What Is The Best Mosquito Repellent? There’s Only One Winner

by | Oct 9, 2017 | Best Of, Gear Reviews | 10 comments

Having done a fair bit of travelling, I see and hear the question “What is the best mosquito repellent?” ALL THE TIME. Before I even jump into the details and analysis of what I think is, hands down, the best repellent out there, I just want to mention that there are dozens of brands which claim to be ‘the best’.

It’s the same with many things, not just mosquito repellents, that claim to be the best in their niche and that you won’t find anything better. Most of these claims are purely to increase branding and sales, with no concrete evidence or reasons for being ‘the best’.

Fumigating mosquitos

A lot of mosquito repellents work differently for different people. I’m sure if you were to pull together 5000 hikers and travellers, survey them on what works best for them and collate the results, then you would get closer to an answer on what works best for most people.

Bear in mind that this would be most people, which doesn’t mean that only one type of repellent should be sold and the rest just discarded.

My point is, if you have something that works wonders for you then you shouldn’t change by any means. This review is purely based on what works amazingly for me, and many other travellers and hikers I’ve met who swear by it.

If you’re looking for a review about midge repellents, which is similar but not the same, then check out my article all about the best midge repellent.

 

Lifesystems Insect Repellent


In my honest opinion, Lifesystems Insect Repellent is the best all-round mosquito and bug repellent that I have ever used.

I bought a bottle of the strongest I could find on my backpacking trip to South America without having much experience of the stuff. It turned out to be possibly the handiest piece of kit I took with me and saved me from hours of torment in the Amazon Rainforest, and quite probably saved me from contracting any nasty diseases.

Mosquitos in South America

Lifesystems actually offer several different types of mosquito repellent. They range from DEET free and child friendly, to 95% DEET which is enough to choke the biggest creepy crawlies out there. If you’re not entirely sure what DEET is then check out this post which should settle any doubts that you may have.

Lifesystems is a renowned brand which doesn’t just offer repellents, they also have an array of outdoor apparel from sunscreen to fire-starter kits.

 

Lifesystems Insect Repellents Pros & Cons


PROS:

  • 95% DEET provides the best protection available in liquid form.
  • Contains natural pyrethroids which act as ‘bite inhibitors’.
  • Long lasting.
  • COST EFFECTIVE for what you get and how long it lasts.
  • Pump-spray top for easy, convenient application.
  • Durable aluminium bottle.
  • Lightweight at only 76g for the 50 ml bottle and 132g for the 100ml bottle.
  • Repels not only mosquitoes but also midges, horseflies, sandflies, gnats, fleas, ticks and other biting insects.
  • Some even offer small 25ml bottles.

CONS:

  • Not the nicest odour.
  • If held in contact it can discolour plastics.
  • Can irritate eyes, lips and other sensitive areas making it not ideal for young children.

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Expedition 100 Plus


ACTIVE INGREDIENT: 95% DEET.

WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Mixture of natural pyrethroid oils and DEET creates a bite inhibitor.

USE: Tropical regions and the jungle. General areas with lots of biting insects and bugs.

DURATION: 10+ hours protection.

It’s available for as little as £8.45 on Amazon.

Expedition 50 Plus


ACTIVE INGREDIENT: 50% DEET

WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Mixture of natural pyrethroid oils and DEET creates a bite inhibitor.

USE: General use, also fit for tropical regions.

DURATION: Up to 10 hours protection.

*PERSONAL FAVOURITE*

It’s available for as little as £5.49 on Amazon.

Expedition Endurance


ACTIVE INGREDIENT: 20 – 34% micro-encapsulated DEET.

WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Time release agent meaning DEET evaporates at a slower rate providing protection for 12+ hours.

USE: Any environment where all day protection is preferred.

DURATION: Up to 12 hours protection.

*PERSONAL FAVOURITE*

It’s available for as little as £9.99 on Amazon.

Midge Repellent


ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Different DEET percentages available – 50% DEET most popular.

WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Myrtle leaf extract mixed with DEET to deter smaller biting insects.

USE: Midge infested areas.

DURATION: Up to 8 hours protection.

It’s available for as little as £5.95 on Amazon.

DEET FREE


Lifesystems also offer some DEET free repellents. They are, in my honest opinion, no where near as effective as those repellents containing DEET but they can do the job for a short period of time.

A huge advantage of DEET free products is that they are ideal for kids. They don’t irritate the eyes and mouth anywhere near as much as their counterparts.

 

Natural Insect Repellent 30+ Spray


ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Citrepel 75 which is derived from various lemon eucalyptus plant oils.

WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: No DEET so a good option to those dead against synthetic products.  Pyrethrum acts as bite inhibitor.

USE:  General use, effective against mosquitos and midges.

DURATION: Up to 8 hours protection.

It’s available for as little as £10.28 on Amazon.

Expedition Sensitive DEET Free Insect Repellent Spray


ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Saltidin (commonly used DEET alternative).

WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: No DEET so a good option to those dead against synthetic products. Suited for sensitive skin.

USE: General use, offers medium level protection.

DURATION: Up to 8 hours protection.

It’s available for as little as £5.10 on Amazon.

To Conclude


Lifesystems offers a range of insect repellents suitable for different conditions and environments. It even tailors to anti-DEET users which is a bonus.

Ever since I started seriously travelling and hiking I have used Lifesystems repellents. I have experimented with others in between but nothing comes close in terms of effectivity. For what you get it’s also really good value for money, obviously the repellents with a higher percentage of DEET cost a little more.

The main disadvantage is obviously the discomfort of having a chemical rich substance on your skin but I didn’t find this to be too much of an issue and you do get used to it relatively quickly.

 

TIP FOR HIKERS:

If you are on a long/intense hike and you find you sweat a lot making the repellent run down your face and into your eyes and mouth, then try spraying it in your hair.

This, of course, means that the bite-inhibitors don’t work but I find that with the high percentage DEET stuff it does a decent enough job in keeping the smaller biting insects away.

If you’re in the jungle with larger creepy crawlies then….just slap it on!

As always, thanks a lot for reading, and if you have anything to add or any questions then please don’t hesitate to write below! 🙂

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