As camping seasons hits full throttle its time to take a look at a few little things that make camping very unpleasant. Bugs. They are everywhere and they are very annoying. We all have our horror stories of being eaten alive by all sorts of bugs and how we tried to prevent them. The obvious choice would be to use a product with a very high level of DEET. Well what happens when you are allergic to DEET or you are with small children? Products with a high concentration of DEET can harm young children some adults and even pets so we need to look into alternatives. I have heard several stories from long distance backpackers who have used high concentrations of DEET over long periods of time got light headed and or nauseous while wearing it for long periods of time. Many people have suggested using Deep Woods Off or even Cutter bug spray.
Where do you look when those do not work? The first place is to take a look at natural products. One of the highly recommended products on the market is called 45ºN 68ºW. 45ºN 68ºW is an all natural Insect repellent made with pharmaceutical grade oils. It is DEET-free, Petroleum & Paraben free, No GMO’s/synthetic dyes, Antiseptic properties and is Biodegradable . It repels Ticks, Flies, Gnats, No-see-ums, Fleas & Mosquitoes. Just like other bug sprays it will need to be re applied several times to your clothing or directly to the skin if you plan on being outside for long periods of time.
Another solution to keep those pesky bugs away is to use a product call Permethrin. Permethrin is a insecticide that can be sprayed on clothing and camping gear to keep the bugs away. Many bugs such as Ticks, Flies, Gnats, No-see-ums, Fleas & Mosquitoes will die on contact with the treated material.
One thing to note is that you should not treat your clothing with Permethrin while wearing them.
It is suggested that you spray your clothes, backpacks, or tents in a well ventilated area away from animals and young children. Permethrin has low toxicity, is poorly absorbed through the skin and is rapidly inactivated by the body. Skin reactions have been uncommon. Some health issues have been reported but those have been caused by excessive exposure.
The really nice thing about treating your clothing and gear with Permethrin is that it lasts up to 6 weeks even if washed several times. One thing to keep in mind is that the more times you wash your clothes after being treated the lifespan of the treatment will decrease. Permethrin is highly recommended for people who are going into areas that are known to have West Nile or Lyme Disease outbreaks. If you are not familiar with Lyme Disease I recommend this website. Sources also recommend using Permethrin in conjunction with other bug sprays or bug repellent lotions you apply directly to your skin for a complete body cover.
Happy Bug Free Trails.