I wear a Sea-to-Summit Head Net with Insect Shield when I hike and backpack during bug season. When coupled with a wide-brimmed hat like my OR Bugout Brim, wearing a head net is far more comfortable and effective than coating my ears, head, chest, and shoulders with insect repellent.
I’ve tried several head nets over the years but the one from Sea-to-Summit works best for me. The weave on some head nets makes me feel nauseous: I think it’s a form of motion sickness from looking through the mesh while I’m walking. But the mesh on the Sea-to-Summit head net is black which makes it easier to see through and I can wear it all day without any side effects. In fact, I don’t even realize that it’s there until I try to eat or drink water.
It surprises me how few people wear head nets during bug season. I did a 16-mile hike yesterday and everyone I encountered was getting eaten alive by the bugs. I must have had a dozen or more people tell me what a smart guy I was for bringing along a head net along. It’s really just common sense.
If you read Section Hiker regularly, you know I like wearing hiking clothes that have been treated with Insect Shield (also called Permethrin), a bug resistant treatment that was developed for the US military to protect soldiers from insect bites in the tropics. The hiking shirts, pants, hat, and socks I’m wearing above are all Insect Shield garments. It doesn’t kill bugs on contact, but it will kill insects after a few minutes if they decide to hang around or crawl under your clothes, including Lyme disease-carrying ticks. Covering up just makes sense for me and means I don’t have to mess around with DEET which I hate wearing.
When worn, the Sea-to-Summit Head Net covers your face and collar so you can keep your shirt open at the top and not worry about the bugs biting you there. The head net also comes with a tiny gear lock that lets you cinch the opening so it won’t blow off your hat in the wind.
The Sea-to-Summit Head Net weighs 0.9 ounces which is well worth the added freight. While it’s fine mesh, it’s sturdy enough to be used as a stuff sack for loose stuff in your pack until you need it. The head net is packaged with its own little stuff sack, but I lose those things so quickly that I just store mine bunched up in the top lid of my backpack or the chest pocket of my raincoat, which I typically wear at dinner when the bugs are at their worst.
For the money, the Sea-to-Summit Head Net is one of the most effective chemical-free bug deterrents available for hiking and camping out there.
Disclosure: The author purchased this product with his own funds.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and some sellers may contribute a small portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.