Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller


Weight 114 g / 4.0 oz
Dimensions 97mm H x 50mm W x 67mm L



An excellent solution to the eternal mosquito problem.

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40


An excellent solution to the eternal mosquito problem.


  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Uses the fuel most of us already have
  • Not a strong odor


  • Performance might be affected by wind
  • Mats need to be disposed of carefully

Face it. One of the most uncomfortable things out in the wilderness is those little insects that bother, bite, and suck our blood. It can make a lovely trip a nightmare.


Thermacell has for many years made mosquito repellent devices for home, patio, and hunters/anglers. But most of their products are too bulky and heavy for backpacking. New this year is their "Backpacker" model, which is designed for those of us who travel light.

The heart of the system is a small "mat" embedded with Allethrin, a synthetic version of pyrethrum, a botanical found in Chrysanthemum flowers. The "mat" is heated gently, which puts the chemical into the air. In general, Allethrin has low toxicity for humans and birds (but can be toxic to fish and cats). 

The Backpacker repellent device is lightweight at 4 oz, and the manufacturer claims up to ninety hours of run time with a 4 oz gas canister. The "mat" starts out blue, and as the Allethrin is burned away, it turns white, indicating that it needs to be replaced. A "mat" is supposed to last for four hours each, and I have found this to be pretty accurate. Take care in disposing the used "mats," to avoid environmental impact.


My first chance to test the device, was in our backyard in Sacramento. Sitting on our back patio on warm spring evenings, the mosquitos can get pretty annoying. To operate, one simply moves the on/off valve to the on position, and click the piezo starter once or twice until it ignites. The glow is faint, so you have to look through the screened vent carefully to see that it is lit.

Within five minutes, every mosquito in our patio had disappeared. And we could just enjoy our wine without being bothered. The scent is very faint, and much less noxious than citronella, almost pleasant.

My second chance to try it out was on a damp spring campout in the Sierra foothills. Again, the large number of mosquitos who had gathered to greet me, disappeared within a few minutes. The air these two evenings was fairly calm. I would think if  it were breezy, it might negatively impact its performance. But on this occasion, my whole eating, sleeping, and campfire area was bug free (Thermacell claims a 15' x 15' area of coverage).

The device comes with a carry sack, and is about as simple to operate as it gets.


I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first. But so far, I am very impressed with this device, and look forward to trying it this spring and summer.


Nice review David! fI may have to invest in one of these. don't know as I'd take it on a thru-hike, but definitely could find it's way into my pack for an overnighter/long weekend jaunt. :-)

2 months ago

I've been waiting for a review of this device; think I'm gonna go get one. We've had unseasonal amounts of snow in the PNW so my guess is mosquitos are going to be a real problem this year (not that they aren't every year). 4 ounces doesn't seem to be much of a weight penalty either.

2 months ago
David Link

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical, but it worked great for me. And super easy to use.

2 months ago

Interesting. If not for your review, I would have considered this to be a gimmicky product. Keep us updated if you find your opinion changes.

2 months ago

This is a great evolution to their older handhelds,…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $35


This is a great evolution to their older handhelds, which were bulky and require their proprietary fuel cartridges. I hate DEET. I feel this is a far better solution.


  • Uses fuel you will already have
  • Much lighter then previous models
  • Easy to use


  • Mats won't last all night
  • You'll get a little isobutane on your hand when you remove from the canister.

I've used the handhelds for years from BBQ's to week-long backpacking trips. These just plain work and you don't have to cover yourself in DEET!

These are smaller, lighter, and don't require Thermacell fuel! I've already tested this new unit and it works flawlessly. 


Welcome to Trailspace, Cort. Thanks for the review!

2 months ago

Thanks Goose!

2 months ago

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