Over the years we have had many questions about bug repellent. Just about every Packing List that we provide has Insect Repellent on it. Every time you see it on a list you will also see – NO SPRAYS – LOTION ONLY.
Here is the low down!
Question1. Why do you NOT want SPRAY repellent?
Answer1. Invariably sprays wind up in somebodies face/eyes by accident. Part of our jobs as Scouters is to manage risks.
This risk is is most positively managed by not allowing spray. Lotions also allow far more of the repellent to end up on the places it is required rather than blowing through the air, into someone else’s eyes or all over a water proof tent. Lotions are also thicker and less likely to spill.
Question2. Isn’t a pump spray OK?
Answer2. NO. Please read Q1 again. No where did we suggest that this was about the environmental issues. (although that is a good point too)
Question3 Should my repellent contain Deet?
Answer3 Yes. The good thing about Deet is that IT WORKS. The more Deet the better and longer lasting. However, Deet is VERY harmful to the waterproof coatings of Tents, jackets and nylon packs to name a few. It erodes the waterproofing away and can also make the nylon rather gooey.
Question4. I can’t find a lotion. Where can I find bug lotion?
Answer4. You may have to look harder but usually outfitters like Adventure Guide, or Mountain Equipment Co-op have it because – see Answer 1 & 3.
Question5 How much Deet should I have?
Answer 5 The best repellents out there have about 30% Deet
These 2 examples are both considered great repellents. They are both available in lotions as pictured. As of July 2012 the Watkins brand was available at Rexall PharmaPlus stores. Small Bottle with a caribiner for less than $5.00. Very handy!