DEET no more. The SkinSmart line of insect repellents from Coleman is DEET-free and said to be odorless and “safe for use on a wider variety of clothing types, including GORE-TEX products.” In addition to some chemical worries, for outdoor enthusiasts repellents containing DEET have been shown to discolor or even dissolve some fabrics. And being a moderate chemical pesticide, DEET is believed to be at least slightly toxic to several species of fish and may be harmful to some mammals.
The new products from Coleman use a supposedly safer active ingredient known as “IR3535.” It is offered in several bug-spray configurations. I found the “Go Ready” spray pen (about $3) to be a great option for forays into the woods. The 5-ounce, pen-like dispenser has a spray nozzle and a clip.
I’ve kept a Go Ready pen stashed in the hood of my backpack nearly all summer. Good for only about 200 sprays, I don’t recommend the pen for family camping, unless you buy a few. (My family nearly emptied one whole pen during a particularly buggy night this summer.)
For outdoor enthusiasts trying to leave no trace by ditching the DEET — or preserve potentially-vulnerable clothing — the new repellent products from Coleman are worth a look.