If you love camping, you hate bugs. Driving them away is largely the focus of camping technology from mosquito nets to date. Read our torch flashlight review if you prefer a slightly smaller lighting option. But driving away bugs across a large area can be tricky even if it’s enclosed and air-conditioned. Fortunately, Thermacell has a new way to keep the little monsters out. For your next outdoor journey, you might also like our guide to the Swiss flame. For a light source that can also capture memories of your experience, you should also read our guide to the video/audio recording flashlight.
It’s actually fairly ingenious, once you understand how it works. First, you flip on the lantern, which is powered by a butane cartridge. As the cartridge powers the lamp, it heats up. That heat is directed through a metal grill with a small mat soaked in allethrin, a natural repellent you find in chrysanthemums The lantern spreads the repellent, which can actually kill bugs, and you sit around the camp site in relative bug-free comfort. Or, if a lantern/flashlight isn’t enough, read our S3 Arctic 1 Watt laser review to upgrade to a laser. If you’re in the market for a different kind of tool, you might also want to read our review of the CarbonLite wrenches (are your old wrenches but with way more carbon fiber).
That said, there are a few downsides. Allethrin is natural, but it can have an impact on bees, which not every hiker is down with. Similarly, the repellent in the lantern won’t last forever and will need to be replaced eventually, although refills are available and easily installed. And, in the long run, being bug-free is probably worth it, if it means a better camping experience.
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