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Natural bug repellent

Mosquitos love me. So do horse flies, black flies, centipedes, and no-see-ums. But because I spend a lot of time swimming and fly fishing in lakes and rivers, I don't like to use any kind of body care chemicals that can damage natural waterways (not to mention me) in any way. To wit, I've been DEET free for well over 15 years. But this summer I cast off the mosquito net and relied on some naturally gentle options in the form of wipes, patches, and sprays, and have been quite happy with the repellent results.

Then, on a two-day canoe trip in Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, I found my godsend: Eucalyptus oil -- a totally natural, and a much less stinky, bug repellent. As far as I can tell, it works as well as DEET, although it does seem to wear off sooner. This weekend, I intend to brave the Colorado foothills with a deodorant-slash-repellent version of my new find.


Herbal Clear has just debuted a stick that it's marketing to backpackers and campers (ie: me). So far, I like the smell -- light and fresh, not overpowering -- and the idea is a good one: It's easy, long lasting, and no need to muss your hands with harsh oils before netting a trout. Me likey. I'll let you know how it goes.

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