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Reviews > Health & Safety > Insect Repellents > ParaKito Sport Band and Rollon > Test Report by joe schaffer
Para'Kito Sport Band and Gel
NAME: Joe Schaffer
HOME: Bay Area, California USA
I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.
Product: Gel and Sport Band
Para'Kito USA, Inc.
From company website:
DEET-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, no animal testing
Naturally intense Mosquito Repellent
Precise topical application
Up to 5 hours Efficacy
Easy to use and easy to carry
Not suitable for persons with sensitive skin and children younger than six (6) months old
Citronella oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.475%
Rosemary oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.950%
Geranium oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.650%
Mint oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.080%
Clove oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.210%
Peppermint oil . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.135%
Water, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, lecithin, sodium benzoate, gum tragacanth, guar gum, citric acid, sodium citrate.
Shake before use
Roll on skin adjusting number and lengths of lines to infestation level
MSRP: $ US 19.50
Gel Weight, net: 0.67 oz (20 ml)
Band weight, no packet: 0.3 oz (9 g)
Circumference: 6 2/3 - 10 5/8 in (170 - 270 mm)
Thickness: 1/17 in (1.5 mm)
Width: 1 3/8 in (35 mm)
Natural essential oils diffusion - DEET Free
Refillable Bracelet made of neoprene
2 x up to 15 days per pellet
Adjustable wrist & ankle band
Lightweight & waterproof
Insert pellet into bracelet
Wear on wrist or ankle
Or keep it nearby
MSRP: $ US 19.98; 2 refill pellets $ US 13.00
Gross weight: 1 7/8 oz (53 g)
Length: 4 5/8 in (11.75 cm)
Diameter: 7/8 in (2.2 cm)
Empty weight: 1/4 oz (8 g)
Width: 1 5/16 in 3.3 cm)
Length: 12 in (30.5 cm)
Weight: 1/8 oz (2 g)
Width: 3/4 in (2 cm)
Length: 1 5/8 in (4 cm)
Thick: 3/16 in (0.5 cm)
Colors: Black, Blue, Orange, Pink
Received: June 22, 2018
ROLL-ON: This product comes in a tube dispenser with a hand lanyard. The lanyard attaches to the cap. The cap screws on and off. The top of the dispenser looks like a pea-size ball bearing and distributes product in two fine parallel lines laying down a strip of oil about 1/4 in (6 mm) wide on the skin. Not like a smear-on anti-perspirant, it comes out as an oil in a copious delivery. I may find different results with experience outdoors, but the line left alone takes about 7-8 minutes to dry. I won't wait that long; I'll surely rub it around to make it dry faster.
BAND: The active part of the product is a firm gel pellet that inserts into a mesh pocket. The band secures to the wrist via hook-and-loop to adjust to any size wrist or ankle. The underside incorporates an ID tag that slips into a sleeve, leaving enough outside the sleeve to show the purpose. The user can write a name on the tag. The top side of the band also has an arrow indicating ID. The top of the band has five 'chevrons' of reflective material, and the pellet window has a reflective border. The material does not appear to be breathable. The band I got is pink. The band included a pellet and the package I got also included two refill pellets. The pellets are individually packaged and tightly sealed in clear plastic.
Whew! There can be no doubt the bugs will notice this product in either format. My nose detects a sharper eucalyptus scent to the roll-on, and more citronella-type smell in the pellet, though both are obviously of the same nature of potion. The aroma has a very powerful musk-type of miasma that seems to engulf the surrounding area. While the smell is powerful and I wouldn't wear it to attract people, if it repels bugs I will find it wholesomely appealing.
For general context I can say that my tolerance for mosquitoes is fairly high. Most of the year in California Sierras I don't even carry bug dope. I don't apply potions to my skin (which objects to almost anything) as repellents unless the biting/swarming is bad enough I'm starting to panic. This product doesn't have the nasty DEET, so perhaps I'll try it before reaching a high stage of trauma. I hate DEET, but so far it is the only chemical I've ever used that provides effective relief. My standard for effective relief is that I'm not hyperventilating anymore and the bugs are driven far enough back I can resume eating my gruel or reading a book without the damn bugs being top of mind. I'm truly eager to put this product to the test. In fact, I've already used the band and will save that result for the next part of the test report. (Received product the night before leaving for a week trip--time to stick the band in my pack but not chat up the Initial Report. Didn't include the roll-on as didn't expect any bugs. Sometimes I just get so excited about busting out that I don't think everything through as clearly as would be advised.)
