Best insect repellent spray to use in the UK

Insect repellent is one of the best ways to prevent bug bites when out and about – here’s the very best bug sprays for UK adventures.

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mosquito nets over outside beds

A good bug spray is an essential item for every hiker, camper, and traveller.

The Adventure Pending team has tried and tested a whole range of insect repellents and bug sprays over the years – we’ve used them when travelling, hiking, camping, and even just hanging out in the back garden. 

Having said this, we’re also very aware of the debate surrounding these sprays. This is why all the products listed below are DEET-free insect repellents, helping to protect both the environment and the health of the wearer. Keep reading to discover our top four insect repellent sprays available in the UK. 

Author’s notes

If (like me) you’re one of the unlucky few who insects seem to love chewing at – you’re going to want to keep reading this insect repellent guide!

Best DEET-free insect repellent

Pyramid’s DEET-free insect repellent is perfect for those with sensitive skin, children over the age of two, and pregnant women. This Saltidin®-based spray provides protection for up to 12 hours and is proven to be as effective as 50% DEET products. 

Pyramid’s repellent is also sweat and splash resistant, non-greasy, and easy to apply. It’s even available in biodegradable wipes should you prefer.

This is a no-brainer if you want to avoid DEET sprays while maintaining the same level of protection against bugs when out and about.

Pyramid Trek Deet Free Insect Repellent

Our PickPyramid Trek Sensitive Insect Repellent

This Trek insect repellent from Pyramid is a fantastic DEET-free option, proven to work just as well as its chemical counterparts. We like that this spray is also very gentle, making it a perfect choice for children or those with sensitive skin.

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • Natural ingredients
  • Vegan
  • DEET-free
  • Gentle formula
  • Can feel slightly sticky
  • 100ml
  • DEET-free
  • Mandarin orange scent

Best insect repellent spray for body

A little unusual, but this Avon spray is one of the best-kept insect repellent secrets out there. The Skin So Soft line wasn’t originally created to work in this way, but its bug-repelling properties have now been loved by users for decades.

We’ve singled out this product as the best insect repellent for the body as it’s also super moisturising. The fast-absorbing spray nourishes the skin without feeling greasy or heavy, and also smells amazing! 

You might also like the Skin So Soft Enhance and Glow Spray – this gradual tanning spray uses Citronellol to act as a further barrier against insects. 

Avon Skin So Soft Insect Repellant

Also Great – Avon Skin So Soft Dry Oil

Although originally created as a simple body oil, the Avon Skin So Soft line is loved by many for its insect-repelling properties. This spray is also super nourishing and smells great!

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • Infused with jojoba oil
  • Contains citronella and lemon
  • Pump dispenser for easy application
  • Locks in moisture
  • Not a specific insect repellent, but certainly works as one!
  • 2 x 150ml bottles
  • DEET-free
  • Lemon scent

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Best Jungle Formula spray

Jungle Formula seems to be everyone’s top choice when it comes to bug spray. This is for good reason –  it’s a high-quality brand that creates a whole range of insect repellants for every situation. Take a quick flick through the Jungle Formula shop and you’ll find sprays fit for destinations all over the globe, repellent plug-ins, wristbands for children, and more.

There’s just one thing to bear in mind when it comes to Jungle Formula – many of the brand’s products contain DEET. You will find this increases alongside the strength of the spray you choose, which is why we’ve featured the DEET-free outdoor and camping formula here. 

This provides up to 6 hours of protection from mosquitos, midges, ticks, horse flies and more that you might find when hiking and camping in the UK. If you would prefer a stronger repellent, opt for Jungle Formula’s Maximum Strength spray – though this contains up to 50% DEET.

Jungle Formula Insect Repellent

Jungle Formula Pick – Jungle Formula Outdoor and Camping Spray

Jungle Formula has been one of the top insect-repelling brands for years. This Outdoor and Camping spray is DEET-free and great for adventures in the UK. 

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • Created for outdoor and camping
  • Up to 6 hours of protection
  • Contains aloe vera
  • Great DEET-free Jungle Formula option
  • Not as strong as Jungle Formula’s DEET options
  • 90ml bottle
  • DEET-free
  • Up to 6 hours of protection

Best Incognito insect repellent

Recommended by the NHS and Public Health England, Incognito is a fantastic all-natural and vegan insect repellent. This Incognito lotion protects against mosquitos and other biting bugs for up to seven hours while also working to moisturise the skin.

Simply shake the bottle before use and apply an even layer to the skin for up to seven hours of protection. This formula is completely DEET-free and can be used on children from the age of 6 months.

We love how gentle and natural this formula is, but it definitely still packs a punch when it comes to keeping bugs at bay.

Incognito Insect Repellent Lotion

Incognito pickIncognito Insect Repellent Lotion

Incognito offers a fantastic insect-repellent range with clinically proven, natural formulas. This lotion is our top pick as it guarantees an even coverage and keeps the skin moisturised.

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • Lotion for an even application
  • Vegan
  • Moisturises skin
  • Protects for up to 7 hours
  • Costs more than other bug sprays
  • 100ml bottle
  • DEET-free
  • Soil Association-approved

How to apply insect repellent spray

Applying insect repellent is pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few tips you can keep in mind to maximise the effectiveness of your spray. Use our pointers below to safely use your insect repellent and stay bite-free:

  • Only apply repellent to exposed skin and clothing – do not spray underneath your clothing.
  • Avoid contact with your eyes and mouth. To use insect repellent on your face, apply it to your hands first.
  • Spray in open areas and avoid inhaling.
  • Don’t forget your ears!
  • Check your spray’s instructions to find out how often you should re-apply.
  • Wash treated clothing before using repellent again.
best insect repellent for the UK

Why should you use insect repellent?

We all know insect bites can be painful and irritating, but there are also a number of more serious reasons why you should apply insect repellent when out and about. Bites from mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs can cause serious problems – think Lyme disease, Malaria, the Zika Virus, and Yellow Fever.

Some areas of the world are more at risk of these diseases than others. According to Jungle Formula, Sub-Saharan Africa carries more than 90% of global cases of Malaria, while high-risk areas for the Zika Virus include South and Central America.

For added protection, we would recommend combining your use of insect repellant with a number of other preventative measures. Here are a number of other things you can do to prevent bug bites:

  • Wear long clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Sleep under a net (mosquitoes bit most during the night)
  • Avoid camping near water
  • Keep windows and doors closed

FAQ: The best insect repellent sprays

Looking for the answer to a question about the best insect repellent for UK adventures? Check out our answers to the most popular questions in the FAQ below.

Bug spray has an average shelf life of around years before reaching expiry. If your spray is pretty old and doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to, it’s likely you need to purchase a new one. Expired bug spray may also smell different or change in texture.

Apply insect repellent to clean skin and clothing, avoiding open wounds and the eyes/mouth. Check the instructions on the bottle for reapplication instructions – most sprays last between 4 and 7 hours before reapplication is needed.

Pyramid’s Trek Sensitive spray is one of the best all-around insect repellents. It’s great for children aged 2+ pregnant women, and those with sensitive skin. This spray is DEET-free, but proven to work as well as 50% DEET products.

Have an insect repellent-related question that you can’t quite find the answer to? Don’t be a stranger – reach out to the Adventure Pending team and we’ll get back to you with a tailored suggestion!

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