Thermacell lantern makes your campsite a no-fly zone for pests


Camping’s great. Bugs? Not so much.

To keep the biters at bay on your next Scouting outing, you can douse yourself with DEET or hide under a mosquito net — or you can fire up your Thermacell Camp Lantern.

The $60 lantern packs enough light — 300 lumens, to be exact — to let you and your fellow Scouts and Scouters play cards, finish setting up camp, read or just sit around chatting long after sundown.

But this lantern has another trick up its sleeve: It creates a 15-foot force field against mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums. Yes, unlike most sources of light that attract bugs, this one actually keeps them away.

It uses D batteries and will run for 50 hours on its highest setting before you need to pop in new ones — that’s plenty for a Cub Scout overnighter, a weekend at the state park with your troop or a canoeing trip with your Venturers.

Go here to learn more and pick one up for your next Scouting adventure.

About Bryan Wendell 3269 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.


  1. Hi Bryan;
    Neat device, a couple things to watch out for though. The repellent is actually a pad which is heated by butane. The pad and the Butane seem to be enough to get you through a whole weekend, but we’d want to warn folks that unlike other battery powered lantern, it’s not a good idea to use this in an enclosed area. Butane creates carbon monoxide, and in the FAQ’s it states the repellent pad can generate smoke… So it’s not safe to use this in enclosed areas at all.
    What I couldn’t find was the cost of replacement cylinders and pads for the repellent, I’m curious how good of a value they’d be.

      • I find that a $5 refill pack usually gets me through the weekend. I live in Central Florida, so it is not like I do not use it much!

        I find I use it first thing in the morning, and at Dusk until I go to bed.

        I do not use the lantern version though, I use the stand alone thurmacell that I bought at Walmart for $20 and I use a stand alone lantern or flashlight for light. I find it cheaper and more efficient that way.

  2. While certainly another interesting gadget, the review here does not mention the repellant being separate from the light. Not only do you have battery wear, but you also have a butane cartridge and mats that need replacement. Not sure is that cost effective. But that may not be an issue for some.

  3. That’s only 50 cents per hour. And could probably last a couple of weekends.

  4. Looks to have a better review than the original table top model that had horrible reviews. Time will tell as the Amazon customers have not reviewed this model

    Regarding the personal Thermacell, It works really well if you stay in one spot (ex: sitting in a chair observing stars, Bowhunting in a stand in early season). It is not intended to be used in a movement setting like hiking.

  5. We used Thermacell on Big Munson Island (Sea Base, Out Island Adventure) and it really works! But you can’t take or ship Butane on a U.S. airline–it must be shipped via ground transportation only. And they don’t sell Butane in the Ships Store. So here’s a tip. Ship your Butane to yourself at Sea Base a couple weeks before your arrival and they’ll hold it for you until you get there. Contact the Brinton Environmental Center or visit their website for specific instructions.

  6. Three blog posts on May 18th and, so far, two on May 19th. It certainly would be nice to limit the posts to one per day.

    • I post at least once per day and more when there’s more BSA news to report. This week is the BSA’s National Annual Meeting so the volume will be a little heavier.

      • Thanks for the reply.

        I thought the timing for “How Pinewood Derbies Work” post rather strange as Pinewood Derbies typically take place in the early part of each year rather than during the summer or fall months.

        BTW, it would be nice to hear about the BSA’s plans to stop the decline in youth membership that has been taking place during the past 16 years. Hopefully, the 31% decline in youth membership is being discussed at the National Meeting and action plans are being put in place to reverse the trend.

      • Keep the info coming Bryan…if you don’t lIke the blog…unsubscribe! I would personally not like to see a combined daily blog since I send this info out to different members of my Troop by topic.

  7. I would like to hear more reviews of the thermacell. Right now, if bugs are a problem in our camp we have a few citronella candles that we light and place around our gathering place. Pretty inexpensive and it works for our needs. Burt

    • In central Florida, most of us find Citronella does not work well. I can tell you that the Thermacells do work and I usually get a weekend out of a refill for about $5. The only drawback that I can find with them are that you can not use them in a tent (think BSA Wall tents) and you can not hike with them. I guess your citronella candles have the same issue!

  8. Just caught on, but did anyone notice this is a Sponsored Post.

    Useful none the less, but I would have liked to see all of the Thermacell products discussed as I find the basic table top model to be more affordable and quite efficient.

  9. If a “review” is by someone who used it, a review is hard to impossible to find.

    Surprise, all sellers think it’s just great.

    Here is a non-seller who is generally favorable as to the devices ability to kill mosquitoes.

    I say “kill” becasue the device does not repel but instead kills insects that enter the “protected” area. The active ingredient is an insecticide called allethrin.

    Allethrin is a broad-spectrum insecticide that is only slightly to moderately toxic to humans. by dermal absorption and ingestion. “Short-term dermal exposure to allethrin may cause itching, burning, tingling, numbness, a feeling of warmth, with no dermatitis.”
    Cornell University.

    Allethrin is also toxic to highly toxic to honey bees, aquatic invertebrates, fish and cats.

    The manufacturer of allethrin says it is “toxic” to honey bees on the MSDS for the insecticide . 01/20/2015

    Leave No — survivors?

    • Given that the manufacturer of the insecticide says it is toxic to honey bees, not to mention other beneficial living things, I am not sure BSA is in any position to comment on that topic. It might, however, wish to comment on how using such a device complies with Leave No trace.

