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Reviews > Health & Safety > Insect Repellents > ParaKito Sport Band and Rollon > Test Report by Gail StaisilPara'Kito Mosquito Sport Band
and Roll-on Gel Product
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
June 12, 2018
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 160 lb (73 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com
For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.
Initial Impressions and Product Description
The Para'Kito Products arrived as described on manufacturer's website. Two products were included: Mosquito repellent gel and a wrist/ankle sport band. The latter included two pellets plus two extra were sent. The gel for the first product was produced in France (bottled in the EU) and the pellets for the second product were made in France (assembled in the United States). Para'Kito products are made with natural essential oils and can be used in all climates. The products are DEET-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free and were not animal tested. To be perfectly honest I am not a fan of most mosquito products that smell, but the essential oils are more pleasant to my senses than most.
Para'Kito Refillable Sport Band
The waterproof blue-colored band is about 1 3/8 in (35 mm) in width and will fit wrists between 6 2/3 in (170mm) and 10 5/8 in (270 mm). The sport-edition band has several features including a slot for a pellet, a hook and loop closure, reflective stripes, and a little slot for an ID. The latter two are safety features while doing activities. The sport band is made with Lycra. The band does come in other colors, sizes, editions and fabrics. Clips are also available to use with a pellet instead of a band.
As earlier referenced, the band holds a patented slow-release pellet. The pellet should be inserted into the band before use and can be worn on wrist or ankle. It even suggests that if not worn, it could be kept near me. This certainly might work in a tent situation as it can not be worn while sleeping. Each pellet is reported to last about 15 days. The pellet interferes with the mosquitoes sense of smell so it reduces the chance of human or other prey being identified. The active ingredient list is as follows: citronella oil - 34 %, rosemary oil - 22 %, geranium oil - 21 %, mint oil - 10 %, clove oil - 2.5 %, peppermint oil - 1.5 %, cinnamon oil - 1 %. Inert ingredients are vanillin - 8 %. The product is considered a minimum risk pesticide and qualifies for an exemption from regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The expiration date was 1/2020. They can be disposed of with ordinary waste.
There are many cautions to consider when using the band. The pellets are not to be swallowed, licked or ingested. Hands should be washed after handling. They should be kept away from young children when not in use. They also note to NOT wear the band (with pellet) in bed. The final warning states: The efficacy of this product can vary depending on many variables; use of this product does not guarantee to prevent a mosquito bite from occurring.
Para'Kito Roll-On Gel
The Para'Kito Roll-On Gel appears to be simple to use. I can just shake the roll-on applicator, unscrew the cap and apply it to bare exposed skin. The gel is reported to be effective for about five hours before re-application is necessary. The gel slowly releases the essential oils into the air so that mosquitoes have a hard time finding their prey. The gel applicator has a hanging loop which will be easy to attach to a small carabiner if desired. The whole unit can likely be just stuffed in a pocket too. Ingredients are similar (no cinnamon oil) but because they are in gel form, the percentages are quite different: citronella oil - 2.475 %, rosemary oil - 1.950 %, geranium oil - 1.650 %, mint oil - 1.080 %, clove oil - 0.210 %, and peppermint oil - 0.135 %. Inert ingredients make up 92.5 percent of the product. They include water, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, lecithin, sodium benzoate, gum tragacanth, guar gum,citric acid, and sodium citrate. All aforementioned cautions and suggestions apply to this product as well. In addition it is suggested to apply sufficient amount of product, reapply after sweating or swimming and avoid times when mosquitoes are most active. The latter will be hard to do while backpacking! The expiration date on this product is 12/2019
The Para'Kito products seem easy to use and have a pleasant smell. I hope to find out how effective they are on many outings including a June trip to Isle Royale National Park (that means big mosquitoes!!).
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Long Term Report:
October 1, 2018
USA Locations and Conditions
During long term testing I have taken eight Michigan and Minnesota backpacking trips totaling thirty-six days, and many other day outings in Michigan. The forests included boreal and deciduous settings and lakeshore. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2,000 ft (610 m).
Location of Trip #1 Grand Island National Recreation Area
Length of Trip: 2 days, 1 night (June 14-15)
Pack Weight: 19 lb (8.6 kg)
Distance: 12 mi (19 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy
Precipitation: Light rain
Temperature Range: 46 F to 68 F (8 F to 20 F)
Location of Trip #2: Isle Royale National Park
Length of Trip 8 days/8 nights (June 19-26)
Pack Weight: 32 lb (14.5 kg)
Distance: 62 mi (100 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy and sunny
Precipitation: Just a trace of rain!
