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The Best Natural Insect Repellents That Don’t Stink

You wait all year for the long days, warm temperatures and lingering sunsets of summer. Alas, your delight at summer’s arrival is quickly extinguished by the ghastly horde of insects that also thrive at this time of year. Well played, Nature. Well. Played.

For some, the solution to this summertime buzzkill is simple: Drench yourself in DEET. The harsh chemical spray acts like Agent Orange for mosquitoes, ticks, and other blood-sucking pests, interfering with the neurons and receptors that help them find a host. However, just like Agent Orange, this nerve disruptor comes with widespread side effects. You’ve warded off the bugs, but now you’ve got a host of other ills to contend with, not the least of which is that chemical smell that can kill a hot vibe faster than a shred of cilantro stuck in your teeth. And what is summer without those hot vibes?

To save your game (and your skin) this summer, drop the DEET and reach instead for one of these natural insect repellents. Some are old tricks derived from antiquity, while others are more technologically advanced. But all of them will work to keep the bugs at bay so you can concentrate on summertime fun.

Read the full list from The Manual's Chelsea Batten here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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The Manual is simple - Showing men how to live a life that is more engaged. Whether it be fashion, food, drink, travel, grooming or culture, we are here to provide insight into it all.

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Of all the creepy crawlers, ticks keep me on high alert. They can be very tiny in the nymph stage and difficult to see. They love to hang out in tall grasses along the trail and hitch a ride on hikers passing by. I plan on treating most of my clothes and gear with Sawyer Permethrin.

Joanne Gigliotti

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Ultra-compact and lightweight

House Grail
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I would often just drink directly from the sawyer squeeze if I was feeling lazy- which by the way works wonderfully.

Rachel McVittie