Some years ago, in Svalbard, I was attacked by a polar bear while I was in my sleeping bag. It was a dangerous situation but I lived to tell the tale. I visit the arctic regularly and I take my camp security VERY seriously, after all, we are sleeping in bear country so it is vital to use a good perimeter tripwire device. I have tried different types of alarm but I never found one that was ideal. Some rely on batteries (which may go flat) or buzzers (which I would probably sleep through). I also don't trust any alarm system that totally relies on electronics, as the possibility of damp and short circuiting is too risky for me. I generally find simple devices are more reliable.

I decided to design and manufacture my own polar bear tripwire alarm - because I knew exactly what was needed - and these are now available to purchase from Arctic Limited.

It has been designed to use standard 12g black powder 'blank' cartridges. There are various brands available for use and in the United Kingdom black powder blank cartridges can be purchased without the need for any form of Licence. (Please don't hesitate to contact us if you are having difficulty locating a supplier).


I set 4 alarms around our camp using 4 corner posts. Each device is set using strong, fine, non-stretching fishing line as a tripwire. If anything passes through the line, it triggers the device and fires the shotgun blank downwards. This produces an instantaneous and very loud bang, very close to the ground. Apart from warning us that an intruder has entered our perimeter border, it can often scare off the offender. Some devices only use flares that fire high into the air before exploding, so if you are in a tent it is difficult to determine which part of the perimeter fence has been tripped.

To be extra secure, I set 2 rows of alarm tripwires around the camp, one above the other, like a fence. One row is about 300mm above ground and the other is about 700mm above ground. This arrangement prevents anything stepping over or crawling underneath the tripwires. In some countries 'screecher' blanks or 'aerial bangs' are available (an example of these blanks can be seen on the 'HOW TO USE' page). In a 'fence' setup these work very well in the top row of alarms (pointing upwards) and a regular blank in the bottom alarm (pointing downwards).

This alarm is strongly recommend because it is simple, self-contained and easy to reload with a fresh cartridge. In fact it is so well made it comes with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE - that every alarm will be free from defects in workmanship or materials on all metal parts for the duration of ownership by the original purchaser.

The device is made by some of the most skilled engineers in England using the best materials for the arctic climate. The casing is machined out of a block of aluminium for lightness and all other components are made out of stainless steel, making it rust resistant, heavy duty and easily capable of withstanding the harsh arctic envoironment - yet it still fits into the palm of your hand. I have designed it to be attached using screws, wire, string, tape or cable-ties. In the high arctic, we take our own lightweight collapsible corner posts with us. We use a number of small aluminium tubes that we fit together to make each of the 4 corner posts (please see video clip on the 'HOW TO ORDER' page). These can be set into ice, tundra, or as a last resort, secured using a large mound of rocks and tether lines. We then use tape or a reuseable cable-tie to attach an alarm to each post. (We also supply the corner posts if required).

Although the Ice Bear Alarm was originally designed for use in severe arctic conditions, it is also perfect for using in other parts of the world where unwelcome visitors may be present. Grizzly bears, Brown bears and other types of wild animals can pose a threat to the security of camps or personal property. Expeditions, safari's and field trips can all benefit from these guards that never sleep. Dangerous wild animals should be given the respect they deserve and encounters with them should be strongly avoided...

...and after my experience, I should know!




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