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Wirecutter: The Best Bug Repellents

After additional research in spring 2020, we’ve added new picaridin-based repellent options.

Everyone should avoid bug bites. For a bug repellent that’s safe and effective—and that won’t stink or leave a puddle of oil on your skin—skip the DEET and get a picaridin formula, like Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20 percent picaridin. It’s the best bottle of bug spray we found after testing 17 repellents and talking to everyone—from the EPA to the American Mosquito Control Association. One fact to establish up front: There’s no evidence that mosquitoes can transmit the coronavirus—but the diseases that biting insects do carry ain’t no picnic either.

See the full list from Doug Mahoney on Wirecutter's website here.

LAST UPDATED

May 7, 2022

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Wirecutter

Media Mentions from Wirecutter

Wirecutter’s mission is to recommend what really matters. Each year, we independently test and review thousands of products to help you find just what you need. Our goal is to save you time and eliminate the stress of shopping, whether you’re looking for everyday gear or gifts for loved ones.

We strive to be the most trusted product recommendation service around, and we work with total editorial independence. We won’t post a recommendation unless our writers and editors have deemed something the best through rigorous reporting and testing.

MEDIA MENTIONS

My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick

MEDIA MENTIONS

Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz
Writer

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