I've camped in bear country in tents, PU's and TT's for decades. Campgrounds typically post rules for bear country, just follow them. Keeping a clean camp is very important, no food, snacks or remains thereof in the tent. I often cooked on a campfire, but I didn't put it right next to my tent. 100 yards is absurd, why not the next county and drive to the campfire. Bears know what an ice chest looks like so it does no harm to cover it though their sense of smell is what drives them.
To avoid food smells near your tent, you should cook several hundred metres downwind from your campsite. You should also avoid cooking more food than you will eat and be sure to clean your dishes right away. If you must dispose of food waste, be sure to do this well away from the campsite. Don't forget to clean yourself if you feel that you may have gained some food smell as well. A change of clothes is not a bad idea either.
Hate living in the house which is like a box.
So I like Tent Camping.
A lot to converse about, but I'll give you my 2-cents. We camp in bear country all the time and my experience is that bear confrontations are not as common as you may worry about. But bear proof boxes do indicate that bears do come through. We put all food and cooking stuff, charcoal and stove, in the box. Even tooth paste. If a bear spends much time trying to get into your closed up vehicle, the CG has bigger bear problems than normal. That part about cooking far away from your site, hogwash. IMHO
Camping in CA around those black bears is a whole lot different than camping in Grizzly country. In CA, years ago, I had a black bear stick his head in the tent. Clapped my hands and it scarred him off. I doubt that would have happened with a grizzly.
Bears do smell the food. Just be careful and follow the instructions for bears.
In Wyoming, in the National Forest, if it is unsafe to stay in a tent it will be posted "NO TENTS".
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Thank you all for the excellent information and tips. We'll be as well prepared as possible.
Jim - Definitely to the unscented toiletries, and I'm so glad I now know how to use the communal kitchen oven!
We will now plan on putting almost everything in the bear boxes provided. We'll be in national and provincial parks which do provide communal bear lockers but I'm not sure how large they are. Time to make (yet another!) list of what should go in there.
We had a run in with a bear in Yellowstone one night. It went through our site and tried to get into a small motorcycle trailer we had (basically looked like a big cooler I suppose). We were only 15' away in our tent watching through the flap. He went on to ravage out neighbors site.
VERY scary - I would never do anything like that again.
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The bears want your food, not you...follow posted precautions as stated above and don't store food or toiletries inside your vehicle. BTW, they like beer too! You're not likely to encounter them other than while out in the wild,away from the campground, minding their own business.
We live near, camp near, and hunt for black bear here in the southwest. They want our food & drinks and are otherwise shy and not in camp, and we intend to keep them that way. Don't confuse them with the mountain lion, a stalking predator responsible for fatalities in my county.