Three Easy Ways To Deal With Ticks

Three Easy Ways To Fight Ticks

There are three easy ways to deal with ticks that I use throughout the entire tick season. Some of my tick fighting methods may not be a good choice for you, but I’m sure one of the three will be just fine.

The three easy ways to deal with ticks has been discussed on this website before in separate posts – but here I plan to combine them and add some updated information. As an avid outdoorsman I know what works and what doesn’t. The three ways I discuss in this post to deal with ticks really do work.

Three Easy Ways To Deal With Ticks

Let’s face it, ticks suck, literally and figuratively. Where I live in the Upper Midwest the ticks are bad. They tend to show up very early in the spring and last into early November. Their bite can transmit diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and many others.

I hate ticks. I really do.

Ticks are always on my mind when the snow starts to melt. It’s the time of year I start to plan ahead and make sure I’m prepared for dealing with ticks when I head out into nature.

Sawyer Picaridin Lotion. I carry this and the spray bottle on all my outings.
Sawyer Picaridin Lotion. I carry this and the spray bottle on all my outings.

So without further preamble let’s jump into my three ways to deal with ticks. The three bullet-points listed below are my go to methods, and I suspect one of them will work for you.

  • Sawyer SP544 Premium Insect Repellent With 20% Picaridin (spray bottles and lotion, I carry both)
  • Home Brew Concoction, Using Essential Oils
  • Sawyer Premium Permethrin (this one is my favorite!)

Let’s take a closer look at my three preferred methods for dealing with ticks (I saved my favorite tick fighting method for last).

Sawyer SP544 Premium Insect Repellent With 20% Picaridin

This product comes in spray or lotion form and I usually carry both. Picaridin works great! However, the question needs to be asked: is Picaridin better than Deet?

Deet Vs Picaridin – What’s The Difference?


Deet has been around for a long time and was originally developed by the United States Army back in the mid 40s. It’s a synthetic mixture of chemicals that consists of methylbenzoic acid, acyl chloride, thionyl chloride, and then allowing those products to react with diethylamine. Yeah, I know… it sounds nasty. Guess what? It is nasty, and it feels greasy or oily when you apply it. Deet also stinks really bad and makes all your camping clothes and sleeping kit smell, and it can damage some camping gear.

Despite all those negatives Deet works really well to keep biting insects off you. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says that when Deet is properly applied it has no proven side effects or health causing issues.


Picaridin has been around since the early 80s around most of the world, but only started to see more common use in the United Sates twenty-five years later. Since its introduction in the States, Picaridin has been giving Deet a bad name.

Picaridin is a plant extract from the genus Piper, and is related to common table pepper. However, overall Picaridin is till a man made synthetic compound and it has proven to be just as effective as Deet.

No doubt about it, I prefer the Sawyer Picaridin product over anything that is Deet. The reason is that Picaridin works just as well, and it has no smell, no oily feel, and will not damage your camping equipment.

Sawyer Picaridin Products
Sawyer Picaridin Products

Sawyer Picaridin Spray Bottle Application

I always carry around one Sawyer (4 oz) spray bottle. It gets used to spray down some of my camp gear when out in the wilds. It’s safe for your gear! So I use it on my tent, tarps, clothes, and even my sleeping bags or blankets.

The Sawyer Picaridin spray application last for 12 hours against mosquitoes and ticks, and up to 8 hours for other biting insects like black flies, gnats, and chiggers.

Want to buy and read amazing reviews of this product? See image/link directly below:

Sawyer Picaridin Lotion Application

I also carry around one bottle (4 oz) of Sawyer Picaridin lotion. I use the lotion directly on open skin. The spray application works for skin contact too, but I just prefer to use the lotion for that application.

The Sawyer Picaridin lotion last for 14 hours against mosquitoes and ticks, and 8 hours against flies, gnats, and chiggers.

Sawyer insect repellent products get high marks by reviewers. I know it does for me and recommend it. It’s EPA and CDC approved. It’s safe for your camp gear, safe for pregnant women and those who are breastfeading, as well as small children.

Want to buy and read amazing reviews of this product? See image/link directly below:

Home Brew: Using Essential Oils To Repel Ticks

In the very early Spring when ticks and other biting insects are just starting to show up, I sometimes turn to essential oils as a tick and insect repellent.

From my own experience, which may conflict with others, essential oils work great when the ticks and insects are not that bad. In full swing of summer they suffer a little and just seem to work ‘okay’, and I tend to not use them, instead turning to Sawyer products.

