I’ve been dreading this post. I’m going to get comments that include terrible and or funny stories about DEET. But I’m trying to help here and we are all adults. Life is hard and anyone who ventures into the forest without DEET is inadequately prepared.
So this is how I do it; I wear permethrin treated clothes regardless of whether I expect bugs or don’t expect bugs. Under normal circumstances, and especially against ticks, that’s adequate. If bugs (especially mosquitoes) are hassling me while I’m hanging around a campfire, or standing still while fishing, or really in any stationary position (and yes that includes doing what bears do in the woods) then I use a Thermacell.
However, that’s not always enough. Sometimes things get totally out of hand and you need the “nuke it from orbit”solution. That’s when you use DEET.
DEET is bad shit! If it gets in your eyes it’ll sting. If you get very hot it may even sting your skin. It will melt certain kinds of plastics. It is brewed from sweat gathered from Satan’s ass mixed with the tears of unicorns who have been beaten with rocks. If it’s not bad for your health it probably should be.
But there comes a time and a place to engage in total war against the blood sucking hordes. That’s why God gave us DEET.
Aside from the fact that it is genuinely nasty shit there are some advantages to DEET. First of all it really does work. There are endless chemical concoctions that are supposed to repel bugs; most are bullshit and the rest are weak but DEET is supremely effective. Second of all a little goes a long way. A bottle of Ben’s 100 may last several seasons if you’re careful. That makes it a superior choice to things that come in aerosol cans or larger containers. Be careful, keep your bottle in a plastic bag. I have had DEET spilled in my backpack before and it’s nasty. Incidentally there are many brands but I recommend Ben’s 100 because the bottle can take a huge beating. I’ve never had Ben’s 100 spill.
If you have the luxury of backing off from total devastation, you might want to try wipes instead of the pump sprayer. The wipes actually seem a little bit more effective and I think it’s because you get a better coverage on your skin. Wipes cost a lot more but I prefer them. (There are several brands but the one pictured is what I carry.) Wipes are better for kids too… don’t trust anyone too young or too stupid with your bottle of DEET.
Even if you have wipes you should still get a pump sprayer and keep in your backpack. The package of wipes is good for only 15 applications. What happens on the 16th? You’ll either die or wish you died (unless you’ve been carrying the spray bottle as a backup). Be aware that once you open the package of wipes they will gradually dry out. (The spray bottle lasts forever.)