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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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Effective against a wide range of insects: Sawyer Permethrin is known to be effective against mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, mites, and more than 55 other kinds of insects.

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Sawyer Products SP5432 Picaridin insect repellent spray is also very small and compact. You can easily take this insect repellent anywhere you want. This makes it an ideal option for any traveler and adventurer who wants to have a safe journey.

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Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like Florida and North Carolina, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors.

Madison Flager and Meaghan Kenny