Friday, May 14, 2010

Bug Repellents for Hiking and Backpacking

”Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.”

OK so finally the nights are starting to get warm now in the Garden State.  Overall that’s great except it also means – BUGS!  Lions, Tigers and Bears my scare the novice backpacker or hiker, but anyone that’s been backpacking for awhile knows that bugs are the ones that can ruin your trip and drive you out of the woods.  I’ve tried a few different repellents, personally I still find DEET works the best.  Spray on seems to the best way to reach various body parts and it keeps you hands from getting sticky.  I have found that some containers leak.  You don’t want leaky bug spray all over your hands or worse spilled in you backpack.  For a while I as putting the container in a plastic zip-lock bag as insurance, but that is a bit of a bother.

This year I’ve been using “REPEL Sportsmen Max pen” which comes in a light weight 14ml tube (weight: about 1.0 ounces).  What I like about this item is that in addition to being an affective repellent –it has a plastic cap over the spray head that clicks tight – no possible leaks.  I got mine at Target but it is also available via Amazon. 

I’ve also tried and still sometimes use disposable wipes / Towelettes that are treated with DEET.  These weigh practically nothing but then you also have the remaining trash to carry out.   Currently I have a box OFF! Deep Woods Towelettes I’ve been using which are 25% DEET. The Ben’s Wipes on the on link below (click on picture) are 30% DEET.

If the bugs are really bad I also have a small bottle of Ben’s 100 (which is actually 98% DEET). This little bottle holds 2 1/2 times more than the REPEL pen – 37 ml (1.25 fl oz) and weighs 1.8 ounces.  It also has plastic cap that slips over the sprayer – so far it has not leaked – but the plastic cap does not “click on” so I’m not feeling it is quite as leak proof as the REPEL pen (click on photo for link).

  An alternate to the REPEL pen is a similar Coleman product – photo below. 






  1. Here's what I've been doing for awhile. I found these 3 1/2 inch high bottles of Kroger brand eyeglass lens cleaner at the grocery store. They are pump spray and have a pretty good cap that hasn't failed me yet. I just fill it up with my favorite bug juice and go.

    I prefer this since buying the big bottle of spray is always cheaper than the little ones.

  2. Chris,
    Excellent idea to save money -just don't clean your lenses with it. the tiny 1.25 oz bottle of Ben's 100 has a spray top that you can unscrew to refill it. That might be a bit saver since the bottle is clearly bug spray.