Nov 1, 2009 at 10:07 am #1241278
I've read horror stories about normal bug repellent eating through synthetic clothes. I'd like to carry a small amount with me for when the mosquitoes are bad.
What does everyone use that wont react negatively with your fabrics?Nov 1, 2009 at 10:19 am #1541635Scott ToraasonMember
Never heard or experienced that story. I use Permethrin on my clothes and deet on just the few areas that are exposed, no bites. I wear either micro merino wool or synthetic tops.Nov 1, 2009 at 11:39 am #1541657Acronym EsqBPL Member
I use 98% deet (like REI Jungle Juice). A couple drops per limb every couple hours didn't eat my synthetics. I wouldn't advise slathering it on, but that stuff was so strong, very little was needed. When the bugs aren't too bad, 3-4 drops rubbed into a close by bandanna is sufficient.
acronym 11/1/2009 1:32 PMNov 1, 2009 at 12:02 pm #1541664James NaphasBPL Member
DEET can stain or otherwise damage some synthetic clothes, but there's no reason to put it on clothes in the first place, as it works by masking your sweat smell so mosquitoes don't recognize you as a blood donor.
Permethrin, on the other hand, bonds to fabrics like a dye, and kills bugs that land on clothes that have been treated. You should avoid skin contact with it when applying, but once dry it doesn't react with skin. Depending on the concentration applied, permethrin will continue to work through a number of washings, for as long as six months. You can get it backpacking-specific products from sawyer, or in a number of lawn and garden products. It's substantially cheaper in the latter.Nov 1, 2009 at 12:36 pm #1541669
Thanks for all the replies. The Permethrin sounds very interesting – I'd never heard of it before.
Seems pretty simple – Deet for skin and Permethrin for clothes. I think I can handle that!
Thanks again.Nov 2, 2009 at 1:21 pm #1541935Paul StupkinMember
I am not a fan of chemicals and was looking to try something a bit more natural. One old lady told me to put 5 ml of lemon oil with 50 ml of baby oil. Give it a mix and apply to the skin. I tried it and it worked really well. I didn't get touched by the midges or mozzies and I didn't smell like a toxic waste dump either. Give it a try as I didn't find it stain or eat away my clothes.
P.Nov 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm #1541988Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I found that Wind River Range mosquitoes and biting flies everywhere seemed to consider my permethrin-sprayed clothing as an appetizer. They also went after my dog, even though he had a recent dose of K9 Advantix, which contains permethrin. If any mosquitoes were dropping dead as a result of their exposure to either my clothes or the dog, it sure wasn't obvious!
I'd rather have slightly heavier clothing (nylon supplex or similar) that the bugs have a hard time biting through.
On the other hand, permethrin-sprayed clothing really works to kill ticks!Nov 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm #1542662Scott ToraasonMember
Personally I’ve never seen a mosquito, fly, or tick die from permethrin; I use it to keep them off my clothes and biting me because it’s so annoying to have the buggers swarm around me. During heavy hatch periods in the central cascades even wearing micro merino wool tops I’ve yet, knock on wood, been bitten through my clothing since using permethrin, having said that I follow directions when I spray and really soak my clothing. I’ve never experienced permethrin properly applied attract mosquitoes but I do not rely on it lasting multiple washings and will reapply for each outing.
I have not been to the Wind Rivers but have recently heard a rumor of a secrete nuclear disposal waste site near by that is mutating local wildlife.Nov 5, 2009 at 5:22 am #1542933Michael BMember
I don't like to put deet on my skin, or on my kids, so I avoid that if at all possible. It works extremely well on clothing though. Spraying a baseball hat and the collar and sleeves of a shirt will provide a lot of protection, usually good enough if you are moving in all but the worst of conditions.
100% deet can damage plastic, but I have never seen it effect clothing, and for the most part you can't buy and don't really need to buy 100% deet anymore. Most stuff comes in the 20-30% range, or lower, and that should work fine and should be fine to spray on clothes.Nov 5, 2009 at 6:27 am #1542943John S.BPL Member
Nylon is plastic? DEET is not for clothing. Permethrin is for clothing.Nov 5, 2009 at 6:53 am #1542949Joe ClementBPL Member
I quit using 100% DEET after it melted the grip on one of my trekking poles.Nov 5, 2009 at 7:00 am #1542951
Thanks again for all the responses.
Here's what I'm planning to do – Treat my clothes with Permethrin before leaving home, then while in the backcountry, apply a couple drops of 100% DEET to the back of my hands and a couple on my neck. Considering I will be wearing long sleeves and pants, does this sound effective?Nov 5, 2009 at 7:32 am #1542964Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
> … Treat my clothes… DEET
your plan should work well.
