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Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don’t Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent

Natural bug repellent is important for any outdoor adventurer, but it’s especially crucial to bring along on backpacking trips in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. Unlike DEET and Picaridin repellents, natural bug repellents won’t harm the environment or leave you feeling sticky and smelling like chemicals, so you can still enjoy long days of hiking without worrying about annoying bugs flying into your face all day long. With a few simple ingredients from your kitchen, you can make your own natural bug repellent that will last all day long – read on how to do it yourself!

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

What are natural bug repellents?

Citronella, or a similarly scented lemongrass essential oil, for example, has been shown to repel insects just as effectively as DEET. To use citronella, simply rub some on your skin or dab a little behind your ears and on your neck. You can also make it part of an insect-repelling balm that’s easy to carry and apply while you’re hiking—just mix a few drops with coconut oil. If you want something a bit more potent, try adding some rosemary essential oil to your bug spray; studies have found that rosemary is effective at repelling ticks.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

Lavender essential oil

Lavender is another good choice for bug repellent, as it has a strong fragrance that can mask or distract from other smells. Lavender also works well to soothe insect bites and stings—meaning it doubles as an after-bite remedy! It’s best used diluted (1 drop per 1 tablespoon of base oil) in a formula designed to work with your skin chemistry. For example, you could use lavender essential oil combined with coconut oil or jojoba oil to create a custom DIY bug spray. You could also use lavender essential oil in combination with peppermint essential oils to create a natural mosquito repellent. Just make sure you test any combination on yourself before heading out into nature!

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

Essential oils for bug repellents

Eucalyptus, clove, citronella, and lemongrass essential oils are used to create natural bug repellents that can be applied to clothing and exposed skin. Some people prefer to create their own homemade mixtures using these natural oils. Others prefer commercially available brands such as DA Aromatherapy's natural bug repellents.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

The effectiveness of this combination

If you’re planning a backpacking trip and are worried about getting bit by mosquitoes, bring along essential oils of citronella and lemongrass. The combination is believed to be more effective than DEET at repelling bugs—and smells much better, too. Citronella is available at most natural food stores, while lemongrass can usually be found in Asian markets or online. Simply mix equal parts of each oil with water (about 3 tablespoons per quart) and store it in a spray bottle for easy application. Spray on your exposed skin before venturing out into bug territory (or during if necessary). Be sure to shake well before using; both oils tend to separate from water over time.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

Caveats on using essential oils as bug repellents

Essential oils are potent, so it’s important to use them carefully. Be sure to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut before applying them topically; mix 1 drop of essential oil with 3-4 drops of carrier oil. Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin; they can cause irritation and even chemical burns. Also, be aware that some people may be allergic to certain essential oils; if you have sensitive skin or are unsure about using an essential oil, test a small amount on your inner wrist for 24 hours before going out into mosquito territory. If you notice any irritation during that time period, discontinue use immediately. And finally, be careful when using eucalyptus—it is toxic if ingested! As always, consult your doctor if you have any questions about using essential oils topically.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

Other combinations you can use to create your own natural bug repellent

Peppermint oil, lemon balm leaves, lavender flowers, cinnamon sticks, and lemongrass. Read up on natural bug repellents and choose which one(s) you want to use. To boost its effectiveness, mix with a carrier like a witch hazel (or vodka). Before heading out for your trip, apply to exposed skin—don’t worry about staining your clothes!—then pack along a bottle of tea tree oil just in case. The bonus? You’ll smell great, too. There are many different plants that can repel bugs, but be sure to do some research first before deciding what ones work best for you.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellent Spray

DA Aromatherapy's Natural Tick and Mosquito Repellent is made with 7 Organic Essential Oils and provides powerful broad-spectrum protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and many other pesky insects. This Natural Bug Repellent Spray is DEET-free, Picaridin-free, cruelty-free, non-staining, smells great, and is perfect to use for Humans and Pets.
DA Aromatherapy's signature Natural Tick and Mosquito Repellent will keep you sting and bite-free without the use of pesticides that are harmful to humans and the environment. This natural repellent can help to protect you when sprayed in your tent, on the balcony, in a car, on the body, and even on your clothes without staining.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

Our Natural Bug Spray smells amazing and features the most powerful blend of 7 Organic Essential Oils: Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil, Organic Eucalyptus Lemon, and Globulus Essential Oils, Organic Cedarwood (Cedar Oil)Essential Oil, Organic Rosemary Essential Oil, Organic Clove Bud Essential Oil, and Organic Lavender Essential Oil.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents

Developed in 2015 by a family of Hudson Valley Explorers in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellent contains a blend of 7 organic essential oils including lemon eucalyptus oil, which is recommended by the CDC as an alternative to DEET. Several studies have found this natural bug repellent as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. It may also work well against ticks.

Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents
Backpacking in the Hudson Valley: Don't Forget to Bring a Natural Bug Repellent – Hudson Valley hiking adventures with Coach Maxwell Alexander – Presented by DA Aromatherapy Natural Bug Repellents


Hiking tips from DA Aromatherapy:
 If hiking or camping in an area known as a tick and mosquito habitat (such as woods and tall grass), try to protect yourself, and children in particular, by wearing bright colored, long-sleeved tops and pants, tucking the bottoms of the pant legs into long socks. Apply a generous amount of DA Aromatherapy Collection Natural Insect Repellent Spray, as a deterrent, onto clothing and skin. For best results apply frequently. Inspect the entire body after hiking.