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March 2023

Gear Review: Thermacell

Guest Authors: Shannon & Tyson Head (@restlesscrusade)

This year out in the backcountry has been quite challenging with the amount of bugs. Our trip to McCrae lake confirmed that. The mosquitos were relentless along with black flies and even horse flies. Our girls spent most of the time in the tent hiding away from them while Tyson and I tried to sit outside and enjoy the day completely covered up including bug nets over our faces. Not the most enjoyable trip.

Shortly after we returned home I started eyeing up the Thermacell backpacker. I was determined to not let these pesky bugs ruin our summer of backcountry camping. After all, we were headed out the following week for another camping trip deep in the bush and hoping to find some relief.

Let me tell you, the Theramcell backpacker is a serious game changer!


  • Lightweight, 129 grams
  • Fuel efficient, 1.3 g/h of fuel
  • Screws into cooking stove IsoButane gas canister
  • Compact, 3.8” x 1.9” x 2.6”
  • Comes with a travel bag
  • No open flames or scents
  • No spraying chemicals on your skin


  • Repellent mats need to be replaced (generating some waste with this product)
  • If it is windy it won’t work

We hiked into camp and the Thermacell was the first thing I pulled out of our pack. I connected it to our IsoButane gas canister and started it up. It was placed on the ground between where we were sitting and our tent pad and very shortly after we already noticed the lack thereof mosquitos, and even the other bugs didn’t seem to be coming around. It provides a zone of protection of 4.5 metres x 4.5 metres which had us all covered. Once the tent was set up we figured the girls would want in immediately but to our surprise they were happily playing with the sticks and rocks around in the proximity of the Thermacell, not complaining of any bugs at all.

For the remaining days of our hike we used it any time we were out of the tent, from cooking meals to just hanging out enjoying nature. A few other hikers even came over to chat with us and commented on how we had no bugs around. This is one of the luxuries we will always bring along with us from now on on any backcountry outing. These pesky bugs will no longer ruin our fun!