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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Test Fail: Off Clip-it and ThermaCELL Insect Repeller

In this home video, gear tester Joe Flowers goes out into the wilds of North Carolina to test two alternative bug repellents. The result is, well, itchy.


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Scott
Sep 10, 2012

I bow hunt South and North Georgia and other areas and have never had a problem with the Thermacell unit. In fact it is the best invention I know of to aid hunters. I used to swat bugs like crazy and wonder why I never saw any animals until I found the Thermacell! Bad review on a great product. It flat out works after warming up!

Ray Estrella
Oct 17, 2011

Ah, just read the comments and your remarks Joe. Your review does not clarify that you are talking about the testing parameters that failed, not the gear. My apologies.

Ray Estrella
Oct 17, 2011

(Thermacell)Q: Can I use ThermaCELL when it is windy?
A: In breezy weather, place the unit upwind of your location so that the repellent is carried by the wind into the area you want to protect.

You did not follow the directions that the company gives. What did you expect "testing" it in the wind?

(Off)When placing unit on a surface, lay the unit on its clip to allow open circulation of repellent.

Look at 2:47, you threw it on its face and did not turn it onto its clip until you stepped back out of the vehicle.

If you can't follow the manufacturer's directions you should not be testing gear. You failed as much as they did IMHO.

That said I think these are made for dead calm and would never dream of using one backpacking.

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Doug O'Neal
Oct 08, 2011

Hey backpacker,
I bow hunt in South GA in lower lying creek area and never have a problem with the Thermacell ever since the first year it came out. It absolutely has to be warmed up for at least 15 minutes to work. Sure you will have some kamakazees here and there. Terrible review on an amazing invention that has allowed me to enter the woods in late August every year.

slimpickin
Sep 26, 2011

RTFM...
I know fisher and hunter people who use the thermacell in Northern Ontario and BC and swear by it. I also have a plague of mosquitoes where I live...I find a great reduction in bites while tending the garden, grilling, and working in the yard. I trust it enough to protect my daughter out there as well.
It is great when used as a deterrent in a sheltered area.
Also, it would be nice to hear from gear testers who analytically tested gear in real world situations and stepped more than 3 feet away from their car.

slimpickin
Sep 26, 2011

RTFM...
I know fisher and hunter people who use the thermacell in Northern Ontario and BC and swear by it. I also have a plague of mosquitoes where I live...I find a great reduction in bites while tending the garden, grilling, and working in the yard. I trust it enough to protect my daughter out there as well.
It is great when used as a deterrent in a sheltered area.
Also, it would be nice to hear from gear testers who analytically tested gear in real world situations and stepped more than 3 feet away from their car.

Mike
Sep 19, 2011

I agree with many of the above comments, I own both those devices and granted the OFF one is a POS in my opinion, but I love the termaCELL. I used the OFF once in the Everglades and proceeded to get torn apart through the night very similar to our friendly reviewer, but with the thermaCELL I have used it quite a few times in the glades and been able to sit down and eat my dinner or what not without a shirt on and swat away one or two mosquitoes, but you have to use it as directions state. The box says 10-15min and it means it 10-15min. Of course the second you turn it on its not going to work, especially with mosquitoes in that quantity. Also I find that employing multiple tactics seems to work best, I use a non-deet insecticide spray on my clothing along with the thermaCELL personally. I am curious to try the listerine thing.

John Dreggors
Sep 04, 2011

Susan....skin so soft from avon has been known for years to prevent the sand gnats and the non biting variety from getting close to you. Google and enjoy!

Joe Flowers
Aug 30, 2011

Hey Chuck,

It worked while in the car, but not out there. In that situation, after 30 minutes of it on, outside, (verified by the test in the car) it didn't work. The wind blows the repellent away, and any exposed side that is not directly in the path of the emmiter gets bit. I used it many times before and it worked, but in this particular situation (the combination of wind, massive mosquito population) it doesn't. The wind blew so hard you can't see the whisps of ephemeral smoke that emit out the grill in the front. They came out when inside the car.

Chuck
Aug 22, 2011

My thermocell has saved my butt more times than I can count, again to agree with an above comment, you are not using it properly, so in reality, your review is not a fair and accurate representation of the product and you deserved to get bit! LOL

Denny
Aug 20, 2011

I will stick to Off. It's has work for years for me.

Nikki Stai
Aug 19, 2011

If you are ever, ever up for doing another test run with non-DEET products...

Try good old standard sheep dip from your local farm supply store for your clothing and, I kid you not, original flavor Listerine to spritz or rub on your skin.

My husband and I hiked part of the NCT in the Chequamegon National Forest this summer and we were being eaten alive and running low on our DEET bug repellents. We stopped for lunch beside a river and a local kayaking through gave us those tips and some of their supply. Now, we don't go on a hike, and I won't tend my garden, without spritzing on Listerine.

I know, weird, but give it a whirl. Spend a buck at the dollar store and try it yourself.

Joe Flowers
Aug 16, 2011

Hey guys, you can't see the smoke on the video, but trust me, it was there. It was so windy that it didn't send the long ribbons of smoke up. On the belt, it is very simple. It didn't keep my feet from getting bit fast enough. Do note that it did work when in side the jeep (no wind situation). The test itself was a failure, not the gear. In a normal situation without wind, it worked well.

Josh S
Aug 16, 2011

Why was my comment removed?

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