BushMan Insect Repellent
By Raymond Estrella
July 16, 2008
Orange County, California, USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Manufacturer: North Queensland Laboratories
Web site: www.bushman-repellent.com
Product: BushMan water resistant insect repellent
Year manufactured: 2007
Weight listed (product only): 75 g (2.65 oz)
Total weight: 106 g (3.74 oz)
The BushMan water resistant insect repellent (hereafter referred to as Bushman or repellent) comes in a plastic squeeze tube that is roughly 1.75 in (4.45 cm) in diameter and is 4.75 in (12.1 cm) long.
The tube is tan in color with red lettering and a red plastic cap. The front label claims that it repels "sandflies, mosquitoes, ticks, leeches (a new one for me) and marchflies". It uses DEET (Deithlytoluamide) as its main ingredient and contains 80% of it. The front label has the manufactures claim that it, "Repels for hours in areas of intense insect activity".
The back label contains directions for use which are as follows. "Apply a small amount to the palm of one hand, rub both hands together then rub thinly & evenly over the skin." They also state that it is an "adult strength, heavy duty insect repellent". No child's play here…
In fact at the very top of the tube it says, "CAUTION keep out of the reach of children". Now they either want to make sure that kids do not use it, or they are appealing to the "ooh, ooh, this is the manly stuff that I must have."
It also lists a bunch of precautionary and first aid statements, along with storage and disposal information. But I am a guy. I don't need that stuff, let's slather it on and get hiking…
While it says that it contains 80% DEET there are no other ingredients listed. The consistency is a little thicker than the oily 100% DEET I have written about here at backpackgeartest.org, but not as thick and creamy as other lower concentration Deet-based repellents I have used. It is almost clear, with just a slight milkiness.
I have been carrying the Bushman repellent since late spring of 2008. It has been along with me on hikes along the Pacific Crest Trail in California to the tune of about 100 miles (160 km) and another 30 miles (48 km) in Minnesota and some early spring trips in the mountains.
The sweat proof claim has been tested in temps up to 90 F (32 C) with some major sweating going on as I was climbing hard.
I have used DEET based repellents for many years and have never had any problem with them due to high concentrations. I know that some of my friends have skin issues with it, but I am lucky in being able to use anything. But I do not care for the oily feel or weird odor of the 100% versions.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
The BushMan repellent does not smell bad. It is not perfumey, but smells like hand soap to me. It does not leave an oily finish as long either. It does feel oily at first, but soaks into my skin and dries fairly fast.
It is very water resistant. In fact it is hard to get off in my experience. Even after washing with soap after I get home I can still smell it on my skin. It is sweat-proof too. As much of the use in California was in desert conditions I was sweating quite hard shortly after starting the hikes. The BushMan stayed put quite well and kept on protecting.
It works very well. I have one instance of a day-hike that explains my feelings as to the usefulness of the BushMan that I will relate here.
On a day hike outside of Moorhead Minnesota, a state known for their 200+ species of mosquitoes, I was repeating a hike that I had taken the day before as I was using the 10 mile 16 km) course to check accuracy of an accelerometer. The previous day had been cool and cloudy and the next day looked to be the same way. But one mile (2 km) into my hike the clouds broke and the temperature quickly climbed.
As I walked along a country dirt road flanked to either side by irrigation ditches a cloud of mosquitoes rose out of one and veered towards me. I had forgotten to bring any repellent as I had not needed it the day before. As I tried to continue I watch another cloud of blood suckers lift and head over. I took off my shirt and swung it to try to keep the skeeters away. No way! I turned around and headed home as fast as I could. (I even ran a while.)
I went back home and applied the BushMan to every bit of my exposed skin. I then rubbed some on my hair as I was not using a hat. Then I drove back to the point that I had to turn around and went forth to do battle.
I watched cloud after cloud of mosquitoes come out to get me. They were in such high concentrations that they cast a shadow I could see in front of me as I walked. But they did not land. They wanted to. I had to make a concerted effort not to focus on all of them flying in front of my face. When little puffs of wind would blow I could feel the mosquitoes pushed into my arms and face, but they did not land. I never got a single bite even though I was surrounded by hundreds (maybe more) of the frustrated little suckers. I wished so much that I had someone with me to take a picture.
I also used the BushMan at my son's Little League games in Minnesota. The grass and trees at the parks are full of mosquitoes and the BushMan kept me skeeter free.
In California it worked well on mosquitoes, gnats and our aggressive and hard biting deer flies.
It goes a long ways too. I still have quite a bit in both tubes (one in Minnesota the other in California). In fact the only recommendation I have for BushMan is to maybe make a smaller size for weight and space conscious ultra-light and light-weight backpackers.
I have not had any problem with it affecting any of my synthetic materials but am pretty careful where I get any DEET based product after learning some hard lessons in the past.
All in all I am pretty impressed with the BushMan product and will not hesitate to purchase it if it becomes available in the United States.
Read more reviews of BushMan gear
Read more gear reviews by Ray Estrella