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The 5 best bug sprays and repellents for deterring mosquitos, ticks, and other insects in 2021

Reliable bug spray is invaluable when on a camping trip or hanging out in your backyard. While general mosquito repellents will keep the little biters away, bug repellent deters ticks, chiggers, mosquitos, and other bugs — along with the diseases they may carry.

The most effective kind of bug spray is one with DEET (diethyltoluamide), which decades of research proves is the best for protecting humans from these bugs. However, DEET is toxic to aquatic creatures like fish and breaks down synthetic clothing or treated fibers, meaning it can de-waterproof your favorite rain coat or cause your hiking tank to wear out sooner.

DEET alternatives like picaridin and permethrin are less toxic and potentially very effective as a bug repellent. However, the scientific community is still testing these alternatives. For anyone sensitive to DEET or other chemical sprays, I've found a few natural bug repellents that won't hurt you or the environment.

A note to parents for bug spray for kids: The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) does not recommend using any bug spray on children under 6 months old. It does suggests treating clothes with permethrin. After a child reaches 6 months, picaridin is the safest choice as the best bug spray for kids.

If you are interested in learning more about the best bug sprays, you can continue reading the complete article written by Owen Burke here.

LAST UPDATED

May 7, 2022

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Business Insider

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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

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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

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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