Back in 2016, Pyramid introduced their Trek Ultra repellent (formerly Repel Ultra). This micro-encapsulated DEET formula provides the same long-lasting protection as their now withdrawn Trek 100 repellent (97% DEET), while using only a third of the DEET.
I got the chance to put Trek Ultra to the test on a recent trip to Southeast Asia. As I was travelling in low risk areas of Vietnam (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay & Hoi An) and Bali (Nusa Lembongan, Gili Islands & Ubud) I didn’t feel it necessary to use a maximum strength repellent such as Trek 50. For travel to countries and areas with a high risk of Malaria, a maximum strength repellent with 50% DEET is usually recommended.
While I was travelling in areas with a low risk of Malaria, Dengue Fever and Zika Virus are still a concern in Southeast Asia, so I needed a reliable repellent to accompany me! Was Trek Ultra up to the job? Let’s find out…
Active ingredient: 30% micro-encapsulated DEET
Bottle size: 60ml or 100ml
Protection per application: Up to 12 hours
Age range: Suitable for children aged 2 years+
Unlike many insect repellents on the market, Trek Ultra has a slightly thicker consistency due to its micro-encapsulated formula. The repellent feels more like a lotion and needs to be rubbed in rather than simply sprayed onto your skin. The consistency wasn’t really an issue for me as I felt rubbing the repellent in ensured better coverage. Trek Ultra is less greasy compared to Pyramid Trek 50 and I also found that the smell of DEET isn’t quite as strong.
One of the main reasons I chose Trek Ultra for my trip is its long-lasting formula. In tests, the repellent remained 90% effective against mosquitoes after 12 hours, so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about re-applying it while I was out exploring. I applied the repellent first thing in the morning and on an evening, as well as re-applying after swimming. You will also need to re-apply it after more active activities such as trekking…it may be sweat-resistant but it won’t withstand excessive perspiration.
Make sure you apply sun cream first, about 15 minutes before you apply your repellent. It’s also worth noting that DEET based repellents reduce the effectiveness of your sun protection, so you should always opt for SPF30 or SPF50 (definitely go for SPF50 if you’re of the red-headed persuasion like me!)
I was travelling in countries with tropical weather conditions and the repellent held up well. In Vietnam, humidity was at 80% most of the time and temperatures were at around 35°C, so the repellent was certainly put through its paces. Even when trekking up Mount Batur in Bali I managed to remain bite free, so the repellent appears to cope well when the user is taking part in more active pursuits. I can report I only got one mosquito bite during my 3 week trip, which I think is likely down to me being a bit lapse with my application one evening!
We recommend approximately 60ml of repellent per person for one week of travel. Trek Ultra is available in a 60ml and 100ml size, both of which are suitable for packing in your hand luggage. I packed 1 x 60ml and 1 x 100ml bottle of Trek Ultra for my three week trip and still had a little bit left at the end. The 60ml option has an RRP of £6.95 and the 100ml bottle has an RRP of £9.95, which sits Trek Ultra at a similar price point to alternative DEET repellents on the market.
Pyramid hail Trek Ultra as one of the most advanced repellents on the market, offering all-day, tropical strength protection, while using a low concentration of DEET. For me the lower concentration of DEET was a major draw, as I have quite sensitive skin and prefer to use less DEET where possible. I also liked the idea of not having to constantly reapply my protection throughout the day, so Trek Ultra seemed like the obvious choice when choosing a repellent for my trip. Here are some of the pros and cons of Trek Ultra…
- Long-lasting protection (up to 12 hours per application) means you don’t have to worry about re-applying it while you’re out, unless you go for a swim or in the event of excessive perspiration.
- Family friendly – suitable for children 2 years and over
- Only 30% DEET – less harsh compared to other repellents on the market
- Micro-encapsulated formula – slowly releases repellent over time for all day protection
- Sweat & splash resistant – great in tropical climates
- Thicker consistency – feels more like a lotion & needs to be rubbed in, this allows for better coverage.
- Carry-on friendly sized bottles – 60ml & 100ml
- Can cause damage to plastics and synthetic fabrics. It also managed to remove my nail varnish, so take care during application and while the repellent is drying.
- Still has a slightly unpleasant DEET smell, but this isn’t as strong as other formulas.
- Thicker consistency – (yes, I’ve put this as a pro and a con) some users prefer to simply spray their repellent on and allow it to dry. Trek Ultra has a thicker consistency, similar to a lotion, therefore requires you to rub it in.