The Best Bug Repellents of 2023
A boat is a great investment that should bring joy, fun memories, and epic tales of conquests and escapades under normal circumstances. Whatever the motive for being on that boat, it is never to be invaded by pirates.
Once they take over the boat, you are at their mercy, and your luxury cruise suddenly changes to a fight for survival. The worst kind of pirate is the one who has no demands but just wants to make your life miserable. They stay until you give up on the cruise because it is no longer fun and go home thinking I could have taken them.
Today we are going to be a bit proactive and take the fight to them before they attack. I’m sure by now you have figured out who the pirates are. Those mosquitos, fleas, ticks, chiggers, biting flies, gnats, leeches, and every other unwelcome bug even thinking about spoiling our good time.
We shall be reviewing the best bug repellents currently on the market.
1. OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellant VIII
This bug repellant has 25% DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide), which is the active ingredient. For nearly half a century, DEET has been used as the go-to bug repellant straight from the army.
It is sprayed dry, and you don’t have to worry about dealing with greasy or oily patches in your skin or clothes. This bug repellant is friendly to your skin and clothes and will not damage your clothes.
It drives away mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, biting flies, gnats, leeches, and many other biting insects. This leaves you with the comfort you deserve and, in the process, protects you from possible infection with Zika, Dengue, or West Nile Viruses that they are known to carry. It is a product of SC Johnson, a well-established American company in Racine, Wisconsin.
The company has a massive global presence and has grown significantly since its establishment in 1886 to run more than 100 internationally recognized brands. They are so proud of their products’ integrity and legitimacy that they have posted all their ingredients on the company website.
• Can be applied directly to clothes and skin without damage
• Not oily or greasy
• Provides comfort away from bites
• Protects from potential diseases
• Manufactured by a reputable, trusted company
• DEET, the active ingredient in the repellent, can be an irritant to some people
2. Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller
This repellent is compact, lightweight, and with the improved ergonomics, you can pretty much take it anywhere you want to go, carrying your 15 feet protection radius with you.
It does not impose at all with the new quiet ignition, accessory mounting system, no spraying required to your skin or clothing, no discernible scent, and no smoky candles; you almost forget it exists.
It has an attractive design with a green exterior portraying a lustrous, stylish look that merges into most outdoor surroundings during your fishing, camping, and hunting expeditions.
You turn it on via a switch at the front. Then there is another button to ignite the heat source. This will burn the repellent mat, keeping the bugs at bay for up to 12 hours. Refills are available that can give you between 12 to 300 more hours. The simplicity makes it easy to use and durable.
Besides having no scent, this repellent is DEET-free. Instead, it uses Allethrin, a less potent insecticide making it ideal for the more sensitive people who get irritations from DEET.
The MR300 comes with three repellent mats and one fuel cartridge. These repellent mats are heat activated to create an invisible, scent-free zone of protection from mosquitos.
Thermacell, as an entity, has over 20 years’ experience in overhauling how the world fights mosquitoes and other insects. They pioneered the portable, heat-based energy source before the lithium-ion batteries while liberating themselves from the need to use power cords. This is how we ended up with a fuel cartridge as the heat source.
• Has no scent
• It is durable
• The Allethrin does not seem to be felt by certain flying insects like moths and bees.
3. Natrapel 12 Hour Picaridin Eco-Spray Insect Repellent
It is 20% Picaridin formula mimics a compound called piperine usually found in black pepper. It repels and deters insects, preventing them from sensing or recognizing their target; you.
The Natrapel is non-greasy and allows you to spend the whole day outdoors without the need to reapply as it repels mosquitos and ticks for more than 12 hours.
It is family-friendly and can be used on anyone, even pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. They have approval for children over two months.
It is safe on your gear and your clothing, so you need not worry about damage to your clothes, the fishing line, plastics, etc. The Eco Spray delivery system releases a fine spray regardless of the angle, and there is no rubbing needed.
It is a product of the Adventure-Ready Brands founded in 1973, whose headquarters are in the heart of the white mountains in Littleton, New Hampshire.
They are famous for established brands in first aid kits, outdoor survival products, insect bite treatment, and well-known insect repellants such as Ben’s and now Natrapel. Their vision is to enjoy the outdoors in every condition.