      Or not.

    • I am not sure why the concern on honey bees. When was the last time you camped in a swarm of bees. It doesn’t work THAT well and unless you are camping in a wildflower meadow I doubt it will have any significant effect on the bee population.

      • True. It will only kill the honey bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects that enter into the Death Zone. I was curious as to how one could honestly say that such a device fits with BSA’s adoption of Leave No Trace as a national imperative. And it’s only mildly toxic to your Scouts.

  10. All of a sudden this became a “sponsored post” – interesting, to say the lest.

  11. Since this is a “sponsored post,” it should be listed that way on the main blog page as other sponsored posts have been in the past. It’s important that readers can clearly identify whether a post is being influenced by financial considerations.

    • The post has been labeled as Sponsored the entire time it has been up.

      • Hi Bryan;

        You know honestly, I didn’t catch the “Sponsored Post” initially, I wonder how many others were in the same situation…

        I am reminded of my days in the media up in New Hampshire. My TV station was contacted by a US Senator who was running for president to see if we would allow his campaign to tape an infomercial in our news studio. While we offered to do the taping and provide all the editing and resources, we were adamant that he use a different set. It wound up being a dealbreaker for us, because the Senator’s campaign wanted to give the appearance that our TV station endorsed him to the locals in the state who would have recognized our studio set. Of course, for the sake of journalistic integrity, our station didn’t want to appear biased… It was a hard balance, we could always have used more money, but as William Shakespeare once said, “For one sweet grape, who would the vine destroy?”

        YiS; – Rob

      • Once I clicked on the post to read the full text, it was always labelled (though not conspicuously) as sponsored. But for a while the “sponsored” was not showing on the main blog page (the one that shows the title and start of many posts). That has changed today, and it’s now very clear that this is a sponsored post. Thanks again.

      • Honest with you, I’ve missed that tidbit ‘ Sponsored Post’ until now. Thanks for sharing that tidbit fellow fans of Bryan’s blog.

        I do question though if one looked in the ‘Guide to Safe Scouting’ first. There are certain thermacell butanes that can not go camping because they are under the same policy of BSA’s ‘aerosol can ban’. If I remember correctly from mine, it uses both: the pad and the butane canister. The canister is against BSA policy. Butane is only allowed in liquid form which is used in many a back pack camp stove. Correct me if I’m wrong please.

  12. My husband and I have been using the Thermacells for many,many years! Love them!! We buy the camo ones,as we Bowhunt, and we would NOT hunt without our Thermacells. These gadgets are amazing! A little costly, but they are WORTH IT!!!

    • Again, not repellent – NOT a “force field.” Instead, a death zone for insects, harmful, harmless, or beneficial to man.

      “Instilling values in young people and preparing them to make moral and ethical choices throughout their lifetime is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. Leave No Trace helps reinforce that mission, and reminds us to respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future generations. Appreciation for our natural environment and a knowledge of the interrelationships of nature bolster our respect and reverence toward the environment and nature.

      Leave No Trace is an awareness and an attitude rather than a set of rules. It applies in your backyard or local park as much as in the backcountry. We should all practice Leave No Trace in our thinking and actions–wherever we go.

      We learn Leave No Trace by sharing the principles and then discovering how they can be applied. Leave No Trace instills an awareness that spurs questions like “What can we do to reduce our impact on the environment and on the experiences of other visitors?” Use your judgment and experience to tailor camping and hiking practices to the environment where the outing will occur. Forest, mountain, seashore, plains, freshwater, and wetland environments all require different minimum impact practice.”

      Worth it? Worth what exactly?

  13. So using in an insecticide to protect children from mosquitoes and possible diseases such as West Nile virus is immoral?? Are you for real?

    • Dear “Sully,” we have perfectly effective repellents that protect children, adults, and pets from mosquitoes without needing insecticide generators that kill all living insect life in its death zone – while also toxic to fish, cats and only “only slightly to moderately toxic to humans.”

      For real?

    • A question of BSA policy – Leave No Trace. Or was that just to look good?

  14. This thread is now officially boring and on its way to becoming juvenile. Let me off at the next stop.

  15. Nice to know who speaks “officially” for BSA.

    The CDC speaks officially for the U.S. government.

    “More spatial repellent products are becoming commercially available. These products, containing active ingredients such as metofluthrin and allethrin, augment aerosol insecticide sprays, vaporizing mats, and mosquito coils that have been available for some time. Such products can help to clear rooms or areas of mosquitoes (spray aerosols) or repel mosquitoes from a circumscribed area (coils, spatial repellents). Although many of these products appear to have repellent or insecticidal activity under particular conditions, they have not yet been adequately evaluated in peer-reviewed studies for their efficacy in preventing vectorborne disease. Travelers should supplement the use of these products with repellent on skin or clothing and using bed nets in areas where vectorborne diseases are a risk or biting arthropods are noted. . . .Insecticides and repellent products should always be used with caution, avoiding direct inhalation of spray or smoke.”

    So, don’t inhale and there’s no good science to show that that it works – officially.

  16. Thank tou for the info about Allethrin. I was thinking about boys one for my small city backyard but I just found I have a bunch of baby praying mantis and don’t want to do any harm to them or the ecosystem that is being created. I contacted thermacell customer service and they never responded. Wonder why!

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