We’ve depended on nature our whole lives. Oxygen is granted to us by the trees and plants that grow around us. The oceans harbor food and water to aid us in our survival. I could go on and on about how great nature is, but I would be pointing out the obvious. Instead, let me focus on one aspect of nature everyone hates: mosquitoes.
No one loves mosquitoes. Correction: no one tolerates mosquitoes. A whole repellent industry was born because mosquitoes are so persistent and annoying. All mosquitoes do is fly around, cause itching and spread diseases.
Fortunately, repellents exist and do a good job keeping mosquitoes (and other insects) away from us. Unfortunately, finding a good repellent sounds easy, but in reality takes a lot of research and patience.
Companies typically sell different kinds of repellents, all of them different from each other in minor and major ways, such as: active ingredients, sensitivity, effectiveness, type of application, and many other ways. Finding the perfect one for your needs is stressful.
But you don’t have to go through all that stress. There are plenty of websites that gather lists of the “best” repellents available on the market. Best for what though? There are many different repellents that are designed for different situations; you don’t buy a sport-oriented repellent for a relaxing day on the patio.
That’s why we review the most popular repellents on the market—so you don’t need to scour the corners of the Internet looking for the best repellent for your situation. This review will be focusing on the Off! Deep Woods V Insect Repellent Bug Spray
All About Off! Deep Woods V Insect Repellent
Off!’s Deep Woods product line is home to many different repellents, all of which seem to blend together. Looking at the product page for each leaves you confused about what’s so different about each one that they need multiple versions of what’s—seemingly—the same product.
We’re not going to worry about all the different repellents right now, we’re only going to focus on the Deep Woods V repellent, not the VI, VII, III, etc.
I find it important to point out that Off! sells two versions of the Deep Woods V: one meant for general repelling and one meant to repel ticks specifically. Both repellents accomplish the same goal, but the “Tick” version of the V repellent has been tested to repel ticks that may spread Lyme Disease, so that option is your best bet if you’re more worried about ticks than mosquitoes.
Again though, both repellents repel all kinds of insects. Concerning which insects, Off! points out effectiveness against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, no-see-ums, chiggers, black flies, gnats, and sand flies.
The V product line is rated for up to 8 hours of protection against all these insects due to the repellents being made with 25% DEET. 10%-30% is the recommended range for DEET products, so I’m glad Off kept their repellents on the high-end of the range.
Off! only sells the V line in aerosol form—a practice different from other companies which usually sell repellents with pump sprays. While it doesn’t sound like a big deal, aerosol sprays are much easier to apply than pump sprays due to aerosol not requiring specific targeting like pump sprays; just walk through the aerosol cloud and you’re good.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the product, let’s take a look at how it works (or how it’s supposed to work).
How it Works
DEET remains the most popular option for insect repellents, but why? What separates DEET from other active ingredients? Why is DEET so much better than essential oil repellents that advertise the same levels of effectiveness?
Let’s start with how DEET works. When mosquitoes land on you, suck your blood and leave you with a terrible itch, it’s because their sense of smell led them to you. Mosquitoes are heavily reliant on their sense of smell for navigation and nutrition, which is why DEET aims for their sense of smell.
When DEET is applied to the skin, it gives off an odor that, while smelling ok to you, smells absolutely awful to the mosquitoes. As a result, mosquitoes avoid you and your personal space at all costs.
Sometimes though, mosquitoes resist the terrible smell for promise of nutrition. This is when DEET separates itself from repellents made with essential oils and the like. When a mosquito lands on a body part layered in DEET and attempts to suck the blood out of it, they’ll be met with a terrible taste that immediately scares them away.
This taste is courtesy of DEET. Ever since 1946, DEET has been used to repel even the bravest of mosquitoes.
Off!’s V repellent works in the same fashion, so as long as they aren’t lying about making it with 25% DEET, the repellent should work well for repelling the most stubborn of insects.
Since V is only offered in aerosol cans, applying the repellent could never be easier. When applying the repellent, spray your whole body (avoiding contact with eyes) while aiming the repellent a few inches away from your body. The cloud of aerosol will cover your body and the DEET will bond to your skin, acting as a second layer.
Off! claims that this spray is safe to use for clothing (even though DEET isn’t great for fabric),so you don’t need to worry about avoiding your shirt or pants when applying. That is not to say you should spray it directly onto your clothing, though.
And if you were thinking about using this spray with your watch on, don’t. Off! makes it very clear that watch crystals, leather, furniture, spandex, plastics, synthetics, and painted varnishes are susceptible to damage. This may seem like a large list, but how often are you truly going to be using this repellent while sitting on the couch?
