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  1. #1
    Lnj's Avatar
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    Default I had a random thought this morning...

    I , along with many hikers here, have and love Dr. Bronners Peppermint soap. I originally bought it for hiking, and then due to the yummy smell, thought better of it and have just been using it at home instead. I got the unscented stuff for the trail.

    My thought, while showering of course, was... for those of you who still use the peppermint soap, or any soap at all really, but especially the peppermint soap, on the trail... Has anyone been lurked at by a bear while splash bathing?

    It occurred to me that this scent would certainly attract bears and/or any other wildlife that like peppermints and even if you did hang ALL your smellables, including your soap, what do you do if you have found your perfect little patch of privacy somewhere and your bucket or squirt bottle of water and are trying to freshen up a bit before hanging your bear bag and putting on your cleanest version of dry clothes for the night... and you feel like you are being watched, so you look for a peeper in the trees only to find a bear watching you, or worse yet APPROACHING??

    Has that ever happened to anyone? I would love to hear the story if it has.
    " Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. "

  2. #2
    Clueless Weekender
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    The idea behind using peppermint soap - and it's controversial whether it helps - is that peppermint grows wild in bear country, and bears don't eat it. The soap, therefore, shouldn't smell like food to a bear. And the hiker smells like human, which to most bears means DANGER!

    The one time I saw a bear approaching, she hadn't seen me. I shouted, "Hi, Bear!" and she scooted! Any other time I've seen a bear, they've already started running by the time I spotted them.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  3. #3
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    I've used the peppermint dr B for several years with no bear issues.....I buy it in bulk and use it at home as well. Don't try using it for toothpaste...I made that mistake....yuck! I recently bought the unscented for my Colorado hike....I usually sleep with my food so the peppermint probably doesn't matter.....just my $.02....


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4

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    What about lavender sented soap?

  5. #5
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    using any kinda of soap in the woods is kinda dumb

  6. #6
    Registered User eabyrd1506's Avatar
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    Use ivory for hand washing but then I have to handle contact lenses

  7. #7
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Well - Bears are clearly opportunistic meaty scavengers - and peppermint has absolutely NOTHING to do with mammals... I understand there is some confusion here, but I dont get the premise for the thread.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  8. #8
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    using any kinda of soap in the woods is kinda dumb
    Well that will make you popular in a bad way.... just saying.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  9. #9
    Registered User theinfamousj's Avatar
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    Bears want nothing to do with peppermint. That isn't why they are attracted to toothpaste (aka bear candy). It is the other components of toothpaste they find enticing, not the mint. Mint is a weed and they don't eat it. They don't care.

    But if you do want to feed a bear leafy yums, black bears are big fans of cabbage. Or at least so sayeth the bear keeper at Grandfather Mountain.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    using any kinda of soap in the woods is kinda dumb

    Most of the time I don't use it but it comes in handy sometimes...like when you need to wash your Diva Cup and don't want to boil it in your cook pot...or when you have GI distress and need to clean real good to prevent chafing...or you unexpectedly have access to a shower.

    Lnj, I've seen bears attracted to toothpaste and cooking odors but never soap, lotion, or balm. I used a DIY, emollient cream on my lips, skin, and feet on a recent hike that contains beeswax, coconut oil, sweet orange oil, etc., and did not have any problems.

  11. #11
    Clueless Weekender
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    using any kinda of soap in the woods is kinda dumb
    People like you are why I always wash my hands after checking out a register book.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    People like you are why I always wash my hands after checking out a register book.
    i don't touch registers. your point?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by theinfamousj View Post
    Bears want nothing to do with peppermint. That isn't why they are attracted to toothpaste (aka bear candy). It is the other components of toothpaste they find enticing, not the mint. Mint is a weed and they don't eat it. They don't care.

    But if you do want to feed a bear leafy yums, black bears are big fans of cabbage. Or at least so sayeth the bear keeper at Grandfather Mountain.
    Bears are pretty much attracted to unusual (to them) odors, not just things they think are food . If you smell a strange smell in your house....you will investigate it too. Even duct tape and lithium batteries have been proven to attract attention of bears.

