It’s that time of year again where the days are long and we try and spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s also time for the mosquito’s to be out in full force. Here is an image that Alaska Life fan, Andrea Boeshart, took through her window last week. In order to take advantage of a nice sunny day or make a hunting or fishing trip mosquito free, keep reading on what I think is the best bug repellant and a must have item.
While in the field mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and black flies can make life miserable. Whether they are buzzing around your eyes and ears or biting, nobody likes to be surrounded by these pesky insects. That’s why for as long as I can remember I have always hunted with a ThermaCELL. At first it seems like it might be one of those items that probably wont work and is more of a scam than anything. However after using it for many years hunting in the swamps of Florida I can attest that this little device is a lifesaver and really does keep these insects at bay. Like Florida, Alaska has tons of swamps and water almost everywhere you go. This is prime breeding grounds for these biting insects that can fill the sky and surround you in no time. It makes everything on a hunt just a little more difficult when you are surrounded by hundreds of biting and noisy insects. The usual option is to cover up in bug spray or deet. Now you are covered in an oily spray that typically has a very strong smell. Most bug repellents are also not near as powerful unless they contain 100% deet. If you are hunting this only minimizes your chances of seeing any game down wind. Even though I use my ThermaCELL over insect repellant, I do keep a small canister of 100% deet in my pack just in case I forget my ThermaCELL or run out of butane or mats.
ThermaCELL is designed to put an odorless repellent into the air that repels 98% of mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and black flies. ThermaCELL uses small butane cartridges to heat up a metal grill that is protected by a grill guard. This guard not only keeps you from touching the hot metal plate, but also holds the repellent mats in place. The repellent is saturated into small blue mats that come individually packaged to stay fresh. Within minutes of turning the ThermaCELL on the heat generated form the plate vaporizes the repellent in the mat causing it to rise onto the air. You can hear and see the bugs flying around, but almost all of them are keeping their distance and not bothering you. Depending on the wind the ThermaCELL will cover an area 15′ X 15′. This not only covers you, but also anyone else that would be with you in this area. Each mat lasts around 3-4 hours, but I have found that you can lengthen this time some by turning the unit on and off. Allowing the unit to run for at least 15 minutes and then shutting it off, heats up the plate enough to keep the vapor going into the air. Once you see the vapor is less or the bugs start getting closer, just turn it back on to heat up the plate again. The mat will slowly start to change colors from blue to white as the repellent is vaporized. Once the mat is completely white just pop another mat in and you are good to go. Each butane cartridge will last around 9-12 hours. ThermaCELL sales separate carriers that custom fit around the device that has pockets allowing you to always have new mats and a cartridge on hand when the others run out. They have a number of different portable devices as well as a lantern style for patios. Whether I am hunting, camping, or enjoying a campfire in the backyard, I will always have my ThermaCELL with me and RUNNING.
Cabela’s seems to have some of the best pricing on a ThermaCELL and the Olive Drab is currently on sale ($24.99). The RealTree version is $39.99.