Here’s where we will discuss your purchasing options for Off!’s V repellent. Off! sells their V repellent in a few different sizes, though their Tick variation can only be found in one size (6oz). All sizes are in aerosol cans, as mentioned earlier.
- 6oz aerosol spray: $5.98/bottle
- 8oz aerosol spray: NA
- 9oz aerosol spray: NA
- 11oz aerosol spray: $7.46/bottle
- 6oz aerosol spray (TICK VARIANT): $5.88/bottle
Finding prices for Off!’s V repellent proved a challenge. Many different retailers sell one or two different sizes, but none price them consistently. Even Amazon counts on third-party retailers to sell the repellent, and the price ranges from $15 to $25, a price I suspect isn’t near the original.
Fortunately, other retailers had (somewhat) normal prices for the V repellent, so the ones I was able to find are listed in the table.
One pet peeve of mine when it comes to repellents is inconsistent pricing, but I’m not sure if I can blame Off! for this. They’re currently selling a VIII Dry repellent, so maybe they’re phasing out the V product line? Who knows; all I know is that the pricing for this product is the most inconsistent I’ve seen for a repellent.
The prices are cheap though, especially for what you’re getting. I’ve seen weaker repellents cost double what the 11oz costs at Walmart, so as inconsistent as the pricing may be, I give Off! props for not charging an arm and a leg for a repellent.
Does it Work?
Here’s the question you’ve been waiting for since I started this review. Forget the rants, the explanations, the questionable pricing—what does Off!’s Deep Wood V bring to the table?
The 25% DEET active ingredient proves to reign as an effective repellent once again, as the reviews for this product go on about the effectiveness of this product. However, there are issues that plague some users.
Let’s start with how easy the repellent is to use. Earlier, I stated that aerosol sprays are great for easy application due to its “spray-and-pray” type of application. Unfortunately, Off’s V repellent tends to clog up in the dispenser. Many reviews point out how they can barely get any of the sprays out and that, even when they do, the bottle will stop dispensing after half of the repellent has been used.
These issues point to problems with the dispenser AKA a manufacturing defect. I feel that this review sums up the problem better than I ever could:
“The mosquitoes can get really bad in my area. Your product works great and it keeps me from looking like a pizza! However, this is the fourth time I have bought your product. I even changed from my usual location. I am still only able to use half a can before it stops spraying! I am not happy about that at all! This stuff is pretty expensive…one can runs almost $8 and that’s at Walmart. Then to only be able to use half the can…. It’s not worth it! I just bought my 5th can today, so I will see what happens. If this can stops spraying too…I’m done. Guess I will have to go back to Avon.”
Some other reviews complain about the lack of effectiveness when used, but these are few and far between. Most reviews on Amazon and Off!’s own website claims that their repellent is the best repellent they’ve used and keeps them from being eaten alive by mosquitoes. If you don’t believe me, take a look at these user reviews that I felt best reflected the effectiveness of the product.
“I have tried them all and DEEP WOODS is the ONLY thing that repels mosquitos from my children. I have tried numerous things and all have failed but this! That high dollar stuff does not work, this does!” – Amazon Review
“Very effective. I bought this for a weekend camping trip and I left with zero bug bites. I normally get bitten tons so bought this to try it out and I was not disappointed. Sprayed it on generously each morning before getting dressed and lasted all day. We were near a creek with mosquitos and hiked places with plenty of bugs so I know this did the trick. Make sure not to spray on in an enclosed area as it will make you cough.” – Amazon Review
“Off! is a name brand that I trust. I have never had a problem with the product and it always seems to protect my family from insects.” – Off! Website Review
One issue I saw pop up a few times while looking through reviews is the scent the repellent gives off!. While these complaints may be isolated to the couple I found, they reported the scent being near unbearable. If you’re sensitive to chemical smells, then you may want to be wary of this product and buy it from a location that allows refunds for opened products.
As for the Tick variant, I was unable to find as many reviews for it as I could the original product. However, the reviews I did find reported success at keeping ticks away while avoiding any manufacturing defects.
Overall, Off!’s V repellent seems like a repellent that is liked, not loved. While the repellent is effective at repelling mosquitoes and other insects, the issues when it comes to dispensing the repellent and giving off a slight odor may turn some people away from the product. However, for the price the repellent is at, I think those risks are worth taking.
