms of overall comfort, this belt is not bad. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I stopped noticing that I was wearing it, but it doesn’t bounce and the straps are effectively contoured and cushioned to avoid any discomfort. The ease of access is awesome. I like the idea of having my bear spray attached to my waist without having to worry about it jostling around. Pulling the canister out quickly, which I was a little worried about when I first saw the velcro strap design, turned out to be very easy.

I’m not sure about the phone holster design. It uses an elastic velcro strap, and if you have a phone that is particularly tall, you have to pull the strap very tight to secure it. Under that pressure, I am skeptical about the durability of both the elastic and the velcro. With smaller phones (under 5 inches), this will not be an issue. Still, I would be interested to see a system that places the phone horizontally, opposite the bear spray, instead of vertically next to it.

At first, I was interested in the prospect of using this belt while backpacking. In the past, I have always let my bear spray dangle from my hip belt. If I could have my phone handy for photos and my bear spray secured but easily accessible, that would be great. The Scat Belt is advertised as “fitting comfortably under any backpack,” but unfortunately, there is no way I could get it to work with mine, as my hip belt very much gets in the way. Alas, it looks like I will have to stick with my current system (although maybe this is just the excuse I need to upgrade my embarrassingly old, heavy backpack).

Where I see myself using the Scat Belt a lot is for longer backcountry run/hike days, in combination with a vest or hydration pack. Since it can carry my bear spray and phone, it frees up two vest pockets for more nutrition and hydration, and it is by far the most comfortable way I have found to carry bear spray while still keeping it accessible. In my preparations for the IMTUF 100 in September, I see myself doing a lot of those types of days this summer.

Fortunately, we didn’t end up needing the bear spray that we weren’t carrying on that beautiful August evening. By the time the mama bear crashed out onto the trail to give us a good talkin’ to, we had already passed her by. She stood up for a moment, but then glared disapprovingly at us and ambled back into the bushes. Perhaps, though, I will try to make a habit of bringing my bear spray along more often, at least when I am running alone.





By Emily O'Connor

Before I discovered Scat Belt, my bear spray was buried deep in my backpack along with sunscreen, water bottles, and snacks.

The spray was out of reach and unlikely to protect me from a bear attack. I understood how poor this setup was, but convinced myself how lighting fast I would grab my bear spray if a situation arose.

Luckily I didn’t have to test this lighting-fast theory before I smartened up and got a Scat Belt.

When I took the belt for a spin around the 3-mile trail near my house, it was lightweight, comfortable, and barely noticeable. I tested the Griz model, which has more features than the original Cub version, including a place to carry small personal items such as keys and a phone.

If you need to carry more, the belt fits comfortably under a backpack. Don’t take any chances! The Scat Belt’s ready for whatever awaits you on the trail. $39.95



By Chris McCarthy

The Griz bear-spray belt by Scat is a unique way to have your spray on the quick draw. A full-size canister fits snuggly in the horizontal pouch, there’s a Velcro strap to lock it in (I’d recommend not having the strap attached when out in the woods), and you can wear the belt with the canister on your front or back. In either configuration, the spray can be deployed in a couple seconds, which is essential. The Griz also comes with a pouch for your phone and a small mesh pocket for smaller items. While most hikers carry a pack with straps for a bear-spray canister, the Griz is great for minimalists or trail runners getting deep into bear country.


Danny was one of our early adopters of Scat Belt - he made a nice and informative video - take a look!





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