I say hike your own hike.

Pepper Spray has worked for many and with prices hitting $20 it would seem cheap for everyone out in predator country to have some. There would be shelf life, quick access, and storage issues (and situations where it wouldn't work) to be mindful of.

Handguns work for many too as noted in the article. No shelf life, work in tents, and in the wind. Can be used with one hand. Expensive and not suitable for every location by law or by certain people.
I have my Boy Scouts carry pepper spray on hikes since we have occasional grizzly, wolf and cougar threats in our part of the state. The spray needs to be out and in the front of the group and carried by many people or you have disaster like the NOLS group in Alaska had. Guns would be unsuitable by Scouting rules, and while some scouts (and leaders) could be responsible enough-----

Rifles have more power but take two hands to use and are hard to manage when doing other activities. The 375 Ruger I mentioned is the inexpensive equal to the old 375 H&H used for African big game. If a big bear needed shooting, that would be a good one.