Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Review: A Hunter’s Best Friend

Spring turkey season has been in full swing for several weeks. My buddies and I have been spending countless hours in our pop up blinds on the weekends, both morning and nights. Mother nature has blessed south Texas with some much-needed rain this spring, making the land green and wildflowers colorful.

Along with this rain comes the dreaded mosquito. Rainy springs like this can often present the annoying insects that seem to be the size of hummingbirds, and they just love to swarm a hunter patiently waiting on a gobbler. I can honestly say that the crop of mosquitos this year could easily push me to avoid the hunt all together. Some fellow bowhunters recently told me I had to get a Thermacell mosquito repellent appliance; according to them, it is the second item they load for a hunt right after their bow!

I was able to pick one up, and I’ve been able to give it a try on a few hunts. Let’s take a look.

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Review: A Hunter's Best Friend

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliances are easy to take with you anywhere, and are the most effective area mosquito repellents on the market.*

  • Effective against up to 98% of mosquitoes, black flies,
    and no-see-ums
  • Provides protection for a 15 x 15-foot area
  • Safe to use – no open flames or DEET
  • No smelly lotions, sprays, or oils on your skin
  • Compact and easy to take along

*Source: Michael Perich, Ph.D., Director, Walter Reed
Army Institute of Research

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Review: A Hunter's Best Friend

The Thermacell appliances work by using a small butane cartridge to heat directed to a metal grill. A small mat that contains the repellent is then activated by that heat, causing the repellant to evaporate and disperse into the air. The repellent is made from allethrin which is a copy of a scent that occurs naturally in chrysanthemum flowers.

The allethrin is not harmful to animals or humans, but it will repeal 98% of mosquitos and other annoying insects. Once at full power, the appliance creates a 15 by 15-foot radius of bug-free enjoyment. I have found the standard mats to be odorless and noticed a small amount of mist/smoke in the air.

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Review: A Hunter's Best Friend

The butane cartridge inserts from the bottom of the device, and the mat slides in place under the top grill. All Thermacell devices use the same mats and cartridges, which comes in handy if you also own any of the deck lanterns. Flip the switch on the front to the right, and press the button. A small window on the top of the device will indicate when the butane is creating the heat; you’ll see a small heating element light up. Mine usually starts up in three button pushes. If the device will not light, check the butane cartridge and start over. When finished, simply slide the switch back to off and let the unit cool. The Thermacell does not get terribly hot, but I always let it cool before sticking it back into my hunting bag.

The first morning I took it out was muggy and warm — perfect mosquito weather. I had my 4 and 7-year-old sons along with me, and we hit our spot well before sunrise. While my oldest helped me get the pop-up blind set up, he began dancing around slapping everywhere telling me there were mosquitos all over him. We were both covered, which makes my nerves go crazy. I promptly put him back in the truck with his brother and got the tent up.

The first thing I did was start the Thermacell and throw it on the floor of the tent. I set up our gear and decoys, put the boys in the blind and drove my truck down the way to hide it. The first thing my oldest said when I returned was, “Dad, the mosquitos are gone!!!” He was indeed correct, and our morning hunt went without one single bug bothering us. It sure made enjoying an early morning hunting experience with my boys a memorable event. I decided that day that I would never leave the house on a hunt without my Thermacell.

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Review: A Hunter's Best Friend

The Thermacell appliance is light and only eight inches tall. It comes in a variety of colors including olive and Real Tree camo for outdoorsmen. I chose the olive version with the Real Tree appliance holster. For whatever reason, the olive-colored device was $8 cheaper in the camping section than the camo version in the hunting section. The holster is camo, and it practically covers the device anyway, so I went the money-saving route.

The original package comes with three mats and one butane cartridge. This is good for around 12 bug-free hours. I also picked up the refill package that included earth scent mats, which are designed to aid in masking human scent during deer season. The unit fits nicely into the holster which carries a spare butane cartridge and mats and can be clipped to a belt or backpack and stay out of the way. I actually just clip it to the side of my ground blind and forget about it until the hunt is over.

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Review: A Hunter's Best Friend

If you hunt, fish, camp, or like sitting on your deck and are bothered by mosquitos, then the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliance can make your experience much more comfortable. There is no need for horrible-smelling mosquito sprays that get in your eyes and mouth; the Thermacell provides a virtually scent-free, bug-free zone for outdoor enjoyment. For me, it has become a must-have item in my gear bag, both during spring turkey season and early fall deer season. Yes, the mosquitos are bad now, but they are usually brutal during September.

I was so happy with my device the past two weekends, my wife picked up one of their deck lamps to help make barbecues and entertaining bug-free. I purchased my product at Academy Sports, but they will be available at most any outdoor stores and even at some Wal-Marts. Do yourself a favor and get one, if you love the outdoors as I do.

The Thermacell Mosquito Repellant Appliance sells for $25.99; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Stay mosquito free without nasty sprays; Perfect for hunting when scent detection is crucial

What Needs Improvement: I sure wish I had one long ago; It might have saved a few hunting and fishing trips where the mosquitos were too bad to take!

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of Kool-Aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.