Can Raccoons Open Zippers and Get Into Tents?

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Raccoons are probably the last species you’d be afraid of when you’re camping in the woods. As a camper, you’re probably bear aware, but many other forms of wildlife can also mess with your stuff when you pitch your tent in their natural habitat, like raccoons, for instance. Can they open zippers and get into your tent?

Raccoons can potentially open zippers and get into campers’ tents, but that’s not a general occurrence. They’re not known for attacking tents, but they might do so if they smell human food inside. Some campers also claim to have seen them unzip daypacks

If a raccoon sneaks into your tent, then having your food stolen is the last of your worries. A raccoon bite can potentially lead to rabies and some other dangerous diseases. Keep reading this article to learn how to keep these animals away from your tent and campsite. 

How To Keep Raccoons Outside Your Tent

Raccoons aren’t violent creatures. In the rare instances where they do enter tents, it’s not because they’re interested in harming campers. They’re just looking for food, and human food smells elite to raccoons. 

How can you keep these dextrous little creatures out? 

Raccoons only care about your food, so the best way to keep them out is to store food outside the tent. You can still keep it safe by storing it in hard-case containers that they can’t open up. Also, zip your tents from bottom to top so that the raccoons can’t reach your tent’s zippers so easily.

In addition to storing your food outside the tent, there are many other effective remedies for added protection against raccoons. For instance, raccoons aren’t a fan of pungent smells, and that’s why store-bought raccoon-deterrents smell so bad. 

If you don’t want to stink up your tent, try DIY tricks like scattering spices around the tent or shoving mothballs under the sheets. 

However, if a raccoon is hungry enough, it might fight through every smell to get to that delicious-smelling human food. So, the best way to keep them outside your tent is not to have any food inside. 

Tips for Keeping Your Campsite Raccoon-Free

Besides sneaking into tents to steal food, raccoons are also notorious for scavenging active campsites to find tidbits to eat. Follow these tips if you don’t want to see them anywhere near your camping spot, let alone inside your tent.

When it comes to avoiding raccoon encounters on your campsite, everything has to do with food. How you store, eat and throw away food makes all the difference in how attractive your camp is to raccoons. 

Keep Your Campsite Clean

You might think throwing a banana peel somewhere around the campsite isn’t a big deal, but its scent could be enough to attract a raccoon. Make sure you make no compromises on cleanliness during camping if you don’t want to see raccoons anywhere near the campground, especially when it comes to spills or food scraps. 

Sweep the inside of your tent regularly and scan the campsite every now and then for any remains or empty food containers thrown around the area. Don’t leave dirty dishes lying around when you go to bed, as they can also attract these unwelcome customers at night. 

Bring Raccoon-Safe Food Containers

Setting your food outside the tent isn’t the end of your raccoon worries. It might keep them outside your tent, but not your campsite. Make sure you store all your food in sturdy containers that are shut tight.

Some viable storage solutions include bear boxes, a bear-proof cooler, and lockable containers.

You can also keep all of your food supplies locked inside your vehicle if it’s parked nearby. 

Use Odor-Proof Bags

Raccoons have a sharp sense of smell, and they can smell human food supplies from far. 

Thankfully, there are odor-proof bags that will not only contain your food supplies but also their scents. Any airtight bag should do the trick, so store your food in those and lock it inside raccoon-safe containers for added protection.  

Keep Your Garbage Sealed

Your food scraps might be “trash” to you, but not to raccoons. Your chances of having a raccoon encounter on campgrounds have a lot to do with how well you manage your trash. As everything rots in the garbage, the smells get even stronger, making it more likely for hungry raccoons to catch on and stop by. 

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Your best bet against this risk is to store all your garbage in airtight bags or specialized raccoon-proof trash containers. You can also get this Rubbermaid Action Packer️ 35 Gal Lockable Storage Bin from, as it has lockable latches and a lifetime warranty. 

Whichever type of garbage container you choose, make sure you empty it regularly.

Bring Your Dog

I saved the best for last — dogs! Raccoons aren’t fans of loud barking noises as it signals predator danger. Having your dog accompany you on your camping adventures can significantly reduce your chances of dealing with a raccoon problem on campgrounds. 

Besides barking, raccoons are also scared of loud noises in general. If one manages to sneak into your tent, dropping something heavy on the floor should be enough to scare it away. 

Beware of Other Wildlife

Raccoons are annoying, but they’re not the only species you should be careful of while camping. The biggest threat is bear encounters, so make sure you’re well-read on being bear aware before you set out.

The tips I’ve shared above won’t just keep you safe from raccoons but also animals like coyotes, boars, bears, rats, and more. That’s because your food is what attracts them all. You’re less likely to attract any of them if you’re careful about how you eat, store, and dispose of your food. 

More info: related article about wildlife:
Does Bear Spray Work on Coyotes?


If you’ve learned one thing from this article, it’s that cleanliness is key to avoiding attracting any unwanted animals lingering around your campgrounds. 

No matter how well-prepared you are for raccoons, prevention is always better than cure. Make sure you research your campsite well before pitching a tent. Some patches on forest grounds are known for housing raccoon habitats, so ask the authorities and steer clear of any such locations. 

Have fun!

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