Off Clip-on Mosquito Repellant by Kevin Gardner
During a recent sheep hunt, it was more than noticeable the amount of mosquitoes and other bugs that were out on an early May day. A warm front that had settled over the area for a few days prior to the hunt had apparently been sufficient to bring out the first run of insects of the season in full force. When on the move it was hardly noticeable, but after stopping for just a few moments the swarms were mounting quickly.
Some friends had recommended various products over the years for repellant and every chance that presented itself to purchase a new repellant found me at the counter with a different product in hand on each occasion. This was not because the previous spray I had tried was inadequate; it was simply a matter of wanting to continue a quest for something that solved all of my problems in one can.
Naturally after being unprepared for the May bug-up I had just endured, it was time to seek out something that would serve my needs during another upcoming sheep hunt just two weeks away. I have always had a point of contention with spray repellants leaving me feeling like I needed a shower shortly after applying them. The collection of dust from Rocky Mountain trails that seemed to stick to my skin with the aid of the spray-on was also annoying. Add to that having to apply a spray to my face the way a young guy applies aftershave before a night out at the clubs, I often resented doing so after sweat ran the chemicals into my eyes. Needless to say anything new was worth a look.
Perusing through the many options on the shelf, the Off clip-on repellant caught my eye. I looked intently at the packaging as I pondered using a repellant that emanated from a plastic and somewhat inexpensive dispenser, keeping me free of pelting myself with a spray. Again I was willing to try the new thing and see if it could hold up to the demands of my practical application. I purchased the unit and a pack of the replacement pads and slipped them into my backpack, ready for the next hunt.
As fate would have it the day broke with a sometimes heavy wind and light rain. Being a guide and on the move most of the day, I figured I was likely not going to need the repellant with the windy conditions. Thus I kept it in my bag through most of the morning. After lunch I was working with a hunter who had the exact same unit attached to his hunting jacket. We talked about how it was performing for him and I inquired as to how much he had the occasion to use it, as during the time we spoke there was no wind or any insects present. He said he turned it on out of natural instinct when he stopped moving for periods of time. My reaction was that it seemed worthless to waste on a day that there seemed little or no activity. That changed as I moved on to check on another hunter a short distance away that had no repellant and was being swarmed every chance he had to stand still.
I waited until we had harvested an animal and put the unit to work. It seemed to keep the worst of the bugs at bay during the tagging and pictures period of time, for that I was grateful. On the move again and encountering more pests the unit seemed to work well once you were in a stationary position for at a minimum, five minutes, but worked well after that initial saturation.
The unit seems to have little effect when on the move, so it was determined to save the battery life and the value of the contained pad to turn it on when stationary and sure to not need to move for a period of time. The fan motor itself seems quiet, but I am certain it is audible to the keen ears of wildlife. While a minimal humming sound is produced, it may be a consideration for some hunters.
The unit appears to not emit an odor that I could detect, and certainly not to the extent that spray repellants do, but again I may elect to use this unit in conjunction with a trail cam in the future to see what result it may yield.
Overall I was pleased with the result of the Off Clip-on and elected to try it most recently on a photo safari on a warm summer day. The unit performed very well as I did do more stationary activity than on the move work. The animals seemed unaffected by the combination of the smell and the sound, but many animals are more tolerant during the hot summer months where they generally are more habituated to scent and activity.
I would recommend the Off Clip-on as a somewhat inexpensive opportunity that keeps the spray and chemicals off of you directly, but would advise doing a bit of field testing yourself during preseason scouting or in conjunction with a trail cam as mentioned before relying on it on a delicate bow hunt. A rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars would be appropriate for the price, compactness, design and effort. I doubt there is a truly effective solution for the still-hunter or hunting guide, but the folks at Off sure come close with the Clip-on.
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