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The Best Insect Repellent to Help You Ditch the Itch Outdoors

There’s only one thing worse than hauling a camping tent and canoe along a dirt path on a backwoods camping expedition: hauling a tent and canoe across a dirt path while being eaten alive by insects. But the best insect repellent can protect you against bug bites for hours, allowing you to be active outdoors in any condition. With a strong bug spray, you can hike through any woodsy trail without running in a frenzy from unwanted pests or taking periodic breaks to itch that hard-to-reach bite behind your knee.

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Insect repellent, aka bug spray, can be a godsend during mosquito season, but it’s not just about keeping you comfortable outdoors. Pests like ticks can carry blood-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, and the best bug spray can help protect you from serious health risks. The top bug sprays defend you against viruses known to be carried by mosquitoes, like the Zika, West Nile and Dengue viruses. Insect repellent contains ingredients such as DEET, picaridin or citronella to ward off bugs.

It’s important to pack a bottle of bug spray before any outdoor excursion, even if it’s just lounging in your backyard. Check out SPY’s list below and get your hands on the best insect repellent available right now.

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LAST UPDATED

August 30, 2022

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The sawyer filters are much slower but quick enough to avoid being an annoyance. You can also back-flush them provided you remember to pack out the provided cleaning syringe.

PAUL “BOWIE” MADIGOSKY
Pacific Crest Trail

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Brown’s gear list considered weight and functionality above all else. With the goal of traveling as fast as possible, every ounce was considered.

Jeff 'Legend' Garmire
Sawyer Ambassador

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Permethrin is a highly effective insecticide that can be used as a first line of defense against biting insects. It is highly toxic to a whole spectrum of insects, including black flies, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Rachel Shoemaker
The Trek