Do not buy the Bandito Mosquito wristband:
they are poorly designed and there is currently no customer support responding to the outcry on IndieGoGo.
As a favorite target of mosquitoes around the world (I have been bitten from the US to Brazil to Bali), I have been praying for the day that I could step outside unconcerned. The first glimpse of hope I had was when Kite Shield announced their work on the Kite Patch back in 2018 – a wearable patch without all that constant spraying. I was estatic as we planned our around the world trip: how amazing would it be if I could just use patches instead of lugging around liquid mosquito repellent? Besides, I could spray all I wanted, but in humid places, I would be instantly sweating it off anyway (which happened in places like Brazil and Singapore).
The news around Kite quickly faded as they stopped providing updates when another IndieGoGo campaign popped up: Guarden’s Bandito. They offered a wristband that could repel mosquitoes through the use of sound and scent bands. We ordered them just before our trip knowing it was a bit of a gamble; we wouldn’t have much time to get them, much less test them. And of course, we literally received them just days before we hopped on the plane, so all I could do was pack them up and hope for the best.
Since we started our trip in October and Europe, we did not touch them until we arrived in Vietnam some 4 months later when I got my first bite while sitting outside during lunch and I remembered the bringing the bands. The moment we got back to the apartment I assembled the band per the instructions on the refill pack. Once I attempted to turn it on I realized that the one power button had no indication for whether it was on: I wasn’t sure if I had turned it on or not.
I toggled it a bit but there was no difference: no indentation, no light, no nothing. I then tried to listen for that supposed buzz, but couldn’t hear anything. I opened another battery pack and tried a new battery. Then I checked the Carl’s band. Still no lights or sounds. Then we turned to our good friend Google, and discovered that a number of other people don’t hear any buzz either. So… how do we know if it’s working?
Willing to at least give it a try, I wore it for 3 weeks while in Vietnam, occasionally pressing the power button and hoping it was on at some point. I figured, at the very least, I could test the effectiveness of the scent sticks. Turns out they don’t do anything. They smell pleasant enough, but while indoors in an airconditioned cafe, I got bitten twice on the arm wearing the band.
I reached out to customer support multiple times in March and April but never got any replies to my emails. To this date (July 4, 2019), there are no updates from Guarden on IndieGoGo since October 2018 when they were still supposedly mailing out the bands. Backers are still commenting and asking about their bands.
Smells like a scam? Most likely. It’s extremely frustrating to think that people would take advantage of a serious international health concern. Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animal and finding a legitimate, sustainable, and affordable way to repel mosquitoes could literally save lives and stop the spread of so many viruses.
Ultimately, scam or not, the Guarden’s Bandito band has a huge design flaw: the lack of feedback on the power button design means the user can’t be sure if they’re protected or not and the supposed long battery life benefit is completely moot.
I realized I should have made a video review and taken some photos, but after my almost month long experimentation, I had immediately thrown out the bands in frustration: they were deadweight taking up space in my luggage.
So save yourself the money and heartbreak: the Guarden Bandito wristbands do not work. If any of you have any other insights on the Bandito bands or mosquito repellent products that you do stand by, please let us know in the comments below!