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What’s the Best Mosquito Repellent? We Tested Sprays, Nets, and Tech to Find Out

We trekked for miles along some humid Midwest trails and spent a few weekends in the woods with a variety of mosquito-repellent options — some chemical, some physical. Here’s what we found.

Hiking in the woods is magical. Between the shade, the earthy damp, and the scents of the green tunnel, it’s easy to get lost in the tranquility of putting one foot in front of the other.

That is, until the buzzing of gnats and mosquitos shatters your moment of serenity. It’s an unfortunate reality that, in order to get out and enjoy the summertime in the forest, you’ll often have to deal with the insatiable assault of bloodsucking insects.

In an effort to find some relief this year, I’ve been testing out a wide variety of bug repellents. These have ranged from nets to misting devices, along with the familiar sprays and topical lotions.

After several weekends in the woods, I set about weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each. Below are several of the top options, along with their pros and cons. Read it here.

LAST UPDATED

September 12, 2022

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Josh Wussow

Gear Junkie

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