Mosquitos and other bugs can spread disease and drive you crazy in the wilderness. Have no fear; bug sprays are here. But before you buy something to spray on your skin, consider the pluses and minuses.
DEET-based repellants: Most experts say DEET-based repellents last the longest. A spray with a 20-30 percent concentration of DEET can keep the bugs away for one full day. But don’t go higher than 30 percent. DEET is a strong eye irritant and can even melt some plastics and damage some fabrics.
Picaridin: An ingredient called Picaridin is safer than DEET, but it doesn’t last as long. If you don’t mind reapplying every hour or so, it’s a solid choice.
IR3535: Something called IR3535, when used at a 20 percent concentration, can protect you from mosquitoes for up to eight hours. Like DEET, it’ll burn your eyes like crazy, and, at higher concentrations, can melt plastics and damage fabrics.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus: At a 30 percent concentration, oil of lemon eucalyptus is the most effective botanical ingredient. It can irritate your lungs and cause allergies to flare up, but overall it’s safer than the chemical sprays.