A quick lesson on mosquitos: they pick up on the CO2 we exhale from over 100 yards away, and, once they’ve zeroed in on us—aside from dolling out itchy, painful welts—they can also transmit malaria, dengue fever, or a little thing called West Nile virus. So…who wants to go glamping?
All of which is to say bug spray is your friend, but must we really douse ourselves in possibly-toxic chemical cocktails with dizzying scents that keep fellow outdoors enthusiasts just as far away from us as the skeeters? We think not. And while we wait for the maybe life-changing Kite Patch to hit the market (seriously, guys, read up) we’ve tracked down and tested the most sophisticated (...at times, infantile) DEET-free, and best-smelling bug sprays we’ve come across. Here are five to keep bugs—not your friends—at bay:
California Baby Bug Repellent: As Lauren Santo Domingo once said, “Nothing smells better than babies.” This sentiment, along with Kate Young’s recommendation, is why we picked up this gentle, natural bug deterrent. Upon spraying it in the Gloffice, one visitor announced it smelled like “baby wipes,” but, like LSD said, that's a good thing. The finish is dry, but not in the sticky, aerosol sense, and reapplication is required every two hours.
Intelligent Nutrients Perfume Spray: Admittedly, it was the adorable baby vampire-bat on the bottle that had us all reaching for this self-proclaimed “aromatic experience.” But the certified-organic, minty, slightly oily concoction mixes geranium and cedar for an effect that’s more moody, woodsy perfume than pungent citronella candle. Plus, it leaves your skin a little more moisturized. Intelligent Nutrients suggests spritzing it all over yourself and your “personal effects,” to prepare for two hours of bite-free, or close to it, bliss.
The Honest Co. Bug Spray: This one is a little on the sweet side, but the once-again certified-organic blend of rosemary, citronella, and wintergreen makes up one of the purest and safest repellants out there. It's also hydrating and baby-friendly, which, as Julia Restoin Roitfeld will tell you, means it's also your friend.
Malin + Goetz Bug Spray: Originally crafted in founders Matthew and Andrew’s own upstate New York garden, this essential-oil-based mosquito spray works for three hours and contains an herbal blend of rosemary, geranium, and lemongrass after an initial blast of citronella. Light in texture and scent, it evokes a refreshing summer cocktail, or, as Nick said: “It smells kind of good.”
Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero: After awarding it 800 clever points for its name and carving out counter space to showcase its très chic package, we couldn’t stop sniffing this so-called “repellant.” It’s lemony, like real Southern sweet tea, and is so lightweight it doesn't feel like you're wearing anything. Depending on how deep South you venture, reapply every two to four hours.
Happy trails, campers.