I will be scoring the Off! Deep Woods Repellent V based on 4 areas, these 4 areas being:
- Efficiency/Effectiveness (35%)
- Overall Value (15%)
- Ease of Use (25%)
- Safety (25%).
As you may have noticed, each area is associated with a percentage. These percentages represent the weight of that specific area. Think of it like your highschool course grade, where homework represented a certain amount of your grade, the final exam another amount, and vice versa.
“Efficiency/Effectiveness” focuses on how well the product works. Because this area is what people tend to be the most concerned about when shopping for repellents, it affects 35% of the final score.
“Ease of use” describes the process of applying the product and the pitfalls associated with the application. For example, if a repellent adds grease to the applied area, it will be mentioned in this section. The reason this section is worth 25% of the overall score is because “convenience is king”, as my college professor used to say, and if your product is unable to deliver convenience, it won’t succeed.
Finally, we have the “Safety” section. I’m sure the name is self-explanatory, but I’ll explain anyways. The “Safety” section goes over how safe the product is, since one repellent may not be as healthy for a specific person as some other repellents. For example, some people may need a repellent that’s hypoallergenic.
When it comes to “Safety”, the score tends to be a 9. Sometimes I will rate the product lower if I feel it doesn’t meet certain standards. If I rate a product a 10 in the “Safety” section, it’s probably because it’s an organic, natural repellent; safety is the one thing those types of repellents are good for.
And I’m sure you can assume why safety is worth 25% of the overall score.
Without any further interruptions, let’s start the judgment of the Off! Deep Woods Repellent V and see if it is worthy enough to join the repellent Halls of Fame.
Efficiency/Effectiveness = 9/10
Off’s Deep Woods V repellent claims an 8-hour duration against mosquitoes and every other insect you could hope to repel. When put to the test, this repellent doesn’t disappoint; out of the 100+ reviews I read and reviewed, I’d say less than 1% of the reviews claimed the repellent didn’t work.
For the majority of reviewers, this repellent excelled in all aspects, especially effectiveness. While no one mentioned how long the repellent lasted for them, I think it’s safe to assume the repellent lasts the full 8 hours for most, if not all insects.
Because of V’s liberal use of DEET, Off! was able to create a repellent that’s not only effective but cheap. Speaking of price, I think we’re done with this section. Time for a change of scenery…
Overall Value = 8.5/10
A side effect of there being so many repellents on the market is the inconsistency of prices and value between repellents. For example, I’ve seen two repellents from different companies that were rated for the same duration, made with the same ingredients, and basically did the same thing. However, one was $3 more expensive. At that point, what are you paying for?
Fortunately, Off! knew the trick to earning a good score and priced their repellents low. $7.46 for an 11oz aerosol can feel like highway robbery, except I’m the robber. When it comes to the prices Off! determined, I’m 100% onboard.
However, I, unfortunately, have to knock down the score a couple of notches because of the inconsistency of price. I know Off! (probably) aren’t the ones to blame for the inconsistent, strange prices—and the lack of prices—but the strange pricing makes shopping for the product a confusing mess.
Convenience is king, and one half of convenience is actually getting the product in your hands. If a customer can’t even do that, then the quality of the product doesn’t matter. Overall, I can’t knock this repellent too hard for weird pricing, but I would like if the pricing stayed a bit more consistent.
Ease of Use = 6/10
Bug spray is a simple product—you open the can, press down on a button or lever, and spray wherever you need to in order to repel mosquitoes. That’s all it takes. However, manufacturing defects do occur and Off!’s V repellent is a clear example of that.
Not every bottle of V will come with a defective dispenser, but there was a worrying amount of reviews detailing the dispenser not working when being used. When one reviewer claims they could only use half the bottle before having to throw it away, it sets a terrible precedent for the quality of the item.
As I said earlier, the two mentions of an overbearing scent I found won’t factor heavily into this score, as I believe those were one-offs. Despite my leniency in that area, Off!’s V repellent finds itself with a mediocre score for “ease of use”. I do want to note that this review does not in any way reflect the quality of their other repellents; only the V repellent.
Safety = 9.5/10
Most repellents I review land somewhere in the 8-10 range for safety; there are exceptions, sure, but most repellents are required to be tested before being put out on store shelves, so the safety of the average person is guaranteed.
Off!’s Deep Woods V Repellent doesn’t cause any concern or harm to the people using it, though the overbearing scent may cause certain allergies to act up, that’s a risk with most repellents.
One thing I’d like to see for future repellents in the Deep Woods series is a hypoallergenic option. Not required of course, but ensuring maximum safety for any potential customer is important and should be the main priority.