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.