Temperature Range: 34 F to 78 F (1 C to 26 C)
Location of Trip #3: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Length of Backpacking Trip (backpacking into and out from rustic cabin): 4 days, 3 nights (July 1-4)
Distance: 5 mi (8 km)
Pack Weight: 30 lb (13.6 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rainstorms, sunny, humid
Precipitation: Lots of rain
Temperature Range: 54 F to 89 F (12 C to 32 C)
Location of Trip #4: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Length of Backpacking Trip: 2 days, 1 night (July 17-18)
Distance: 15 mi (24 km)
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Temperature Range: 43 F to 69 F (6 C to 21 C)
Location of Trip #5: Grand Island National Recreation Area
Length of Backpacking Trip: 2 days, 1 night (July 23-24)
Distance: 22 mi (35 km)
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Temperature Range: 56 F to 69 F (13 C to 21 C)
Location of Trip #6: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Length of Trip 12 days/12 nights (August 17-29)
Pack Weight: 28 lb (12.7 kg)
Distance: 91 mi (147 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rain and some sun
Precipitation: Heavy rain twice (many hours each time)
Temperature Range: 46 F to 82 F (8 C to 28 C)
Location of Trip #7: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Michigan
Length of Backpacking Trip: 3 days, 2 nights (Sept 10-12)
Distance: 13 mi (21 km)
Pack Weight: 23 lb (10.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Temperature Range: 45 F to 83 F (7 C to 28 C)
Location of Trip #8: Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
Length of Backpacking Trip: 3 days, 3 nights (Sept 18-20)
Distance: 24 mi (39 km)
Pack Weight: 23 lb (10.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, misty rain
Precipitation: Misty rain
Temperature Range: 49 F to 55 F (9 C to 13 C)
Para'Kito products have traveled with me during all of the above backpacking trips and many day outings. I got to test this product when bug season was in full effect and the only time that I didn't need to use it was during the last trip. There were some mosquitoes at dusk but since I was going to bed I didn't bother using it.
The two products that I tested gave me completely different results. The sport wrist band containing the repellent was always worn on every trip. It seemed like it didn't do much to deter mosquitoes so I had to use the roll-on gel to get any relief. The wrist band repellent smelled strongly but not objectionably enough apparently. I often had to remember that I had the wrist band on when I crawled under my sleeping quilt. Fortunately none of these trips were in grizzly country (although black bears are around) so I wasn't particularly worried when it didn't make it in my food bag. I always stored the roll-on in my bear bag though, as I took the roll-on out of my backpack pocket as soon as I arrived at camp.
On my second trip I did bring a back-up of DEET bug repellent and a head net but fortunately never had to use them. I was going into the worst season and I didn't want to take a chance that the roll-on wouldn't work. What I did find with the roll-on is that it works great in keeping the mosquitoes from biting me. They surrounded me of course but just didn't come in for the actual landing. Oftentimes if they decided to land, I knew I had to use more roll-on. The application period from the manufacturer suggests every five hours. I had to re-apply much more often than that. Mostly every two hours. This didn't bother me though, as there was instant relief from mosquitoes landing and biting.
This pattern held throughout all my trips. The roll-on was effective if used repeatedly while I feel the wrist band did little to help, if anything. I did wonder many times if using multiple sport bands at the same time would help. I guess I will never know. The packaging on the inserts for the wristband suggested that they last fourteen days. It got me thinking that if they lasted fourteen days being exposed to air that they might last longer if not (I do this to hand warmers all the time). I stored the wristband in a zipped bag when it wasn't in use. Not sure if it made it last longer or if it just confined the boundaries of the smell. Since I really didn't have any success using the product whether it was new or beyond fourteen days it didn't matter. I did change out the pellets for any long trip with really no success.
On my sixth trip I spent twelve days backpacking. I really wasn't expecting a whole lot of mosquitoes because it was later in August, but I was truly wrong. Warm, humid and still conditions had me battling them more than usual at that time of year. My sister was with me and she has lived in Arizona for over thirty years where flying bugs are almost non-existent. Lets just say her tolerance for mosquitoes is way less than mine! She did have a DEET product with her but I offered to share my roll-on and she was content with its results. That is BIG!
Because I used the roll-on on so many trips and outings I decided to purchase another as a backup if I ran out while backpacking. That means I carried two of them on some of my trips (because the first one lasted longer than I thought). They are so easy to stow and the product never leaked out. For day outings, I would often loop the handle of the roll-on into a carabiner on my waist belt. It was right where I needed it and because it is so light it wasn't an issue dangling.
I am happy that I have found a natural product that works for me. I do have a high bug-tolerance however as I simply live in a place where they like to dwell. Of course I would rather they not be there. but I deal with them! What is interesting about this test for me is that I generally steer away from anything that has a scent such as essential oils. I use all un-scented products at home so using something with essential oils was never even considered. I found that the smell was pleasant enough that I didn't get a headache or it didn't deter me from using it. It also didn't leave a residue on my skin that I noticed. Just washed up at camp as norm.
Overall I was pleased with the roll-on gel product and will continue to use it next year during bug season. An application didn't last as long as the manufacturer claimed but using it more often was quite effective.
Thanks to Para'Kito USA Corporation and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the mosquito products. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series.
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Read more reviews of ParaKito USA Corp. gear
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