  14. #14
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    using any kinda of soap in the woods is kinda dumb
    i agree. never even thought of carrying soap, but i do carry hand sanitizer.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  15. #15
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    I regularly use both the bar and liquid Dr Bronners's pure castille soaps in Hemp Citrus, Hemp Eucalyptus, Hemp Lavender, and Hemp Peppermint. The one I have the most familiarity with on and off trail is the Hemp Peppermint which I use as a body, hair, and laundry wash. I'll occasionally brush my teeth with it. I like the Peppermint and Eucalyptus varieties for their "wake up bright eyes and shine" aromatherapy effect. Well beyond the natural fragrances of specific types I like the moisturizing effects of the coconut, hemp, jojoba, olive, palm and tocopherol(Vit E) oils.

    I'm not accustomed to carrying it onto the trail but will include a 2 oz bottle in a resupply box for in town use. 2 oz isn't much and even after a shower entirely washing the trail grime off my body and out of my hair and doing a load of laundry I usually still have about 1/2-1 oz left over. In other words, I feel I don't over apply the fragrance. I've never had a problem in brown or black bear territory attributed to either the Hemp Peppermint or Hemp Eucalyptus liquid soap versions. If I do carry on trail it does get protected from bears in all brown bear areas and where mandated or with known human/black bear issues. It should be noted I vastly tend to camp away from others at unestablished campsites applying strict LNT Principles. I don't sleep how or where the vast majority of backpackers do. There is a reason why bears come back to the same places having the same behavior contributing to so called "bear problems" .... PROBLEMATIC HUMANS FREQUENTLY EXHIBITING PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR CONTRIBUTING TO OR CREATING PROBLEMATIC PLACES IN AN IGNORANT SELFISH STATE OF MIND!

    On trail I don't allow myself to get egotistical or overly proud about how grimy or raunchy or unhygienic I can let myself become. Instead a simple washing while wearing in warm rain, in a large river, or away from smaller water sources and a dip under a waterfall or in a lake using no soaps scrubbing down with a microfiber ditty cloth does it for me. In town is where I really get cleaned up. Less need for soaps on trail too since I keep hair short including trimming armpits pre hike. Yeah, I do it.

    I'll increasingly make my own home made bug juice made from essential oils which include citronella, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, tea tree, geranium, oregano, lavender, and peppermint in an almond oil or glycerin base too. It's a moisturizer, bug repellent(has to be applied more often and the ingredients get changed depending on what I'm repelling) and fragrance too so less or no need for masking fragrances in soap.

    Also, I regularly carry Bert's Bees Lip Balm that usually contains peppermint and other ingredients that can have a mild fragrance which can be used to offset hiker funk. Best of all no one knows since I'm not running around the woods smelling like some artificially fragrant Pumpkin Spice scented candle.

  16. #16
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    A few DROPS of DR.B peppermint from an tiny visene dropper really feels refreshing to wipe down with....especially your face....refreshing...~.5 oz lasts a few weeks including washing pot a few times....


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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Bears are pretty much attracted to unusual (to them) odors, not just things they think are food . If you smell a strange smell in your house....you will investigate it too. Even duct tape and lithium batteries have been proven to attract attention of bears.
    I've read data studies on this and was surprised to read that the researchers found that the bug repellent had teeth punchers in it! Since then I've not used it. When required I put my long sleeve and head net on!
    There's no telling what can entice a bears curiosity.

  18. #18

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    No bears, but I got mugged by a herd of ponies in Grayson Highlands one morning while brushing my teeth. I popped the lid off my toothpaste and like a cartoon, every grazing pony immediately popped its head up and looked at me...then sauntered over. It was quite the scene.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    People like you are why I always wash my hands after checking out a register book.
    Haha...yep.

  20. #20

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    Just a thought - everyone here is pinging on the peppermint, what about the #1 ingredient (after water) - COCONUT OIL. It's saponified, of course, but how much that matters to a bear is beyond my knowledge.

    Stuff like this is the reason I try to be aware of any attractant scents I put in the air, but I'm not OCD like some folks (ex: changing your clothes) before I get into my tent and chum the air with Mountain House Lasagna burbs all night.

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