You know the feeling — you’re hiking, climbing, or simply relaxing outdoors and you start to feel that tickle on your skin and hear the buzzing in your ear. Mosquitos are approaching, and they’re getting ready to strike.
Maybe they go for your elbow, or your ankle, or maybe the back of your knee where you can’t quite reach it in time. The tickle turns to an itch and you realize, ugh, they’ve bitten you. The mosquito has successfully bitten you and now you’re left with an irritating itchy bump that’s going to stick with you for a little while. Luckily, there are bug sprays that can protect you from this fate and keep the bugs at bay while you enjoy the outdoors.
Some are packed with powerful ingredients like DEET, others come with an easy-to-use spray — what’s going to work best for your family? Good question. We’ve gathered our favorite bug sprays to use in the outdoors so you can pick which one suits you and your needs, those pesky insects won’t know what hit em’.
1. Repel Sportsmen Max Formula Bug Spray
This Repel Max Sportsmen bug spray is 40% DEET with powerful bug repellant properties. It provides up to eight hours of protection against mosquito bites, ticks and other natural nuisances, and was developed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind. It comes in a pack of two durable, portable bottles that you can bring anywhere and easily apply upside down as needed throughout your adventure.
Pros: Powerful formula, 40% DEET, portable bottle, great for longer periods of time outdoors.
Cons: This formula may expire quickly after being exposed to extreme temperatures.
2. OFF! Family Care Insect & Mosquito Repellant
This OFF! bug spray and insect repellant has a smooth & dry formula that will leave a protective coating on your skin without an oily or greasy sheen. It works effectively to repel mosquitos and other insects — and comes in an aerosol spray that can be easily applied in a sweeping motion all over the body. It also works effectively on the outer surfaces of clothing, and is great for beach days, hikes, picnics and other outdoor adventures.
Pros: Smooth, non-greasy formula, easy application via aerosol spray, contains DEET.
Cons: The scent of this product is strong and may linger after use.
3. Babyganics Travel Size Bug Spray 2oz
This bug spray from Babyganics is made with 100% natural essential oils and no DEET, parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes or fragrances. These plant-derived ingredients work hard together to keep mosquitos, gnats and other annoying insects away. The formula is cruelty-free as well. The essential oils are a blend of citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass and geranium.
Pros: All-natural formula, cruelty-free, travel-size bottle that’s easy to take on-the-go.
Cons: The formula may feel greasy on skin.
4. Sawyer Products Picaridin Insect Repellant
This powerful bug spray from Sawyer Products is made with picaridin, a powerful insect repellant ingredient that will keep the bugs at bay and you protected. This repellant is fragrance-free and lasts for up to 12 hours against mosquitos, and eight hours against other annoying bugs like ghats, chiggers and sand flies. Despite the powerful ingredients, it won’t damage or harm your outdoor gear and is safe to use on the whole family. This convenient travel-size bottle meets TSA requirements, and the pump spray convenient disperses the formula onto your skin.
Pros: Powerful formula, small travel-size bottle, won’t damage clothing or gear, fragrance-free.
Cons: For maximum efficiency, it must be applied everywhere.
5. Skin So Soft SPF 30 Bug Spray
This bug spray repels mosquitos and other insects effectively with DEET for up to eight hours and contains SPF 30 to protect your skin from being burned whilst keeping the bug bites away. It provides great protection on both fronts and is dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic and water-resistant. It’s got a gentle fragrance and contains vitamin E for added moisture for your skin.
Pros: Contains DEET and SPF in one formula, moisturizing, contains vitamin E to keep your skin soft.
Cons: Sometimes the pump that comes with the spray is too big to fit into the bottle.