Top Insect and Mosquito Repellents

Protect against West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne and insect-borne illnesses with insect repellent when walking outdoors. The Center for Disease Control recommends mosquito repellent with 5% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), as the best insect repellent for West Nile Virus mosquitoes. Over 50% DEET provides no further protection and can damage some fabrics.

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Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent

Off! Deep Woods Pump Spray
Off! Deep Woods Pump Spray. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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You can find Off! in pump, aerosol spray or towlettes. Check to see what the concentration of DEET is for each. If it is too concentrated, it can damage fabrics. You may be able to find unscented versions, which I prefer.

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Repel Tick Defense Unscented Aerosol

Repel Tick Defense Unscented Aerosol
Repel Tick Defense Unscented Aerosol. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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At last, this repellent is just about perfect. It is truly odorless. It really works. It doesn't eat through your fabric like DEET. It is also unscented, which is a huge advantage for those of us sensitive to perfumes.

3
Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent 20-Percent Picaridin Pump Spray

Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent 20% Picaridin
Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent 20% Picaridin. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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If you prefer a pump spray, Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent 20-Percent Picaridin Pump Spray has both a 3-ounce size and a 0.5 ounce size that you can carry along in your pack. I stocked up on these at REI to keep handy with my walking gear.

4
Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Spray

Skin So Soft Bug Guard Products
Skin So Soft Bug Guard Products. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

People went bug-nutty over Avon Skin So Soft when they noticed insect repellent effects. They have a variety of DEET-free formulas, including those with sunscreen SPF 30 and those that contain picaridin. However, they include scent that may be allergenic for some of us.

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5
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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Repel Lemon Eucalyptus uses natural oils from the eucalyptus citriodora tree. It is gentle to skin and won't harm fabrics or surfaces. It repels mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, midges, stable flies and more for up to six hours.

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Mosquito Head Net

Coughlin's Mosquito Head Net
Coughlin's Mosquito Head Net. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

If you are in a heavily-infested mosquito area, a head net may be the only way to fend them off - or to not inhale them. While it can be annoying to have to walk with a head net on, it beats itching for days.

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7
Ex Officio BugsAway Women's Clothing and Gear

Ex Officio Women's Bugsaway Baja Shirt
Ex Officio Women's Bugsaway Baja Shirt. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Sick and tired of spraying all the time? Now the BugsAway insect repellent finish is incorporated into all kinds of excellent outdoor clothing and activewear. These garments are odorless and made of great technical fabrics for all of your active outdoors needs. The repellent effect remains through dozens of washings.

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8
Ex Officio BugsAway Men's Clothing and Gear

Ex Officio Men's Bugsaway Baja Shirt
Ex Officio Men's Bugsaway Baja Shirt. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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Keep the bugs away with these clothing and gear items with an insect repellent finish. Here are designs for men.

9
Permethrin Tick Repellent for Clothing and Gear

Sawyer Permethrin Clothing, Gear and Tent Spray
Sawyer Permethrin Clothing, Gear and Tent Spray. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

The CDC recommends permethrin-based repellents for clothing and gear. Spray this on your outdoors clothing, hat, shoes, etc. and the mosquito and tick protection lasts for a couple of weeks, even with washing. It is also useful for travelers who are concerned about bed bugs. Many walkers on the Camino de Santiago spray their bedding and packs with permethrin to ward off the bed bugs.

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10
Haeleum Shirts

Manufacturer's Site
I bought one of the long-sleeved women's Lyft shirts before a walking vacation. I loved the Ocean deep blue color and the fabric was soft and dried very fast when I hand-washed it and air-dried during the trip. The fabric uses Insect Shield® Repellent Technology, which is EPA registered. The repellent should last through 70 launderings. It also has SPF 50 sun rating. I've read many favorable reviews for insect-repellency, but we didn't encounter many bugs to repel. But I loved the shirt so much that I ordered a short-sleeved version as soon as I got home.

11
Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Liner with Insect Shield

Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Liner with Insect Shield
Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Liner with Insect Shield. Courtesy of Amazon

If you don't want bothered while you sleep, this sleeping bag liner/bed sack can keep away insects including bed bugs, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. It has Insect Shield, which includes permethrin. It packs up small to take along.

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