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How to Keep Raccoons Away While Camping

Nothing offers a more relaxing getaway than going on a camping trip in the great outdoors. Free from the daily stresses, camping lets you sleep under a million stars and soak up Mother Nature’s sights and sounds. But, often, raccoons can cause a world of trouble.

These sneaky backcountry bandits move through the night’s shadows to steal your belongings and food. Like stealthy ninjas, raccoons swoop silently and unseen to pull off a heist and magically disappear without rustles. 

There’s no way you can install laser beam security technologies at your campsite, so you’ll have to find other ways to scare them off.  

Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to help you experience a stress-free and memorable camping escapade free from these cute and not-so adorable creatures.

Choose the Right Campsite

The best way to keep raccoons and other animals away from your campground is to select an ideal place to set up your camp. 

And that means you should know where raccoons and other animals prefer to make their home.

Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing a campsite.

  • Wooded spots are ideal homes for raccoons, snakes, bears, mosquitoes as well as other types of insects.
  • Water is attractive to raccoons, bears, mosquitoes, and snakes.
  • Rocky areas, leaf piles, fallen trees, and piles of locks may not be a raccoon haven, but they are friendly to insects and snakes.

While picking a campsite, you should also check out these suggestions and tips.

  • Choose an open, flat area with little to no grass so that you can keep the bugs and snakes away. Additionally, an open area will protect if a raccoon or other creature wanders in. Areas that are enclosed can often make them feel trapped, ultimately causing aggression.
  • There should be a nearby water source, but far enough to keep the raccoons from ransacking your campsite. Ideally, the water source should be 200 feet away from your campground.
  • Find a site at a great distance from the hiking trails since animals, like humans, use them too.
  • Make sure that there are trees near the area so that you can hang your garbage bags, backpacks, and cooler.
  •  A spot with a little elevation is ideal in case it rains, as it helps keep the moisture away.

Secure Your Food

Don’t let their charming looks deceive you! Although they look cute and docile, they are quite clever when it comes to scouring food. 

If you don’t secure your goodies, they can quickly ruin your camping escape by ravaging, ransacking as well as destroying your stuff. 

One of the most effective ways to keep these bandits out of our campground is to ensure that all your food is properly stored away.

To effectively secure your food, buy a lockable cooler, bear canister, or a food locker. With these food storage options, you’re making it extremely hard for the raccoons to find or access your food.

After storing your food with a locker or canister, put it inside your car’s trunk or RV. That way, you are making sure that these creatures have no access to your food.

If you’re venturing into an offbeat spot where vehicles can’t access, you may want to keep your food around 7 feet above the ground. And, please, for your own sake, do not store food inside your tent. The last thing you want to happen to see a hungry raccoon, or even worse, a large bear waking you up, looking for some food.

Not only is it aggravating, but it’s supremely dangerous as well. While raccoons are usually harmless towards people, some of them have rabies. And, if they are provoked, they are known to be rather aggressive.

Avoid Scented Toiletries

Raccoons have a great sense of smell. Even from afar, they can smell if there’s something fragrant or foreign in their terrain. 

So, leave all your scented beauty products at home. Instead, bring unscented toiletries. Even though they won’t gulp down your fruit-scented shampoo, its smell will surely attract and entice them. Also, don’t forget to pack up your toiletries as you do with your snacks and food.

And when you brush your teeth, avoid spitting into the bushes. Trust us, the minty smell from the toothpaste will draw raccoons to your campground.

Build a Smelly Barrier for Raccoons

Raccoons utterly dislike the scent of chili pepper. So, to keep them away from your tent, buy some chili pepper and sprinkle it generously around the campground.

Don’t have chili pepper? Alternatively, you may also use dried hot pepper, ground pepper, or cinnamon. Be sure to reapply your anti-raccoon barrier when it rains because it essentially washes away the smell. Additionally, reapply the barrier every other day to make it as potent as it can be.

Don’t Throw Your Garbage Into the Campfire

Never burn your garbage on the campsite. Not only is it terrible for the environment, but it also leaves residue that might smell tempting to the animals. Instead of burning them, tie them up in a sturdy garbage bag and dispose of them properly in the designated garbage bins. And, don’t leave food on the picnic table or the ground. Raccoons and other animals can smell them from far away and will surely come looking for these scraps.

Create a Raccoon Repellent

There are plenty of industrial raccoon repellents on today’s market, including motion sensors and sprays. But, why buy one when you can easily make a homemade raccoon deterrent? You might not know it, but there’s an effective raccoon repellent in your laundry room – fabric softener sheet.

Amazingly, fabric softeners can be used to keep these nighttime scourers away, as they don’t like the scent. Furthermore, the can perfectly masks the smell of food. So, keep your fabric softener sheets wherever you can, such as your sleeping bags, backpack, and tent.

Make a Little Noise

Raccoon, as with most animals, don’t like sound. If ever they enter your campsite, try yelling or clapping your hands. Normally, claps and yells would do the trick. It’s also worth noting that the sound of people chatting could keep them away.

Another thing you should consider is to leave your radio playing the whole night as you sleep. Just make sure to keep the music and sounds down to a minimum. The noise may keep these animals away from your campsite, but your neighbors and fellow campers won’t enjoy their experience if the sound is too loud.

Bring a Flashlight

Raccoons are essentially nocturnal, with fairly poor eyesight. If a raccoon gets too close to your campsite or tent, shine your flashlight on them. Naturally, these bandits will scramble their way to their safe haven.

Don’t Approach a Raccoon

In general, raccoons are harmless. But, they might attack you if they see you as a threat. And, remember, some of them have rabies.

If ever you notice a raccoon that appears aggressive or sick, reach out to the ranger and let the experts handle the situation.

Hide Your Shiny Objects Before You Go to Sleep

It’s not just the food that draws these bandits. For some reason, they really love shiny objects. Silverware, accessories, phones, camera systems, or anything that has metal on it or flashes can grab the attention of the raccoons. Nobody knows why they are attracted to metals that shimmer, but it could be their curiosity, mating rituals, or desire for water. So, leave these kinds of objects either in your closed vehicle or tent.

Final Thoughts 

Don’t let these sneaky bandits ruin your camping getaway and ransack your supplies. For a smoother and raccoon-free camping experience, hide the things that may entice them from visiting your campsite as well as employ the techniques shared above.

If, however, these animals break your barrier, try to use non-confrontational ways to scare them off. If everything else fails, grab a stick and gently push them away from your campsite.