3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent

Not often I get stuff in for test that has magical powers…

Insect repellent isn’t the first thing you associate with 3M, but they’re actually a very diverse ACME-style company making everything from Post-It notes to welding helmets to giant catapults that slam you into rock faces when you’re chasing the Road Runner. Meep meep.
Ultrathon came already recommended, being endorsed by the UK military and Ray Mears, but as neither of them are spending much time in the west coast of Scotland these days, I think the home team should have a harder time being convinced.
Or so you’d think.
I’ve had this stuff for months, I’ve carried it in my pack on every trip at home or away and not one bloody midge or cleg has come near me without me once actually taking it out and using it. It’s been like carrying insect kryptonite, I’ve lived in a bubble of insect free delight. See what I mean about magical powers?

On the recent Fisherfield trip I nearly didn’t pack it as I was becoming used to carrying it and not needing it, but just before I left the carpark the spray can went in the rucksack lid pocket, just in case. I reckoned that if it did get very sunny then I could at least overcoat my sunblock with repellent rather than try to rub two sets of cream on myself.
True to form, not a single winged pest came near me that first night, even sitting on the beach I had no bother at all. Next day I sun-blocked up and never saw a single beastie all day. Until, I got back to the tent and sat down to make dinner. Within a couple of minutes my bare arms had half a dozen quickly swelling bites, I rummaged for the Ultrathon.
The spray itself is good to use, such was my desperation I sprayed my arms and neck in the tent porch and there wasn’t much in the way of overspray, it all went on me and not my gear. It also smells kinda nice, somehow 70’s, should I really be mentioning that?
I sat back and waited, within seconds a huge cloud of midges appeared at the open tent door and I really thought it was all over, I’d broken the magic spell by opening the can, in the can it was a repellent, on your body it was really a midge magnet. But, although a few landed, none were biting and the crowd soon dispersed. Maybe they were attracted by my panicky breath or something and not the retro perfume of the spray?
I fell asleep for an 90 minutes or so soon after that and I got no more bites although midges were lazily buzzing around me when I woke.

The magic spell is broken, but it looks like the Ultrathon works in the real world too. I’ll keep carrying the Ultrathon and I’ll swap between the cream and spray, they’ve got different concentrations of DEET, the spray having 25% by volume to the cream’s 34% but still proving effective on a trip to the centre of the midge universe.
Updates as we go.

24 thoughts on “3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent”

  1. I think DEET is the active ingredient. I got some 50% stuff from Boots a while back, it works well but I think I’ll avoid the West Coast until Autumn rather than risk the chance of not spraying myself.

    Besides, there are many other places to explore.

  2. Well of course you’re lying – everybody knows nothing works, but if it smells like the 70s then I’ll buy it for those moments when I dig out my Zofo embroidered flares.

    I tried that skin so soft stuff and it bought a little time for getting in and out of the tent but not much. It also made me smell like a woman.

    I might give this a go then…but you’re still lying!

  3. Put me down for a crate of the stuff. They always get under my watchstrap – agony, it is…

    Besides, the SkinsoSoft goes solid when it’s cold.

  4. I thought DEET melted our modern synthetic clothing? – I can remember getting it on my hands and melting through a carrier bag when I touched it.

  5. How come I seem to be the only person who has NEVER been bitten by the dreaded Scottish midge!! Dispite having walked, and even stood in a huge swarm of them with those round me getting bitten!

    Still carry some sort of repellent though… I may not get bitten, but they still have that annoyance factor!

  6. Scotpat, you can’t have mine though.

    SpiderJon, it’s a clever one Skin So Soft, it’s designed to be absorbed quickly into the skin so you have to buy more. Keeps you looking young though :o)

    Aembleton, DEET is the thing, sometimes a contraversial compound, but it seems to be okay as you don’t go daft with the amount you use.
    I’ll be back in Applecross in August, how will it fare there I wonder?

    gypsymac, everything has its fail point. That’s when I put my hood up and run away screaming leaving my wife to pack away the tent…
    I still have flares in the attic. 32″ waist. No bloody chance.

    Alan, it’s worth a shot. I reckon a lot of the different repellent’s success or failure is still down to personal factors, just how attractive your biology is to midges etc.

    markswalkingblog, haven’t tried any other DEET stuff for a few years, I didn’t have such good results, so I was quite surprised by this stuff. The last stuff I had was Mozzy Off which was great, just a bit too oily.

    Beth, aye you still have to be careful, the packaging has a list of don’ts. Some of which I did…

    Ant, send up some blood samples and we’ll experiment!

  7. Apparently vitamin B12 reduces your alergic reaction to midge bites. So you may get bitten and not notice.
    Conveniently it is in brewer’s yeast….

    Deet doesn’t stop the buggers landing on you but just stops them realising that you are a meal so you don’t get bitten.

  8. Alan, that arm in the advert looks painfully familiar.

    Snowdon midges? We should introduce them to ours and start a civil war, maybe they’ll leave the humans alone.

    I see cooked Alaska King Crab also has a good amount of B12. Imagine pulling one of them out of your rucksack at camp?

    Aye, the buzzing continues. Bastards.

  9. Don’t have a problem getting bitten by em where i live but for some reason out running this week i’ve eaten a load of em and don’t really fancy rubbing deet in my top lip. Deet is the best to ward off insects, tried and tested for years and nothing really replaced it.

  10. I sympathise, I swallowed a flying something big enough to hae a bit of texture to it when I was running last time.
    I came over all faint.

  11. Went to Spain about 6 years ago and I had two tins of Jungle Formula spray. Everyone laughed at the Idea of, what they thought was a wee bit extreme. But who was the one mozzie/insect bite free?….Me!

  12. Aye, nothing wrong with being prepared.
    I’ve ran shrieking through the trees enough times to know the value of actually having repellent.

  13. I may have to try this. My usual midge repellent is currently out of action. Elaina is a complete midge magnet, so they’ll always munch their way through her rather than try me :-)

  14. That reminds me of the joke about the two blokes in the jungle. They’re walking along and spot the lion in the bush, ready to pounce. One says do you think we can outrun that lion? Doesn’t matter says the other, I only have to outrun you.

  15. Indeed, though if the lion’s got any sense it’ll sideswipe the first then pounce on the second, so it’ll have seconds ;-)

    Broadsword calling Dannyboy on C5 :-)

  16. The company that makes the dog food I get is now making natural insect repellents (in spray, shampoo and cream forms!)they claim the shampoo is “Perfect for dogs, horses and humans!” so could this be the 1st multi-species insect repellent? :D

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