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.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.