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Works, but not worth it (vs. Repel products)
on August 14, 2013
For a two-week trip around Costa Rica this August, I thoroughly researched the best insect repellents, especially as I am highly allergic to mosquitoes (I get massive welts that itch--and are often hot to the touch--for days). I also worried about the no-seeums and sand flies. We planned to trek through multiple rainforests and spend some time in the hot, humid Caribbean, so I wanted to be well covered! Originally, I thought I needed a 100% DEET product, but after much research, I learned that it was not necessary to have such a high concentration (which could also cause adverse reactions). I decided to go for products in the 30-40% DEET range, and ended up buying three different ones: the Repel Sportsmen MAX pump spray, the Repel wipes, and the Ultrathon cream.
I am writing this review to say that ALL of them worked well, BUT I HATED using Ultrathon. Like some reviews said, it is very sticky (does not absorb into skin). Therefore, everything sticks TO you! Dirt, sand, bugs...you name it. AND once stuck, it is almost impossible to get things like sand and dirt off without a heavy-duty scrubbing (brushing only smears everything). When you are already in a hot, humid climate, bug repellent makes you feel dirty as it is; Ultrathon, however, made me feel the ickiest. The Repel pump spray and wipes never had the sticky problem, worked very well, and did not smell offensive (except a little when you first apply them--outdoors, of course). Therefore, I'd recommend them instead.
I'd actually recommend getting BOTH Repel products. The wipes are good for carrying in a pocket and using quickly. They are especially good for small areas like your neck. I also tucked them in the bottom of my hiking pants (which cinched) to ward off sand flies while looking at turtles nesting on the beach at midnight. I even used them to wipe down for a little extra protection when in some of the more "rustic" accommodations at night. The Sportsmen MAX spray, however, was good for a more hands-free application (with Ultrathon and the Repel wipes, you have to wash your hands THOROUGHLY for several minutes after using them--especially with Ultrathon). The Repel spray was also good to spray on clothes (for things I either hadn't pre-treated with the Sawyer permethrin spray or things that were water-proof so that the permethrin wouldn't sink in). I think it was also easier to cover larger areas of skin.
I hardly got any bites at all, even when walking through swarms of mosquitoes! Most of the ones I got were indoors in bathrooms (when I wasn't wearing anything). I only got, maybe, 3 or 4 outdoors (two of them on my butt through untreated hiking pants--that's when I started spraying a little Repel on my clothes, too!).