How to Avoid Bugs and the Heat of Summer without DEET
How can you prevent bug bites without using DEET or other insect repellents, stay cool during day hikes or backpacking trips, and protect your skin from sun burn?
Easy – wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt and a hat when you hike. It’s really not as bad as you think. I’ve been doing it for the past 5 years and rarely get any bug bites. I know how to cool down without taking off all of my clothes, and I never get sun burn.
I still carry a very small quantity of DEET and a little tin of Dermatone sunscreen for my lips and face, but I hardly every need to use them. I stay much cleaner and don’t have to put tons of chemicals on my skin.
I also don’t have to worry nearly as much about have Lyme disease carrying ticks attach themselves to my legs because they’re completely covered. That alone makes wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt completely worth it in summer, even when it’s quite hot out.
Common Questions & Answers
Don’t you sweat? What’s worse: sweating or mosquito bites? You can’t wash off a mosquito bite.
What if you get to hot? I walk into a lake or stream, or pour cold water over my shirt. It’s refreshing to do in hot weather and the bugs still can’t get you through my clothing.
Don’t your boots/shoes get wet? Yes, my mesh trail runners get wet. But they dry very quickly. Gore-tex lined boots and leather boots don’t, which is one of the chief reasons I don’t wear them hiking in summer anymore.
Can’t mosquitoes bite through thin fabrics? While true, they don’t bite through my clothes which are factory-soaked in a bug repellent called Permethrin and stay potent through 100 washings.
What kind of shirt and pants do I wear? I wear Railrider Ecomesh pants and a Railrider Madison River shirt. Both of these garments have mesh venting along the sides that lets me sweat freely but still protects me from bugs. The mesh is a very clever idea and really works. Of course, you could also wear any make of synthetic long pants and a long sleeve shirt and get the same results. This is why park rangers and trail maintenance crews always were long pants and shirts on the job.
Do I ever roll up my sleeves? If there are no bugs out, of course.
How many pairs of pants and shorts do I bring on backpacking trips. Just the ones I’m wearing. If they get too salty or dirty, I just rinse them out. They’re made out of nylon and dry very quickly.
Have you ever considered permanently replacing your hiking shorts with long pants?
Most Popular Searches
- no mosquitoes
- no mosquito
- no mosquito sign