You can step outside with the confidence that you are protected from disease-carrying insects like ticks and mosquitoes that may have Lyme disease, Zika virus, Malaria, Chikungunya, and Dengue fever, yellow fever, and West Nile virus.
• 12-hour protection from insect bites and diseases
• Whole family-friendly
• Does not harm gear, equipment, and clothes
• Easy to apply fine spray
• The sprayer does not give an even mist but rather larger drops
4. Thermacell Bristol Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield Lantern
It creates a 15-foot protection zone with no open flame, and no smoky candles, no smell, and no assembly required, making it the perfect repellant as it frees you to concentrate on other things. This protection zone lasts for up to 12 hours, during which period you are safe from bites, discomfort, and exposure to diseases.
The decorative brushed bronze casing makes it an attractive feature to have on your deck or during your outdoor events, especially since it also doubles as a lantern. It actually elevates your décor even as it keeps the insects at bay.
It is DEET-free and does not need to spray anything that may cause irritation. Instead, it uses the milder Allethrin, released into the air using the Thermacell fuel-powered technology, where a repellent mat is heated to release the odorless repellant.
It comes in a package containing one patio shield repellent with 12 hours’ worth of refills, three repellent mats, and one fuel cartridge.
It comes with a 1-year warranty.
• Doubles as a lantern
• DEET free
• Beautifully packaged for presentation
• Up to 12-hours protection
• Not applicable to ground insects like ants
5. Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme DEET-free Insect Repellent
Quantum health has been on the market for more than three decades, trying to get the best quality natural ingredients backed by research for their product development. They never tire of investing time and resources to ensure they are ahead of the pack.
They have many supplements and personal care products under their belt and the Buzz Away Extreme insect repellent is one of their recent items.
It comes with a proprietary assortment of botanical essential oils; citronella, geranium, lemongrass, cedarwood, and peppermint. We have natural oils that repel insects like soybean oil- a botanical repellent, citronella oil, which is repellant to mosquitos and geranium oil. They are carried in purified water and plant-based preservatives.
These oils combined to give you a fantastic scent even as they are keeping bugs away. The spray is DEET-free and is tested good for children as per recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, so they can also enjoy the many hours of staying outdoor without worrying about flies, mosquitos, and ticks. It will come in handy during those weekend fishing, camping, and hunting trips.
The Buzz Away Extreme formula is family-friendly as it has no harsh chemicals, toxins, or artificial preservatives, which makes it also environmentally friendly. This does not make this product any less effective than your regular DEET-based products. They see no point in using harsh chemical products to achieve the same results.
• Has a nice fragrance
• Contains botanical essential oils
• Children friendly
• Environmental friendly
• Sprays more like a lotion and needs to be rubbed
Understanding the Components of Your Bug Repellant
It has low inhalation toxicity and has not been known to irritate the skin. Unlike DEET, it doesn’t have a pungent odor. It takes longer to evaporate from the skin than both DEET and IR3535. It will keep repelling bugs long after the other two. In terms of efficiency in repelling bugs, the two tested equally. In essence, since Picaridin performs the same as DEET with less toxicity, it is the better ingredient for the bug repellent.
It is the most widely used bug repellent and is rated as very effective. After numerous tests, it is still considered safe to use, although there have been isolated cases where people complained of rashes, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and headaches.
It is supposed to be used in moderation, at most 30% concentration, because adding the concentration will not necessarily mean better performance. DEET gives an odor and has been known to damage rubber items, plastics, and some clothing accessories like watches and cameras. Despite the shortcomings, it is still the easiest to find.
It can be irritating to the eye, but there is no record of any other adverse effect. It is slightly less effective in terms of performance than the DEET and the Picaridin against mosquitos but was twice as efficient against ticks. It is usually contained in sunscreens and repellents. Since sunscreen is applied more frequently, it is not advisable to have it on your sunscreen because it will be too exposed.
Prevention Is Better Than a Cure
The most effective way to deal with bugs, especially on a boat, is to ensure they don’t get on board in the first place.
Flying bugs are a bit harder to deal with than crawlers. They come and go as they wish, but you can block their flight path by putting barriers such as nets and window panes where possible, so they don’t have a clear route.
Crawlers, on the other hand, can be dealt with comprehensively by regularly cleaning the boat thoroughly and getting them all out. Before you find yourself in that situation, you should invest in a decent boat brush and get the best deals for boat cleaning products from this list so that you get a head start on the bugs.