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Dear Natalie: Try No Bugs Insect Repellant Products

Ask Natalie Banner Dear Natalie: Who else does this?

By Natalie McCarthy

Dear Natalie,

I love spending time outdoors, but I don’t love insects. I’ve considered dropping an insecticide bomb on my entire region, but I heard that was a criminal offense. Do you have any ideas?


Bitten and Itchy



Dear B & I,

It’s so strange how local governments generally frown upon the use of wide-scale chemical insect repellants. Oh, it’s fine when they do it, but when I’m trying to hold a five-year-old’s birthday party in the park and keep the kids from getting West Nile, it’s “a felony” and “subject to a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.”

Anyway, it’s lucky that we have options. Of course there are the typical topical products, like bug spray and ointment, and those tend to work decently. They also tend to wear off over time, especially if you’re sweating. Plus, they have a particular – how do the French say it? – stench. I mean, no offense, Bug Spray Makers of the World, but your products tend to reek.

Insect repellant isn’t my favorite beauty product, but it’s necessary. Every spring, in a particular area of Southern Oregon where I hike quite a bit, ticks and mosquitoes gather and conspire against humanity. If I come home with only one minor mosquito bite, I’ve had a good day. Imagine my delight when NoBu.gs® Repellent Clothing and Gear offered to send me some goodies manufactured to repel insects, with the promise that not one of the items would stink.

I received four really cool items from NoBu.gs: A pair of socks; a hooded t-shirt; a blanket; and a pair of cooling sleeves, which are basically like those 1980s aerobics leg warmers, but for your arms, and not reminiscent of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” music video.

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But before I dive into the products, let me tell you a little about the company. NoBu.gs is a US-based company that creates clothing and outdoor gear treated with an insecticide called permethrin. Permethrin-treated is endorsed by a number of health agencies across the globe, including the World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada. They say this apparel is an effective way to prevent insect-borne illnesses like Lyme Disease, Malaria, Zika, West Nile and Dengue. The treated items last up to 70 washings, which likely will exceed how long you’ll use them (if I get 70 wears out of a shirt I hike in, let’s face it: I wasn’t hiking hard enough). Permethrin is safe for children, elders, and people with vulnerable health; it does not smell; and NoBu.gs’ items are approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency as safe, effective, and rigorously evaluated.

Something I thought was particularly cool is that NoBu.gs has a charitable organization. It’s called Nobit.es, and its mission is to “become one of the instruments to aid families fighting insect-borne diseases around the world regardless of economic circumstances.” Currently, they are aiding families still reeling from last year’s disastrous hurricane in Puerto Rico.

Now, onto the good stuff!


Hooded t-shirt

I’m kind of picky about the texture of my clothing. I am not the type of person to tolerate itchy or rough clothing for the sake of fashion, and if a fabric generates too much static, I usually get frustrated and change. Immediately, I was in love with the soft, relaxed feel of the blue hoodie I received. Once I tried it on, I was delighted that it was not super short – I like shirts that hit me around my hips, and this hoodie was just right! I was so excited, I took a selfie in a hotel mirror, like I was a teenager… in a hotel by myself because evidently, my parents are lax.


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Drawbacks?  While the sleeves were a bit long for me, I don’t fault the company for that; I tend to order up in size and because I am a short person, all my sleeves are too long. One thing that did bother me a bit was the size of the company insignia!  One sleeve was emblazoned with a patch bearing the company logo and name, and this patch was the width of my wrist. I felt like I was wearing advertising, and I was thankful I could roll up the sleeve and hide it. Here’s the funny part about that: The logo itself is actually kind of cool. It’s a green octagon shape. Had the patch been only that logo, I probably wouldn’t have cared as much.


Cooling sleeves

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I loved these! The sleeves came in their own little zip-lock pouch, which is perfect for storing them afterward. The fabric was a dry-wicking, sort of compression type material, and it did not add any heat to my arms (which is lucky, because autumn has been warm in my region). They’re not something I’d wear out and about, of course, but for hiking, they’re wonderful.  Again, the logo is ginormous and I’m not sure what’s up with that – my arms were, indeed, moving billboards. I suppose because these aren’t something I’d wear anywhere but the wilderness, the size of the logo didn’t bother me as much as it did with the shirt. Honestly, given how comfortable and fun these are, I can overlook the logo size. 



These were so soft and comfortable! I love that they’re shin- to knee-length, depending on your height. I am, in fact, one of those weirdo hikers who often wear shorts with socks pulled up to my knees (it’s an air flow thing, man). These were delightfully cozy and did not veer into “my feet are overheating” territory.


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They’re a gray color with the NoBu.gs signature green outlining the heel. There’s a graphic of a bug with a green “no” circle over it, and I thought that was kind of cute.



This is the perfect picnic blanket, and let me tell you why.  First, let me warn you: It’s me and the texture of the fabric. Sorry. It’s a thing with me. Anyway, this is the perfect picnic blanket because each side has a different texture! Have you ever picnicked with a fleecy blanket, only to find that every twig and speck of dirt from the ground clung to the fabric? Yeah, I can’t stand that. This blanket has a sleek, almost slippery feel on one side, and a cozy-and-warm, nubby fleece texture on the other.


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I love that NoBu.gs rolls the blanket into its own compression sack, so it’s easily stored and toted on your travels. I don’t think I would use this as a sleeping blanket while camping, but it’s definitely one to wrap around you while making campfire s’mores.

Overall, I’m a fan of NoBu.gs. They’re clear that the items only protect what they cover, so I likely still will need to use bug spray. However, I’m pleased to know that I can be a bit more light-handed with it while using these products.

I’m going to buzz off now,






The good folks at No Bugs Clothing have also offered Camping for Women readers 15% off ANYTHING in their online store for the month of November!  All you have to do is to browse their site and enter the code CAMP15 on checkout and the discount will automatically be applied for you.

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