1. June 15-21, 2018: Emigrant Wilderness, California. Six nights, 28 mi (45 km) backpacking. Camping at 7,400-8,940 ft (2,260-2,725 m). Leave weight 36 lb (16 kg), return 30 lb (14 kg). Temps 35-75 F (2-24 C). No wind or rain. Bugs bloomed mid-way through the trip.
2. June 23-29, 2018. Emigrant Wilderness, California. Six nights/seven days, 12 mi (19 km) backpacking. Camping at 7,100-7,600 ft (2,160-2,315 m). Leave weight 41 lb (19 kg), return 31 lb (14 kg). Temps 45-80 F (7-27 C). No wind or rain. Light bugs.
3. July 8-15, 2018. Emigrant Wilderness, California. Seven nights/eight days on 28 mi (45 km) backpacking. Hiking at 7,100-8,600 ft (2,200-2,600 m). Leave weight 36 lb (16 kg) return 26 lb (12 kg). Temps 45-85 F (7-30 C). No wind or rain. Light bugs.
4. July 19-22, 2018. Waldo Lake, Oregon. Three nights/four days on a 12 mi (19 km) outing with five miles (5 km) backpacking about 45 lb (20 kg). Temps 40-90 F (4-32 C). No wind or rain. Medium bugs.
1. The first four days the bug load was light enough I wasn't troubled at all. But the morning of Day Five was windless and 70 F (21 C). Bugs are supposed to burn out around that temp, but instead they bloomed in an intolerably pesky profusion. I finally lost patience and brought out the only bug stuff I thought I had--the beautifully pink Sport Band. After a moment of searching I even found the packet for it, which I had not yet opened or inserted. The Sport Band got me terrifically excited as I'd love to have an aura of protection not on my skin. I don't find the odor at all objectionable; and I'm not finding mosquitoes that do either. Evidently the bugs were so infatuated with the color of the band they didn't notice the odor from it. The smell was obvious to me, but seemed to have no repellent effect at all.
I took the packet out of the band and rubbed it all over my face and arms and the shoulders of my shirt. I wouldn't say it had no effect at all, but it had not enough. My test for chemical effectiveness is whether I can eat my gruel or read a book without the bugs being foremost in mind. The Para'Kito didn't pass that test. I packed up quickly and bugged out, thinking I'd get away from them.
No luck. At 9,000 ft (2,700 m) they were everywhere all day. In desperation I removed the packet and smeared it all over my head and hands again, knees and sleeves and the multiple applications seemed to make a bit of difference. I felt like the torture meter went down maybe one notch. Certainly I wanted to believe that or I would have skeedaddled for the car.
Some observations are not so subjective. For example, one bug landed on the packet, though it didn't stay long. Three landed on the back of my hand just inches (5 cm) from the packet and bit in. When I took the band off for the night there was a squashed bug under it.
I often hook my left thumb under a shoulder strap, which put the packet about 10 in (25 cm) from my nose. I had no trouble at all smelling the packet as I trod along, but it seemed not to deter the bugs from landing on my head and face. The picture shows the packet held against the tent netting with four mosquitoes within two inches (5 cm) of the packet. The packet is unwrapped for maybe 24 hours at this point. I estimated with some degree of precision that there were a hundred bugs on the side of the tent where the band is being held. Some bugs lit out when I put the packet to them, but for the most part I felt they were reacting to something being put in their face, not the chemical.
By evening of this fifth day I noticed my cheeks and forehead burning. I thought maybe it was sunburn as I eschew putting potions on my skin and do not use sunscreen. I mopped the areas thoroughly thinking there was an outside chance of reaction to the repellent, since ten years ago I had a substantially greater reaction to a eucalyptus concoction. Next morning my face felt fine. At that point I became a little panicked at the thought I'd have to face the onslaught with no kind of deterrent. In desperation I rummaged my pack in hopes of finding some other kind of dope. Turns out I'd stashed a bit of non-DEET product (20% 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester (IR3535)) I found on the trail several years ago. I spritzed that on me and got enough relief to brave the bugs. If they were still as much trouble lower down, I'd beat feet to the car.
