Thursday, 13 July 2017

Camping Life: Darling Clandestine Field Shark 2.0


I intended to review Darling Clandestine Field Shark 2.0 (what I'm calling the reformulated version. I reviewed the original here) when it was available last summer, since I hate reviewing things that aren't available anymore, even when I think having that information out there is helpful, in case something comes back or someone acquires a little-reviewed product via a swap or something. But after I received Field Shark, I didn't go camping or in fact go outside with bugs at all last summer. I brought it with me on my trip to Belgium last September, but we were curiously ignored by Belgian mosquitoes - seriously, my partner's host family asked us if we weren't being plagued by mosquitoes when we had the window open in our room at night, and we looked at one another and said "What mosquitoes?" Our colonial blood was not appealing, it seems. So while I did use Field Shark 2.0 here and there last summer, I didn't get to put it through a really good test. I put it away until I started packing for our two week trip to the Ottawa-Gatineau area, where we planned to spend most of our vacation camping. I decided to bring it along (plus a bottle of Deep Woods, because I learned my lesson about relying solely on natural bug repellents). My partner seems to have forgotten the last time I made him test indie bug repellents, because he was ready to give Field Shark 2.0 a whirl, and I wouldn't want all of his hard work (and mosquito bites) to go to waste, now would I?

From our campsite at La Pêche

At Philippe

Also this is a very obvious vehicle to share some of the photos that I took over vacation that I didn't post on Instagram (and some better, larger versions of ones that I did). We did regular camping at Lac Philippe at Gatineau Park the first week, and canoe camping at Lac La Pêche the second week (canoe camping: you need a canoe to get to your campsite. Our was about 45 minutes of paddling away from the main park kiosk. It was gorgeous. I highly recommend it if you're going to the area), and it was both beautiful and an excellent place to test the efficacy of Field Shark 2.0.

From a hike at Meech Lake on a rainy day

Field Shark 2.0 differs from the original in that it uses lemon eucalyptus oil suspended in beeswax as its primary bug repelling ingredient. You can view my lazy-as-fuck-I've-done-four-hours-of-straight-searching-today-and-I'm-done search on the efficacy of lemon eucalyptus oil here. Evidence is limited, but there appears to be some efficacy. It's not going to touch DEET in terms of efficacy, but since I prefer to avoid using DEET on or near my face, Field Shark 2.0 is a good choice that's probably slightly less bad for my lungs (related: my dad, who grew up in industrial Cape Breton, which is home to the former Sydney Tar Ponds, one of the worst environmental disasters in Canada, so who knows what he consumed from birth to almost 19, when he left the island for good, was rumbling a little about the potential harm of DEET. I like to remind him of the PCBs and heavy metals in his system when he goes on about this stuff).

At La Pêche

Looking out from our tent at La Pêche

Field Shark 2.0 comes in a little half ounce tin. As you can see in my pictures, mine is now a little battered, mostly because of how much it rained the first week of vacation. You can rub the balm directly from the tin on you (and my partner did) or use your fingers for a more targeted approach (as I did). Field Shark 2.0 smells much better than the original, due to the extreme lemon scent of the lemon eucalyptus. And it works...okay. I used it on my hairline, behind my ears, on the back of my neck, and on my forehead. It did fend off bugs moderately well. At least as well as you can expect in the middle of the woods. It needs to be reapplied fairly frequently, though. Like every couple of hours. We also managed to lose the tin somewhere in the car when packing up stuff to avoid the rain, and of course, comparing Deep Woods to Field Shark 2.0 gives an easy winner. But I wasn't bit to death where I wore Field Shark 2.0, and that's all that really counts. It didn't break me out. It's not greasy or weird feeling. My partner kept asking for it, so either he just likes lemon things (unlikely, since he won't eat lemon candies, claiming that they taste like cleaner) or it was working. 


Of all of the indie bug repellents I've played with, this seems to be the most effective. However, I would never replace a stronger DEET spray with it. It's more of a supplement. And even with Field Shark 2.0 and Deep Woods, I still got some bites. Because mosquitoes are relentless.

At Meech Lake again

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