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10 DEET-FREE NATURAL BUG REPELLENTS TO HELP KEEP YOU BITE-FREE ALL SUMMER LONG

Got 99 problems but a mosquito bite ain’t one. 😎

One downside to warmer weather? Bug bites. Waking up covered with those itchy red welts is enough to make you wish winter lasted all year (OK, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but still). Unfortunately, a lot of bug repellents give us that sticky, I-just-doused-myself-in-chemicals feeling.

Many parents are leery of the ingredient DEET that can be found in some mainstream bug repellents, as they are worried about the potential dangers and side effects. To learn more about this controversial ingredient, we spoke with Dr. Jeannette Graf, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

She tells Best Products, “Bug sprays that contain DEET have been considered the most effective repellents for years, and endorsed by the World Health Organization. The ingredient is safe and long-lasting.” Unfortunately, however, sprays containing DEET can be oily and irritating to people with very sensitive skin, and children are sometimes turned off by sprays with this ingredient, according to Graf.

DEET-FREE INSECT REPELLENTS

Easy Application: Squito Ban Spray

Customer Favorite: Off! Botanicals

Best Organic: Hello Bello Bug Repellent

Most Affordable: Repel Lemon-Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Best Smell: All Terrain Kids Spray

Best Incense: Murphy's Natural Incense

Best Candles: Large Citronella Candles

Unique Formula: Medella Naturals Spray

Picaridin Choice: Sawyer Insect Repellent

Continue reading about the best DEET- free bug repellents, written by Cat Bowen here.

LAST UPDATED

May 5, 2022

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Best Products

Media Mentions from Best Products

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MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team