Insects are no fun, unless of course you’re using them to catch some lunkers in the local river or lake. But the ones that take a bite out of hunters and outdoors enthusiasts are just a literal pain in the, uh, neck.
Thankfully, there are companies out there that are working to make sure you don’t have to worry about it. Sawyer is one of them and they take their job seriously.
Sawyer offers a line of Permethrin insect repellents that are used to treat your clothing (or bed net or whatnot) and it works like a charm. The company had to seek approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, which it was granted, to release this product to the public. It is military-grade repellent that kills ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes and so much more.
Permethrin is a contact insecticide. When the bugs crawl or land on you, the insecticide simply kills them. It’s not applied to the skin (At all! There’s no wiggle room in that statement, folks.) but rather to the clothing you’re going to be wearing.
I used some of my favorite outdoor clothes in the form of some tough khaki cargo pants and a Carhartt shirt and I soaked them in the solution for two hours and hang dried them. Obviously I made a point of following the directions, which are very easy to follow, and the precautions, which are very clearly labeled.
The end result? Simply amazing.
I wore those clothes out at dusk on some of the most insect-infested days this summer and I didn’t have a single problem. Friends I was with were being eaten alive by mosquitoes and had two or three ticks each on them when we came back in. Me? Perfectly bite free and tickless.
What’s surprising about Permethrin is that it uses the same active ingredient that is used in hair shampoos for head lice.
If there’s one downside, it’s that Sawyer is very open about the dangers of misusing the product. Their labels are almost scary to read and you may worry about what’s going to happen if you mess up. The truth is, the directions are easy, the application is not messy and the end result is clean and very effective. There’s nothing to worry about, especially if you take the precautions and use common sense.
Use the Permethrin solutions from Sawyer on your every-day outdoor gear and it’s going to keep you protected for at least six washings. That’s something you can’t beat, especially for the price. You can snag a massive 24-ounce container from Amazon for under $19 and various size sprays at Cabela’s from between $6 and $11. At REI, you can get the 12-ounce spray for $11.
Quite frankly, you’re not going to find a better insect repellent. Use it in conjunction with skin-based repellents and you’re pretty much going to be untouchable.
For more information about Sawyer and their wide variety of products (their water filters are amazing, too, and we’ll be offering up a review of one soon), check out their website.