Smidge midge repellent

If you happen to see me driving along with Mrs Muz applauding like a loony in the passenger seat you would be forgiven for thinking that she was delighted with my skills on the road.
This is, of course, perfectly feasible but if it were to happen in Scotland the chances are that we’ve inadvertently trapped a couple of dozen midges in the car at the last stop and she is midway through a frantic killing spree. It’s also highly likely that we’ve forgotten the Smidge.

We were sent a can of Smidge in advance of a two-week tour of the far north west (which sadly ended last weekend) and because Scotland in summer is a feeding ground for midges it was the first thing I packed. And it was the first thing I unpacked when we arrived at our campsite at Applecross because, by God, they were hungry. The second thing I unpacked were our Gelert Mosquito Hat Nets, but more about that in a later review.

Smidge. Chilli optional, and there’s nowt wrong with tartan rugs, okay?

The pump-action brushed aluminium can holds 75ml of Smidge which boasts Saltidin as its active ingredient, which is renowned for being ikky to insects. The blurb on the back also states that Smidge is formulated by the people behind so you would expect it to actually work.

The good news is that it does, but the problem with insect repellent of any kind is that what might work for one person might not work for another, so be warned. Case in point: Sketolene, which works a treat for me but for my better half it’s like ringing the dinner bell for mosquitos… and she comes out in great big itchy red blebs the size of 50p pieces. Not pretty.
Speaking of mozzies, Smidge is also meant to show the door to those, horse flies, sand flies, fleas and ticks. Don’t rub it on the dog though cos he probably won’t like it.

But for the four people in our group Smidge seemed to work for everyone, which was great news. Joe, however, only used it for a couple of days because apparently he doesn’t taste as nice as the rest of us and he discovered he didn’t really get bitten much anyway.
With that in mind I decided to test it properly so I squirted some into the palm of my hand and applied it like a thin layer of suncream everywhere except my right arm. I did this for two days – these are the lengths we at GearWeAre are prepared to go to for you lot, you ungrateful bunch.
And what do you think the results were? Correct. My arm was bitten to bits. It seems Scottish midges in August have voracious appetites.

Smidge does appear to have its limitations, however. To be fair the can says “up to” eight hours of protection but I found myself reapplying the transparent gloop every two hours or so because the bitey little buggers seemed to get wise to it and start holding their breath so they could edge closer and closer to my face.

My unSmidged arm. Mine. Not a stunt double. Mine.

I also had to reapply it after washing my hands or face because the effectiveness started wearing off straight away after contact with water, despite its apparent waterproofness. Again to be fair, I wouldn’t really expect anything like this to be totally impervious to water, so I wasn’t all that surprised. It’s still a bold claim to make though.

Some more good news is that our little can of Smidge lasted the entire fortnight – despite reasonably regular use by the three of us – so a little seems to go a long way, which is a relief because we saw it on sale in numerous shops for between £6.99 and £9.99 which goes to show how much people are prepared to pay to stop being lunch.

Nevertheless, scared that we might run out in the last day or two we bought another can and discovered that the dispensing nozzle was different to the original. Whereas the test can’s nozzle screwed on to the top of the can, this new one had been firmly pushed on.
The latter is the better design though because we found that the former would unscrew a little bit in a bag or pocket, creating a small but irritating leak – so make sure you check which one you’re getting if you’re able to.

SUMMARY: Seems to do the trick nicely but protection for eight hours might be a bit optimistic, ditto for the waterproof thing. Searching online doesn’t really yield any cheaper results, but you’ll likely pay a few quid more in the shops. Oh, and it tastes horrible so don’t get it in your gob.


Question: How do YOU pronounce midge? As in ‘sqidge’ or ‘squidgy’? Feel free to answer below, but be aware there is only one correct answer, as decreed by me.

  • Isobelle Forde

    I used Smidge and another product this year on my first visit to Scotland for our hill walk/canoe trip and as a dark skinned person it worked very well for me (not a single supper was had of my blood),however my fair skinned companion was still plagued by the odd midge and she had to re-apply the product frequently. We found it reasonably waterproof but I prefer Ultrathon personally, it seens to last for longer, resist water better and as apparently it has “time release” slowly over a longer period,it didnt need applying as often. The Smidgewas good though, and it lasted well,i still havequite a bit left so its good value for money.

    • Andy

      That’s very interesting. I wonder if there’s anything in the skin colour/melanin theory, or whether you just don’t have tasty blood…

  • Arabella B

    I only go north in the Winter to avoid pests such as midges and tourists but should I be shackled and dragged there during midge season, I now shall certainly know how to prepare with a file in my socks and some Smidge to fend off all boarders…

  • Jane

    They only really bite me on my lips and eyelids (yes INSIDE the lashes)where stuff that stings/tastes horrible/contains chemicals can’t be put… so it’s a net thingy for me!

  • Chrissie

    Smidge is a life line for my partner whom works outdoors in our glorious highlands, you’ll always find a can in the van and well worth the £6.99 we pay. We also took a can to the Dominican on our holidays, while he never saw a single mossie bite we did find that for us unfortunate ladies if you are menstrating there is not a repelant in the land that will keep them off. Every other holiday though works a charm.