Camp Tools

Thermacell Backpacker

Mosquito repeller

Brand: Thermacell

Model: Backpacker




Our take If you hate DEET almost as much as you hate mosquitoes, you’ll love this new way to fight skeeters. The miniscule bug-repellent device is the size of an ultralight backpacking stove and attaches to the fuel canister you’re probably already carrying in your pack. Like other Thermacell devices, it emits a 15-by-15-foot zone of bug protection—using a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants—that testers said was effective within minutes of igniting. The small, enclosed flame is incredibly fuel efficient; on one overnight kayaking trip in the Ozarks, our tester was able to use half a 4-ounce canister to cook dinner and breakfast, and still create a bug-repelling force field for five hours. (Thermacell claims up to 90 hours of run time on a 4-ounce canister.) Ding: It’s hard to know when the device is lit. We received our sample at the tail end of bug season last year; we look forward to testing it more in the notoriously buggy Boundary Waters.

Trail cred “The unit banished mosquitoes when a cloud of them descended upon us last August,” said our Oklahoma tester after trying to enjoy a peaceful summer evening on his porch. “My wife despises the scent of citronella and this was much less pervasive.”