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The 5 Best Bug Repellents of 2022

Effective protection for you and your stuff

Just because you're spending quality time in the great outdoors doesn't mean you have to tolerate irksome insects, biting buzzers, and mystery bugs. These critters are annoying at best and itchy or even disease-ridden at worst. Whether you enjoy camping with your family, sightseeing in an RV, hiking the trails, fishing, barbecuing, or hanging out on your patio after dark, you'll want to protect yourself and your stuff from pests.

Bug repellent isn't anything new, but it's come a long way in recent years. You can find options containing DEET, picaridin, and essential oils that smell good to humans but make insects want to stay away. Besides the active ingredient, there are various types of repellents—from sprays and lotions to candles, plug-ins, and even bracelets, believe it or not. Also, some last longer than others, so if you're spending a good chunk of time outside, you'll want something that offers several hours of protection.

With all this in mind, we rounded up the best bug repellents available today.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:

Sawyer Products Picaridin Insect Repellent at Amazon

This bug repellent uses picaridin to ward off mosquitos, ticks, flies, and chiggers.

Best Plant-Based:

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent at Amazon

The eucalyptus oil formula is a great alternative to DEET—if you don't mind the scent.

Best Lotion:

3M Ultrathon Lotion at Amazon

This bug-repellent lotion is easy to apply and offers long-lasting, moisture-resistant protection.

Best Candle:

Cutter Citro Guard Candle at Amazon

This citronella candle burns for 40 hours and is highly effective at keeping bugs away.

Best for Patios:

Thermacell Patio Shield at Amazon

This lantern-style contraption runs on a fuel cartridge and uses plant-derived allethrin to repel mosquitoes.

You can read the complete article written by Theresa Holland here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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The Spruce

Media Mentions from The Spruce

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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

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