Bugs are the bane of my existence. I’ve tried a lot of different bug killing gadgets, and while they work and I recommend them, there’s one thing you’ll need irregardless: bug spray. Picking the right bug spray can be tough. There are a few things to pay attention to. First, chemical makeup is important: you need to decide whether you want one that uses DEET, picaridin, or is all-natural. Application method is also a determining factor, as some like aerosol more than pump sprays and vice versa. Finally, bottle size is essential: do you want something you can keep in your pocket, or something to just leave by the door? To help you answer these age old questions and find a bug spray you love that actually works, we’ve rounded up some of our tried and true favorites.
FOR THE BEST SPRAY
Sawyer 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent
My personal favorite bug spray has to be this one. It doesn’t use DEET, but instead “has a 20% concentration of picaridin, which is as effective as DEET, and you don’t have to worry about whether it’s bad for you. It’s easy to apply as well. I find that pump sprays work better than their aerosol counterparts because you’re less likely to overspray. Instead, the pump on this one sprays superior bug spray evenly and accurately, for maximum protection. My favorite thing about this spray though has to be the size. At first, you’d think you’d want the biggest bug spray out there to just glob it in. But in truth, you don’t need that much, and what’s more important than amount is access and convenience.”
FOR AN ALL NATURAL SPRAY
Green Goo Bugs Be Gone
Scouted Editor Jillian Lucas loves Green Goo cream as it helps make mosquito bites not itchy in case you get one. But with this bug spray, you likely won’t. It’s all natural, so it doesn’t have picaridin or DEET. Instead, it has Yarrow to reduce skin irritation, Peppermint which provides a cooling and calming sensation, and it’s all enriched with lemongrass. It smells good and doesn't leave you sticky, which is a win, win.
FOR A DEET OPTION
Repel 100 Insect Repellent
This bug spray uses DEET, but still has a pump spray, which is better for application in comparison to aerosol. This way you get a nice even coating of the spray instead of it pooling up on your skin, leaving you all greasy. It also comes in a small bottle so you can take it anywhere.
FOR AN AEROSOL OPTION
Ben’s Tick Repellent
This bug spray has a 20% picaridin formula and no DEET, which I personally like because it works, but doesn’t leave you worrying about chemicals that may or may not be bad for you. It has an aerosol applicant, which I don’t love, but some do. It’s marketed for ticks but it’s great against mosquitos, as well. It’s good for spraying upside down so you can get your feet, which mosquitos in my experience love to go for.
FOR A DEET AND AEROSOL OPTION
Off! Deep Woods
If you want to go the DEET and aerosol route, Off! makes a good bug spray. The dry touch technology this offers solves the problem of aerosol spray blasting too much on your skin, and this one isn’t oily or greasy. It is made with 25% DEET as well to fend off any bugs in your path.
Now that you can go outside without getting eaten up, take a look at some of our other outdoor essentials:
- Here’s How to Transform Your Outdoor Space
- Enjoy a Fire in Your Backyard With This Smokeless Firepit
- A Guide to Wood Fire Grills and Grilling
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