August Bug Pressure – Desolation Wilderness (PCT Section)

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Home Forums Gear Forums Gear Lists August Bug Pressure – Desolation Wilderness (PCT Section)

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    Michael B
    BPL Member


    Hi folks,
    I and a few others will be hiking the west side of Tahoe on the PCT later this month in Desolation Wilderness, from Echo Lakes to Truckee. I was planning to use a long sleeve, headnet, shorts and tights, but I’m beginning to doubt whether the tights are a good choice, and if I should just wear pants instead. It is supposed to be in the upper 80s, so I’d like to avoid pants and the additional sweat factor, but am willing to deal if you think bugs might eat me alive through the tights. Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Chris S
    BPL Member


    Locale: Truckee, CA

    Bugs shouldn’t be an issue later this month.  I camped at Stoney Ridge Lake and hiked up to Jakes Peak last week and hardly noticed the bugs.

    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wine Country

    August?  Bugs are a concern in June…maybe July.  The whole reason to go in August is that the swamps have dried up and the bugs are few and far between.



    Adrian Griffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Sacramento

    I agree, you’ll be past the bug season. Maybe around Lake Margery. Bugs are very localized. The trick is to camp away from water in an area with breezes. Stay away from the illegal campsites within 100 ft of lakes or creeks. I don’t think you’ll need the headnet. Just take some citronella.

    The ability to carry water will liberate you from lakeshores. I take a Juvale 5 liter collapsible water container–$8.99 for a 2-pack at Amazon with many other options there. Sea to Summit’s 10 liter Ultra-sil folding bucket is also good. It’s not self standing so you have to make something to steady it from a piece of microcord, a snap hook, and a sliding cord lock.

    As for bottoms at that time of year, I wear shorts and put on legwarmers for the cold evening. The spandex legwarmers sold at sporting goods stores are no good–they’re intended for bike riders, windproof but not warm. I googled ‘fleece legwarmers’ and found some at Support Plus, a site that sells supplies for elderly people. They work great–5.5 oz.

    Have fun there.

    David Gardner
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    I like the no-see-um outfits. Top, pants, or both. Very light, cool and breezy but defeats all bugs all the time.

    Michael B
    BPL Member


    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I think I’ll bring a head net as insurance, but leave the pants at home. As for water, I intend to bring a 3L bladder and a smart water bottle for storage and camp shower, so I should be good for that. Thanks again!

    Doug Coe
    BPL Member


    Locale: Bay Area, CA, USA

    I was just at Emigrant Wilderness this week: Kennedy Meadows, south for a loop past High Emigrant Lake. One mosquito, one night that was too lazy to bite me.

    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    Light clothing weighs the same as dark clothing but attracts fewer mosquitos.

    I’m loath to leave behind light, 100% nylon long pants and a LS shirt, but that’s a combination of mosquitos in Alaska and bush-whacking around blown-down beetle-killed spruce trees.

    DEET or lemon eucalyptus oil work well for me, but most years I never use any – if I keep hiking, it’s rarely bad enough.  Inland fishing (with both hands occupied)?  Then I’ll want a head net and DEET along.

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