Lifesystems Expedition Max DEET insect repellent review

Lifesystems Expedition Max DEET is a high-protection DEET spray that can be used on clothes

Lifesystems Expedition Max DEET
(Image: © Life Systems)

Advnture Verdict

This powerful insect repellent is ideal for jungle adventures and areas where you really need to keep the bitey beasts off your skin.


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    Goes onto clothes

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    Mild smell

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    Effective in malarial zones


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    Oily consistency

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    High DEET content

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First thoughts

If you want protection from insects that will work across the globe and last all day long, you’ll need to plump for Lifesystems Expedition Max DEET. It’s commonly thought that DEET’s strong smell repels mozzies, but it’s actually how the ingredient sits on your skin and creates a barrier that makes it hard for mosquitoes and other irritating insects to land on and bite you.

Life Systems offer a variety of sprays with everything from 0% to 95% DEET as the active ingredient but we have found that their 50% Max spray is very effective on test, even in countries where the insects come thick and fast, so we wouldn’t recommend needing to pack anything stronger.

In the field

The only spray we reviewed offering 24-hour protection (well, if diligently reapplied three times), Lifesystems Expedition Max may be overkill for a ramble in the Lake District but it’s ideal for jungle conditions or anywhere where you’ll be exposed day and night to illness-causing insects.

We took this spray to India (and also carried the dinkier 50ml version, £6.99, in our backpack when out exploring) and found it offered worry-free protection even in malarial zones. It can also applied to clothing as well as skin without staining them, for added protection.

The Max spray has a thick, rather viscous consistency and a not-unpleasant lemon smell, but it never feels like it fully dries. This is because it’s designed to form a physical barrier on your skin, but if you find sprays that don’t sink right in annoying then this might not be for you. It also feels mildly tingly on the skin (like many stronger repellents). There’s no alcohol in the formula, though, so it won’t dry skin out too much.

Sian Lewis

An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog,, champions accessible adventures.