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.