With that said, Essential Oils used to repel ticks does work. My wife loves using it. Sometimes she buy is mixture online but mostly she makes her own.

Essential Oils Tick Repellent Recipe

Here is my wife’s essential oils tick repellent recipe. She gets all the items to make her home brew tick repellent from a local natural store.

  • 2oz amber spray bottle
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup witch hazel.
  • 1/4 cup distilled water.
  • 1 tbsp rubbing alcohol.
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil.
  • 20 drops lemongrass essential oil.
  • 10 drops cedarwood essential oil.
  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil.

The above tick repellent recipe makes a sizable batch. My wife fills a handful of 2oz bottles from it. They are smaller, but handy to carry around.

Essential Oils Tick Repellent Application

Essential oils need to be diluted and the recipe above does that. They can still irritate the skin even when diluted, and should only be sprayed/applied to outer clothing.

When I use my wife’s home brew tick repellent in the early Sprint and late Autumn, I apply it a few times throughout the day, as it seems to fade away faster than the Sawyer Picaridin products.

Sawyer Premium Permethrin Review: It Kills Ticks!

Of my three easy ways to deal with ticks, Sawyer Premium Permethrin works so well it actually kills ticks dead. DEAD! However, with that said, this is the one method that you really need to be cautious when using.

BE AWARE: If you are a cat owner you will want to avoid having Permethrin around, as it is highly toxic to them. Dogs do not need to worry. This is an amazing product that works better than anything above, but you need to read up on it thoroughly before buying and using.

It can be purchased in a concentrate that will need to be diluted for use, or in already diluted spray bottle straight from Amazon. Cabela’s also carries the spray bottle version, but they can be expensive unless they have a sale going on.

Sawyer Permethrin Kills Ticks!
Sawyer Permethrin Kills Ticks!

I personally only buy and use Sawyer’s Permethrin spray bottle version as it’s the easier method to apply. It get’s applied to your camp gear and clothing – not to your skin.

Sawyer Premium Permethrin Points Of Detail

  • Permethrin treated clothes can last as long as six weeks and through six washing cycles before they will need to be retreated.
  • It’s odorless after drying.
  • Permethrin is effective against the Yellow Fever Mosquito, which can transmit the Zika Virus.
  • Permethrin is effective against ticks, chiggers, mites, mosquitoes and more; as effective as 100% DEET and PICARIDIN.
  • When insects like mosquitoes and ticks eat or just touch anything with Permethrin, their nervous system is attacked causing spasms, paralysis, and death.  Take that ticks!
  • Permethrin is dangerous to cats and your pet fish.  Smartly avoid using it if you have either.
  • Always read the product label for application guides and other important information.

How To Apply Sawyer Permethrin With The Spray Bottle

Sawyer Permethrin is applied to clothing and camp gear only, never to direct skin. I also will spray my dog’s color with it and let it dry, then put in back on him – works fantastic! My dog rarely ever has a tick.

Here Is How I Apply Permethrin At Home

  • Go to a well ventilated location, such as a garage or outside porch/deck.
  • Hang your clothes with some separation between them and spray them with the Permethrin (read bottle for instructions). Basically jump dampen them! When it comes to pants I also make sure I fold/roll up the cuffs and get that area too.
  • One 12oz bottle should be enough to treat 3-4 complete sets of outdoor clothes.
  • Let your clothes air dry for a few hours.
  • Done!

I use this method the most because it’s so easy. The clothing I treat includes socks, shoes, hats, gloves, shirts, pants, and shorts. I also will sometimes spray the outside of my sleeping gear once in a while, especially when hammock camping.

Want to buy and read amazing reviews of this product? See image/link directly below:

My Three Easy Ways To Deal & Repel Ticks

Well there you have it. These three methods work the best against ticks.

I always treat my primary camping clothes with Permethrin to kill ticks dead. I also carry around Sawyer Picaridin as an added buffer and help with mosquitoes. Those two combinations work the best, and I have the upmost confidence in them, and I spend most of my outdoor time in a heavy tick and insect region of the Upper Midwest.

Thanks for reading three easy ways to deal with ticks!



TD is the owner and publisher of TD All Outdoors. He has been enjoying the outdoors since since he was a child. Over the years he has spent as much time as he can solo wilderness canoe tripping, overlanding, hiking, fishing, bushcrafting, hunting, hammock camping, and more. Aside from this blog, he also own his own coffee brand,

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