Years ago, I read of a study of grizzly bear behavior in Alaska, where the researchers experimented with two different kind of small tents, one, the typical tent seen and sold everywhere with bright, multi-colored Day-Glo panels. The second, a tent of a camouflage pattern. As I recall, they pitched these on alternating days on the open tundra about 200 yards from a stream bed well-traveled by grizzlies. Then they watched from afar. Without exception, every passing bear, upon spying the brightly colored tent, came over to investigate, sometimes damaging the tent in the process. Also without exception, every bear that looked up and saw the camo tent, paused briefly, then continued on its way without a second glance. My question is this: Why on earth aren't tentmakers everywhere falling all over themselves trying to manufacture all kinds of camouflage backpacking tents? Speaking for myself, I would have bought one immediately after reading this report had a decent one been available.
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
I favor the bright colors primarily for better visibility to humans, myself included. I have not camped in Grizzly bear country. I'm not convinced that the color of the tent would be that much of a deterrent in a real life situation with human scent all around the campsite.
Bright clothing and equipment, such as tents can be seen for long distances are discouraged. Especially in open natural areas, colors such as day-glow yellow are disturbing and contribute to a crowded feeling; choose earth-toned colors (ie. browns and greens) to lessen visual impact.
On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in reflective tent guylines, which make the tent visible a half mile away in the dark, using my headlamp.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I would also wonder about and tent company "implying" that camo is safer in bear country. That sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen...
I prefer a tent that is the color of granite. It blends in so well with the surroundings that we once had another party pitch their tent within 20 feet of ours, not realizing that the granite color thing in the trees was our tent...grin.
Loc: Portland, OR
Grizzly bear behavior doesn't really have any bearing on the backcountry camping I do. There are no grizzlies where I hike.
Personally, the citation of "a study I read years ago" is not exactly a compelling piece of evidence to me, since there is so much misinformation floating around the internet. I think I'd want to see if this study ever existed before basing my tent purchase on it.
Can you give us any more clues than this about the authors, the study's sponsors, or the publication it appeared in?
OM, I am going the opposite direction as I age. My eyesight is not good, particularly in low light. I loose gray gear! I now am buying colorful gear. Different colored stuff sacks so I know orange means sleeping bag, yellow means clothing, white means personal items and first aid, etc. It helps me set up and take down faster. I bought a pruple titanium spork after having difficulty seeing the gray one. Nothing worse than your dinner needing to be stirred and you cannot find the spoon! Living on the ground, if something is not brigthly colored, I step on it. I am even thinking of going florencent for critical items!
I do not like the Tarptent gray. I have actually bashed into my tent at dusk! Camoflouge would be even worse. A nice true blue would be great, not obnoxious, but very visible.
When I was into mountaineering, you always wanted a bright tent. Finding "home" after a long climb is really important! A bright tent is also easier to spot if you are hurt and need rescue.
I hate the black color of my pack, that otherwise, I love. Black gets really hot; my lunch cheese sticks melt. And I sometimes step on my pack when it is on the ground.
A lot of animals are curious regarding any unusual color, shape or smell in their environment. By the way, since dogs are somewhat color blind, what about bears? Perhaps it was the different color pannels, rather than the colore per se?
When hiking, you WANT the bear to see you from a distance, rather than startle him. That is why the bear bells, or other means of making noise while you hike. I would not want a bear to be walking near my tent, and all of a sudden realize what it is and freak out. Rather have him approach from a distance with curiosity and a bit of caution.
A lot of animals are curious regarding any unusual color, shape or smell in their environment. By the way, since dogs are somewhat color blind, what about bears? Perhaps it was the different color pannels, rather than the colore per se? ...
Bears are omnivorous and berries often make up a significant part of their diet. Seeing in color would be a substantial evolutionary advantage compared to dogs which hunt animals and need to see movement primarily.