Fortunately the swarms gave out a thousand feet (300 m) lower and the trip was not truncated. I've probably not encountered any more copious clouds of bugs, though at least these swarms were not viciously aggressive. They were pesky beyond tolerance, and my experience to date is that the only chemical that's 98% effective is 100% DEET. I hate it, but my skin does not react to it and the bugs despise it enough to be driven back the distance required to pay them little mind. I did not have the roll on with me this trip; I definitely would have tried it. I was betting that if I needed anything, the band would be enough.
2. The bug load on this trip was so light I didn't need anything. I had the roll on but did not use it. I wore the band most of the time, but I seemed to be swatting as many bugs on that hand as on the other, few as they were.
It came to me that there is no way to turn off the packet. I'd wrapped it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil in my genetic-based compulsion to extend the life of the product. The chemical seemed to have no trouble finding its way through. I rarely have concerns about wildlife, but what do I do with the band when I'm in the tent at night? I don't mind the odor of it, but what if some critter wanted to come in to see what it was? Certainly I love the concept of a repellent not applied to skin. My findings so far are that if it works at all, it works not well enough to allay concerns about whether the odor might attract night-time prowlers. I'm not going to put it in my food bag or can as while I'm not in any way put off by the smell, I don't want it to permeate my food. To be fair, in eight nights of leaving it outside the tent, it has so far been in the same spot in the morning as where put at night.
The roll on should have a flat bottom to stand upright when set on a rock.
3. I had the roll on with me for the trip but did not use it. I wore the Sport Band during all of my hiking hours. The packet was well beyond the (up to) 15 day term cited by the vendor, but I could still smell it easily enough. That the bugs didn't seem to mind it may not be a reflection of the efficacy of the product as much as my penurious ways in using things up.
4. Hikers who've inhaled mosquitoes (or college students or basic trainees suffering tear gas) know what it's like to be caught in a soupy swarm of biting bugs. Welcome to Waldo! Unseasonably intense heat knocked the viciousness out of these vectors, and much of the day they couldn't tolerate the heat at all. However, walking through the woods making trips to the car or for other reasons found them plentiful and pesky. For one of those other reasons I slathered the roll-on all over me--clothes, various parts of skin, hat--and took a three-mile (5 k) stroll along the lake shore. I walked as fast as I could, and the bugs bothered me as much as they could. They did not seem deterred. It is only fair to say the repellent may have been 50% effective and I wouldn't have known. I can only say the repellent was not effective enough to feel relief.
For one other, much shorter visit into the woods I slathered the bottom side of my broad-brim hat until I could literally feel chemical ooze wafting over my face. Out in the sun where I wasn't being bothered that much anyway the effort may have helped. In the woods I got the impression the chemicals provided a landing beacon. Maybe it bothered some of them, I wouldn't know. There were so many not bothered it didn't matter. The roll-on delivers product quickly to skin or clothing. It does not cause any reaction on my skin (unlike many applied products). Unfortunately I don't find it causes much distress to the bugs.
I had the Sport Band with me and a replacement packet. Of course when it came time to unleash the powers of the packet, I couldn't find it. When a couple times I came across it, I couldn't find the Sport Band. I had the roll-on with me at all times and used it frequently. I thought the container would leak, but as much as it got thrashed around in my pocket it never did.
I have camped this area almost every year for 55 years. The only reliable relief I've found so far is wind, temperature and tent; and when those aren't working well enough, 100% oily, nasty, clothes-staining, plastic-melting neuro-toxic DEET smeared on every bit of skin I don't want bitten. I don't like that stuff in my nose, ears, on the edges of my eyelids and other parts that needn't be imagined, but it's the only way to fend off the malicious hordes of mosquitoes, which in turn during the first six weeks after snow melt keep away the burgeoning hordes of humans from Oregon's second-largest natural lake.
The ID tag in the Sport Band does not seem to stay put. I like to pick up at least one piece of litter each day when I leave camp, and twice it turned out to be the little white ID strip. The third time it came out, alas, I never found it.
Summation: I like the product and particularly the band, but the bugs seem OK with it too.
c) not reactive on my skin
d) inadequately effective
Thank you Para'Kito and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product. This concludes my report of the test.
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Reviews > Health & Safety > Insect Repellents > ParaKito Sport Band and Rollon > Test Report by joe schaffer