Meet Sawyer Permethrin: The Outdoor Insect Repellent For All Your Gear

There’s a certain reality to the bugs we encounter in the outdoors. Spring is the optimal time of year for mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, and an endless assortment of flying, many-legged things. Some of them are annoying, others carry diseases.

Sawyer’s Permethrin spray is an odorless inspect repellent that, unlike applications you put on your skin, is built to treat your gear. That gear includes clothing, shoes, tents, backpacks, and more. All of these items are places bugs will inevitably flock to in order to reach you — and if you treat them with Permethrin, they simply won’t reach you.

Sawyer-Permethrin-types-of-spray
Sawyer Permethrin is insect repellent that you apply to clothing and gear, not your skin. It works extremely well, and comes in two sprays.

Simply spray the Sawyer Permethrin onto your gear while outside, let it hang to dry, and then wear when trekking through buggy territory. Each article you treated will repel insects for six weeks, or after six washing cycles. Follow Sawyer’s thorough instructions for how much Permethrin to use.

Sawyer makes their Permethrin spray in trigger spray bottles of 24 and 12 ounces, and in an aerosol continuous spray. We’re fans of the 24-ounce trigger spray, but every method works well.

See Sawyer Permethrin Trigger Spray

Unique Features of the Sawyer Permethrin Spray

Sawyer’s Permethrin Spray is unique in that it’s meant to be applied to your gear, not your skin. And it’s very important to remember this, because it’s not supposed to come into contact with your skin at all during the application process.

Sawyer-Permethrin-can-spray-in-action
The Permethrin Convenient Spray in action. Make sure to soak the garment, stay clear of the liquid itself, and do it outside.

The Sawyer Permethrin liquid actually bonds to the fabric fibers of your hiking shirt, pants, socks, boots, tent, etc., and when a tick or mosquito comes into contact with that fiber, it has an immediate reaction. It’s not uncommon to see ticks, for instance, trying to flee clothing (and your body that’s wearing it) when treated with Permethrin Spray.

It’s also odorless, which is best for outdoor use, when odors can cause other wildlife, like bears, to come a-sniffing.

Apply Permethrin Spray Correctly

The main thing you’ll want to do to treat your gear is to make sure you apply the Permethrin spray correctly. Sawyer recommends spraying directly with a slow sweeping motion with the bottle roughly six inches from the fabric you’re treating.

2-Sawyer-Permethrin-trigger-spray-installation-1
The Sawyer Permethrin Trigger Spray is easy to use and setup.

Treat each side of the gear and make sure you can see a visible dampness (even color changing). This ensures there’s enough liquid to thoroughly bond to the fibers.

1-Sawyer-Permethrin-shirt-1
Before and after spraying just the left side of the shirt. Make sure you can see visible dampness. If you don’t, continue treating.

Our best recommendation is to apply the Sawyer Permethrin treatment to socks, boots, your hiking shirt, and pants, as these are the items closest to the ground, and where ticks usually find you. That said, if you’re preparing to adventure into an area you know to be ripe with a specific insect — like mosquitos — you can literally treat every piece of gear, from the tent mesh to the backpack to the rain jacket.

Sawyer-Permethrin-trigger-spray-get-the-sleeves
When treating clothing, make sure to be thorough. Saturate the sleeves of shirts, very bottoms of pants, and socks.

The main goal is to treat your clothing so you don’t have to apply insect repellent directly to your skin while enjoying the outdoors.

See Sawyer Permethrin Trigger Spray

Who is Sawyer?

Sawyer is an international brand that makes gear to get people outside safely. From water filters to sunscreen to first aid to insect repellent, they are category leaders for outdoor and humanitarian efforts.

The Permethrin Spray is one half of their popular insect repellent product line, with Picaridin being the other half.

See the Sawyer Permethrin Spray, and learn more about Sawyer.


This article is sponsored by Sawyer.

Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

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