Effective bug juice, without the nasty smell
August 7, 2008
This summer has been a big orgy for mosquitos, deer flies and other pests, as anyone who has spent time in the outdoors can attest.
All the snow made for a wet spring and, when the weather warmed up, the pests popped out. Sometimes the insects are so overwhelming it seems like you’d need a constantly spraying Deet-mister to ward them off.
A friend and I cycled the Deer Creek trail in Crested Butte a couple of weeks ago. We should have known better: Deer Creek, deer flies. Hello! They swarmed us whenever we pedaled slower than 10 mph, and with lots of climbing on that ride, the flies had ample opportunity. It’s particularly gross when they crawl between your sunglass lenses and your sweaty eyelids when you’re climbing a really steep stretch.
The Crested Butte experience forced me to take action for later excursions in the woods. I turned to good old Off! for help. The company makes a variety of insect repellents with varying levels of the chemical ingredient DEET.
I’ve settled on Off! Active rather than the “Deep Woods” varieties for a couple of reasons. First, Off! Active contains 15 percent DEET in the 6-ounce and 9-ounce aerosol bottles, as opposed to 25 percent or higher in the Deep Woods brews. The stronger the DEET, the longer the repellent; but high concentrations of DEET give me the creeps. Since I usually need a douse for a 3-hour mountain bike ride or 4-hour hike, Off! Active works fine. The brand’s website says it works up to six hours, and I can attest that it does.
I sprayed my legs with the exception of my knees one day. Sure enough, I ended up with several bites on my knees.
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I can’t say it keeps all bugs away all day, but I’d much rather use it than not.
The other advantage is the scent. Somehow Off! managed to make a decent smelling bug spray with the Active brand.
Off! Active can be found in supermarkets, sporting goods stores and discount giants throughout the valley. In addition to the 6-ounce and 9-ounce bottles, it comes in smaller, CamelBak-friendly 3-ounce sizes of aerosol or pump-spray.