The most effective bug repellents contain deet—
a chemical that contains N,N-diethyl-metatoluamide.
Generally, the more deet a repellent
has, the better it works. However, too much deet
can burn sensitive skin and dissolve plastics.
Children should use a mild citronella-based
repellent or one that is about 20 percent deet
and 80 percent soothing skin lotion.
25 to 30 percent deet, in a mixture
with other ingredients, will keep away most
insects. Pure deet is essential only if you’re tripping
in the barren lands where billions of blackflies
cloud the sky.
Tips for Applying Repellents
Head and Body Nets
A small head net is a must in buggy country.
Bulky, military styles with draw-cord hems that
button down to breast pockets are a nuisance in
canoes, where head nets are put on over life
jackets. A simple rectangular net that can quickly
be wadded to fist size and stuffed into a hat
crown or shirt pocket is best.
It’s difficult to see through light-colored bug
netting. If you can’t find a dark-colored head net,
buy a light-colored one and darken the eye panel
with black Magic Marker or dye.
Protecting your torso is another concern. A
layer of lightweight long underwear, worn tight
against the skin, discourages most bites, except
on exposed ankles and wrists, which are easily
protected by repellent. Your armor is complete
when you’ve tucked your pants into high-top
boots and sealed shirt-cuff openings with mating
strips of Velcro.
Color counts too. Dark shades tend to attract;
light colors have no effect. Navy blue is by far the
worst color you can wear in the woods!