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6 Expert-Recommended Bug Sprays That Actually Work

Whether you're camping, hiking, or just hanging out at a nearby park.

A bug bite is, at best, irritating, and at worst, deadly. This summer, as the weather heats up and we spend more time outside for picnics, camping trips, al fresco dining, and long-awaited summer travel, a bottle of bug spray can be as important to pack as sunscreen.

But it's not as easy as just dousing yourself with bug spray. You need to know how to apply it, how often to reapply, and how to layer it with your favorite SPF.
Sawyer Products 20 percent picaridin insect repellent
While DEET is approved for use on children with no age restriction, per the EPA, some parents may prefer alternatives. Dr. Lam uses picaridin-based products for his children (another CDC-recommended ingredient). This Sawyer Products repellent protects against mosquitos and ticks for up to 12 hours. It also protects against chiggers, gnats, and flies for up to eight hours, ensuring adequate coverage regardless of the environment. $9, Amazon. Get it now!

Now that you know the general guidelines for insect repellent, here are some of the best buy sprays to add to your outdoor packing list, written by Iona Brannon.

LAST UPDATED

December 3, 2023

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Another option is a physical filter, which takes out any debris and bacteria to make water completely safe to drink. Mejia recommends the Sawyer Squeeze, which comes with a fill bag and is incredibly easy to use.

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Everything from Sawyer is super highly rated and effective. They’re fragrance-free and dry/set nicely, too.

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Picaridin, sometimes known as icaridin, is a synthetic compound that was first developed in the 1980s to repel biting insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers.

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