Two things I would recommend you change. First is use Sawyer's 33% time released DEET rather than the 100%. You will get nearly the same protection with a third of the chemicals. The other is a head net to protect you head and face.
A nice article about Mosquitoes and Mosquito Repellents: A Clinician's Guide appeared in the Annuls of Internal Medicine a number of years ago which contained the following text:
In a field trial conducted in Alaska, persons wearing permethrin-treated uniforms and a polymer-based 35% DEET product had more than 99.9% protection (1 bite/h) over 8 hours, even under conditions of intense biting pressures; unprotected persons received an average of 1188 bites/h.
Boy am I glad I wasn't the control person in that study.
–MarkNov 5, 2009 at 7:49 am #1542973Lori PBPL Member
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
Don't get the DEET anywhere near your lips. Unless you like feeling numb, and DEET flavored food.
I still have a little bottle of DEET I sometimes use on the backs of my hands or arms, but now carry a headnet, and use Permethrin once a season on hammock, straps, pant legs, shirt, and gaiters. I don't put it on socks – something in the suspension gives me a rash – but sometimes spray it on the shoes.Nov 5, 2009 at 11:42 am #1543086backpackerchickBPL Member
Picardin won't eat away at fabric coatings and synthetics. Doesn't smell. Believe it was approved in the US for this use a few years ago. Picardin is the ingredient in Cutter Max.
Check out Cutter Max here
However, DEET is regarded as the most effective product available. It's been a couple months since I shopped for the stuff but my REI in SoCal had plenty of 100% DEET. Maybe it's a Vermont law.
Yes, do not ingest any of this stuff! And do not get it in your eyes!Nov 5, 2009 at 12:45 pm #1543102Barry PBPL Member
@barrypLocale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
“I found that Wind River Range mosquitoes and biting flies everywhere seemed to consider my permethrin-sprayed clothing as an appetizer.”
It sounds like you either:
1. Didn’t spray well
2. Used the wrong brand for clothes
Mosquitoes just won’t land on me when I have that stuff on. My worst test was in Utah’s Uintas where I had to swim through mosquitoes.
“Personally I’ve never seen a mosquito, fly, or tick die from permethrin;”
I’ve watched hundreds of ticks die on me in the MO Ozarks. It’s fun to just watch them crawl up your leg for about 3 inches, and then lean backwards, curl up their legs, and fall off. I also find a lot of real small ticks dead and embedded in my socks.
Death to mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and chiggers!
-BarryNov 5, 2009 at 12:50 pm #1543105Lori PBPL Member
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
I've been using spray but may invest in the soaking solution, as I've heard that stays in the fabric longer.
Good to hear that it does in fact kill the ticks – I have nothing against them, until they start crawling my direction. One bad tick experience and pretty soon it's all about death, death to bloodsuckers!Nov 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm #1543108Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I have used Picardin on and off for the last few years. Besides the benefits Hartley mention, it also doesn't have the funny, slick feeling that DEET leaves.
I would recommend a higher concentration that the cutter's though. It's only 8%… which is effective for only a couple of hours. There have been a number of studies that found that picardin is just a smidge less effective than DEET the same concentration levels.
I would recommend going with a higher concentration of Picardin. Sawyer's makes a 20% picardin spray in .5oz sprayer and in 3oz spray bottles. I am sure there are other options as well for high concentration.Nov 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm #1543111Thomas BurnsBPL Member
@nerdboy52Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
One more vote for permathrin. You can but it cheap at your local K-Mart or whatever. It's sold as an insect killer under various brand names. Just look at the ingredients and get permathrin without any other additives. I water it down at about a 4:1 ration soak the clothing well, wring them out,and then let them dry out of the reach of pets, especially cats. ALERT: the wet form of permathrin will kill your cats (and probably your ferrets, as well).
Beyond that, I carry nothing anymore. Most insect repellants don't work well against the mutant skeeters and unrelenting gnats of Ohio, and deet is just sooo obnoxious in oh so many ways.
Instead I wear long sleeves and pants, even in summer. Those BPL shirts are fabulous, and then don a BPL headnet when the bugs start to annoy.
Gotta love that permathrin. During the height of the summer skeeter season, I stopped for a water break on fine, 90-degree day. As my arm rested on my hiking pole, a mosquito landed on my sleeve, and prepared to dig in. An instant later, it went into convulsions and died.
I practically wept right there on the trail. Permathrin — may its name be praised.
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