I'll never forget the first time I saw a ThermaCELL used in the field. A young guide in Florida pulled one out of his turkey vest as we settled in while waiting for sunrise. I'd been super impressed with the guide to that point, but I'd be lying to you if I didn't admit to silently scoffing at his belief in such a marketing gimmick.
Boy was I wrong! Not only did the ThermaCELL keep us bug-free that muggy morning in the swamps of central Florida, but in the years since I've used a ThermaCELL on untold numbers of hunts for spring turkeys and black bears, as well as early fall adventures for whitetails and bears.
ThermaCELLs work as advertised. Period.
Here's how it works: A ThermaCELL is powered by a single butane cartridge. Butane provides the cordless, portable heat that activates the device. The heat generated by the butane cartridge is directed to a metal grill. A small mat, saturated with odorless repellent, sits on top of the metal grill. Heat vaporizes the repellent, allowing it to rise into the air.
The repellent is allethrin, a copy of a repellent that naturally occurs in chrysanthemum flowers. It repels mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums, and will not harm humans or pets.
Within minutes after turning on a ThermaCELL it creates a 15x15-foot area of repellency. Note: It repels bugs, it doesn't kill them. So if you're sitting in a ground blind, like I was this past weekend on a particularly buggy weekend of turkey hunting in Minnesota, you'll see mosquitoes refuse to enter the open windows of a blind, and those bugs that end up inside the blind before you fire up the ThermaCELL will quickly head for the nearest exit.
I'm as skeptical as anyone when it comes to products that make big promises, but ThermaCELL is one item I believe in 100 percent. Check out the photo below from a recent black bear hunt and you'll see a ThermaCELL front and center in my stand.
P.S. All ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent products use the same refills, which contain both repellent mats and butane cartridges.
Bonus Video: Eliminating Noise While Bowhunting