Feb 19, 2013 at 12:49 am #1299453
I wanted to "bug" you all with a new flying insect thread. Anyone have any unique tried and true ways of staying happy on the trail during the height of bug season (say, for gits and shiggles, June in Arctic Sweden).
I'll be rolling with head net and complete net protection at night (inner net and Duomid) but was wondering what else, DEET, light gloves, etc. would help make the trip more enjoyable.Feb 19, 2013 at 5:26 am #1955927
@dpnollLocale: Maroon Bells
I have found shirts that have been factory pretreated work pretty well.Feb 19, 2013 at 5:39 am #1955928
Treat your clothing and headnet with Permethrin, use DEET on any exposed skin. Wear tightly knit fabrics that bugs can't bite thru. Use a netted shelter. Avoid areas where biting insects will be most likely to be, ie. low laying shaded areas, near standing water, etc.Feb 19, 2013 at 5:52 am #1955930
I usually do ok wearing long pants and dense shirt while hiking, as long as you can move fast and it is not too hot. I can't stand wearing a head net, so having a treated bandana to attach to my hat for neck protection can really help.
But where most folks go crazy is cooking and eating. The arctic in June may be even worse than the north woods in June, but either could be miserable. So for paddling trips at that time of year, I take a bug tent of some sort. Being able to throw it over your head, stick your poles in the ground for some support, and being able to eat in reasonable peace is priceless. Even the cheap mosquito nets for beds (Coghlan's for example), don't weigh that much, pack small, and can really make a difference. The bugs will come in under the bottom edge, but once inside will mostly fly up into the corners out of the way. I can't tell if your inner tent is big enough to sit in, and it appears to have bottom, which makes it slightly less useful since you may not want to cook in there, so you may want to try sitting in that, and/or thinking about carrying something more for use while sitting, cooking, and taking breaks.Feb 19, 2013 at 7:13 am #1955965
@milesbargerLocale: West Virginia
I worked for a few years as a guide in Denali. In certain areas at certain times, the mosquitoes were pretty bad.
What worked for me:
- Lightweight, woven long sleeve shirt and pants.
- Headnet (Peter's headnets are the best I've found).
- Light shortie gaiters (otherwise, your ankles will get tore up, even through thick socks).
- 100% DEET on my hands. I prefer not to use chemicals but compromised here. Gloves can work, but you have to go with leather or something with a tight-woven membrane (example).
- Look for higher, drier spots for breaks and camp.
- Take meal breaks when a nice breeze kicks up.
For true arctic travel, many of my friends used and recommended The Original Bug Shirt.Feb 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm #1956080
Translation required please: gits and shiggles are what?Feb 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm #1956094
Jeremy and AngelaParticipant
@requiemLocale: Northern California
It's a Spoonerism; the leading 'g' and 'sh' have been swapped among the words.Feb 19, 2013 at 11:09 pm #1956259
Well, it looks like I'll need the full litany of items, from headnets to treated clothing to DEET . . . to mental toughness.
Does anyone know what the worst part of the bug season usually is? We'll be hiking the Kungsleden the last two weeks of June. If there is an early spring, I assume it is worse, but if we have a late spring (and colder hike), will this spare us the worst of bug season?Feb 20, 2013 at 8:15 am #1956349
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
My recommendations are pretty much the same as everyone else's. Tight woven clothing treated with Permethrin. short gaiter to protect ankles. Hat and a headset, I like little fly designs but there are lots of good choices. I haven't found a glove solution I like so I do chemicals here. I typically use >=20% Picaridin which I have found is just about as effective as DEET without that slimy feeling and plastic destroying nature.
As other have noted, pick stopping locations that are up a bit and are have strong breezes. For the end of the day I REALLY like a bug free space, so for me whatever shelter I use has a fully enclosed space that gives me room to move – sit up, eat when there isn't a danger of bears, take a bandana bath. At the end of a long day I am often running hot so it also needs to provide plenty of ventilation, so tarp with perimeter bug netting doesn't work so well. This means either a classic double wall tent, good size bug tent + tarp, or hybrid shelter with lots of netting such as the hexamid (what I use) six moon designs skyscape, etc.
–markFeb 20, 2013 at 8:42 am #1956362
Does stretchy fabric such as is used in Dirty Girl gaiters and the like provide ankle protection from bugs, or can mosquitoes bite through that fabric? Now that I am doing more hiking in low top shoes, I probably need to find something to protect my ankles.Feb 20, 2013 at 9:04 am #1956375
@bookLocale: Northern California
Sun grubbies on your hands are pretty effective for skeeters. Push come to shove I'll spritz the back of the grubbies with deet, which I hate. Then I can remove the grubbies when eating/filtering water.
Sun precautions make a Solumbra drape style sun hat that looks…interesting but boy is it great for mosquitoes. I don't even treat mine with Permethrin. It hangs loose about your face and skeeters can't get to you. Zip it up (velcro)to cover almost your entire face when you enter a swarm and then un-velcro when you've moved on.Feb 20, 2013 at 10:39 am #1956425
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I'm not a fan of DEET or other chemicals on my skin. I go nowhere in Alaska without long pants, long sleeves, gloves, hat and a good head net. I rarely need it (even a light breeze will keep the skeeters away) but when I do need it it's a sanity saver.
I started experimenting with permethrin last year. I can't say I've noticed a difference in how the skeeters behave. Maybe it doesn't affect them.
I carry DEET as a back up. If it were bad enough, I'd use it.Feb 20, 2013 at 10:43 am #1956426
My input would be to focus more on coverage and less on chemical use. It seems every generation has chemicals that are touted for their amazing properties and then 10 years down the road we find out they cause cancer. For that reason I won't use DEET or whatever the latest chemical is if I can at all avoid it.Feb 20, 2013 at 10:54 am #1956434
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Michael B, Mark Verber, and Randy Martin capture my feelings on this best.
During the day, if you're a strong enough hiker then just take no breaks, keep moving (doesn't necessarily have to be really fast). Long pants, sleeves, sun gloves, headnet kept handy.
Take a decent length lunch break, in part to make up for no breaks along the way. Ideally somewhere windy, or sometimes you find a spot that's just mysteriously low in bugs and/or the bugs aren't too aggressive. Backup plan: put up your tent!
Evening: eat cold meals only, or if you must, be efficient at cooking the meal quickly. Put up the tent, get in the tent, and stay in the tent. Use a pee bottle. If the bugs are bad enough, skip brushing your teeth for this particular night.
This strategy works best for me when hiking solo, or hiking with one or more hiking partners that have a similar approach. In an ad hoc group setting, if you feel inclined or required to stay with the group, you're sort of screwed — probably need the chemicals.
Look on the bright side: in the comic books whenever someone falls into a vat of nasty chemicals, they always develop super powers, right? !Feb 20, 2013 at 10:59 am #1956438
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
One more thought about camping in really buggy conditions: if you're the type that is on a regular "#2" morning schedule, dig your hole the night before, unless you're confident that the morning will be too cold for bugs to be out yet.
Very nice in the morning to have that much less time to draw a horde of bugs before you expose all of that skin. It's also a good idea, btw, if you anticipate rain/snow/sleet/hail in the morning, or just cold and/or windy conditions.Feb 21, 2013 at 11:48 am #1956940
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