GEAR BOX

Gear Box: Natrapel easy on the nose, skin

Posted May 18, 2011, at 10:43 a.m.
Last modified May 18, 2011, at 1:39 p.m.
Courtesy photo

For as long as people have ventured outside in warmer weather, they’ve been a free meal to flying biters and stingers. Mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-ums, chiggers, ticks —- the list is seemingly endless.

For nearly as long as folks have been bothered by these tiny buggers, they’ve tried a never-ending array of concoctions to fend off the invasion. Everyone, it seems, has a favorite — Vicks (whew!), Skin So Soft (whew! times two), Old Time Woodsman’s Liquid Fly Dope (whew! cubed); and an array of spray-on, wipe-on commercial products containing varying amounts of DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) that insects truly dislike. It has its detractors, however, who say it should be used cautiously as it can be an irritant and in some cases causes skin reactions.

Who hasn’t heard the horror stories of fishermen who have ruined the finish on their fly rods or sunglasses because they got DEET on them. Anything that softens lacquer maybe shouldn’t be rubbed all over your exposed skin, some say.

Maybe it’s worth checking out the new DEET-free Natrapel 8-hour Continuous Spray, or Natrapel wipes. Tender Corp., maker of Natrapel products, says its formula provides the same protection against these biting critters without the “drama” and smell of many of the other products out there.

Natrapel 8-hour contains 20 percent Picaridin, an ingredient recommended by the CDC to protect yourself from insects that carry potentially deadly diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus and dengue fever. And it’s easy on your olfactory nerve — really, it smells pretty good.

The 5-ounce continuous spray container allows you to get at hard-to-reach skin areas such as the small of the back and thoroughly cover fidgety kids. The retail price is $7.99.

For easy to reach places and with towel convenience there are the foil  wipe packets. They provide the same eight-hour protection while taking up minimal space in a pocket or pack.

Natrapel is reaching out to outdoor enthusiasts everywhere this spring with the launch of a special “Ditch the DEET” online photo contest, which offers the top prize of a free family vacation to the picturesque White Mountains region of New Hampshire. There are other outdoor gear prizes courtesy of promotional partners Eastern Mountain Sports and Adventure Medical Kits. For more on the contest check out www.ditchthedeet.com. The contest concludes on Aug. 24.

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