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Well I'll be dipped in DEET!
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james w glenn
(bark-eater) - F
Well I'll be dipped in DEET! on 06/17/2011 17:14:40 MDT Print View

I got hammered by Lymes a while back, and have started using a lot of DEET when outdoors in the North East "red zone". I am concerned about damaging nylon gear, particularly my sleeping bag, if I keep my self slathered in the stuff. I have been treating my gear with Pyrethium bed bug spray, but cant see hiking in long shirts and pants, and not over heating. What kind of gear, poison, and strategy's are you'all using to keep the crawly vampires at bay?

Edited by bark-eater on 06/17/2011 17:15:27 MDT.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Permethrin on 06/17/2011 17:58:31 MDT Print View

I hike in permethrin treated clothes (including hat and socks, but not underwear), hit the forearms, calves, and neck with deet, and wash it all off at the end of the day before hitting the sack. Still have had some ticks on calves, but not nearly as many.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Well I'll be dipped in DEET! on 06/17/2011 18:20:37 MDT Print View

Permethrin on my clothing and picaridin on my exposed skin. The 20% solutions work better for me than the lesser concentrations.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
ticks on 06/17/2011 18:33:25 MDT Print View

Same as Dondo, plus shower and wash clothing after day hiking. Keep to the hardened trails at higher elevations around home. Both Sawyer and Naturepel make 20% Pic products.
Backpack in northern ME, Cohos Trail north of the Whites in NH, or high elevations in Colorado, where ticks are not so much a problem as around home.
Sorry to hear you got nailed. The only good solution will be if a lyme vaccine is reintroduced. My shelties are kept current with the one for dogs.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: ticks on 06/17/2011 18:45:33 MDT Print View

Picaridin looks good at the higher concentrations. Thanks for the heads up.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Well I'll be dipped in DEET! on 06/17/2011 19:20:48 MDT Print View

Perhaps you are not looking at the right pants and long sleeve shirts. I am always amazed how many people would rather cover themselves in chemicals for bugs and sun protection instead of just wearing UL long sleeve shirt and pants. A long sleeve white shirt is much cooler if you are in the sun.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Well I'll be dipped in DEET! on 06/17/2011 19:32:19 MDT Print View

So what did people do before bug dope, a la John Muir?

I'd wager:
1. Tough it out. (Thankfully, disease is not an issue for most of us today/in the West).
2. Wear clothes and a headnet during peak hours
3. Establish camps AWAY from water sources and low spots (stealth camping as Ray Jardine advises)
4. ???

I've always gotten away with #2 and 3...have had some tough experiences, yes, but never bad enough to slather myself or my clothing in chemicals.

Just some thoughts.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Well I'll be dipped in DEET! on 06/17/2011 19:33:20 MDT Print View

Long sleeve shirt, full pants, and gaiters. All treated with permethrin (a recent addition, in years past it was just the untreated clothes).

No deet or other bug juice.

Edited by idester on 06/17/2011 19:36:14 MDT.

Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
No Bug Juice on 06/18/2011 21:18:49 MDT Print View

I'm moving to long-sleeve to avoid using sunscreen and was considering the same for the bugs on my JMT trip. I did order a MLD headnet, waiting for that and my Cricket! Are Dirty-Girl gaiters enough Doug? Especially with this amount of melting snow? I start on July 29.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Gaitors on 06/19/2011 08:17:35 MDT Print View

"Are Dirty-Girl gaiters enough Doug? Especially with this amount of melting snow? "

With a Large Dirty Girl, on a size 11 shoe, I don't see enough tension along the bottom edge to keep the snow out.

If I were anticipating hours and hours of punching snow, I would go to an instep-strap gaitor, and a Bunch of spare cords.


Edited by greg23 on 06/19/2011 08:18:06 MDT.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Well I'll be dipped in DEET! on 06/20/2011 05:21:01 MDT Print View

I have never tried this product but it looks interesting.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Well I'll be dipped in DEET on 06/20/2011 07:52:08 MDT Print View

Repel Permanone comes in a .5% solution. The local Wal-mart has a horse dip solution sold by the quart a 2.5% so add 4 parts water and you have the .5% if you want to make a soak at less expense than buying the kit sold by Sawyer.

Deet's pretty icky and melts elastics and water-proofing and ummmmm. We have ticks and chiggers year 'round everywhere that isn't mown, paved or bare sand and the bites are really itchy and last a lonnnng time! What to do?

I took an old pair of thicker acrylic socks and gym shorts, cut out the feet and cut off the waistband and treated those to a permethrin soak. Wear the old socks as gaiters and the waist-band goes there and presto no next to skin contact and the main access points are blocked. This system has been used almost daily for years and stops chiggers and ticks. Mosqitoes and other flying insects are another issue and personally I rely on lightweight and light colored long-sleeves and pants treated with permethrin.

As another aside: There's nothing wrong and plenty right with using clothing to cover your skin no matter how hot or sunny. Hopefully this life you're exploring is a long-term campaign and not a short maneuver........ maybe you won't get to experience the joys of a fluorouracil mask and etc.... nitrogen freezing..... sheet that stuff stings..... so take care of your skin you may need it awhile! Oh and don't forget the hat and a ball-cap isn't enough!

james w glenn
(bark-eater) - F
Suited on 06/20/2011 16:21:18 MDT Print View

Well I bit the bullet and ordered "suit" from Rail Riders. The Weather Pants and Madison river shirt are not the lightest offerings but come pretreated against bugs. I will add a pair of OR bug gaiters. What the hell I'm middle aged I can dress the part.

Anwer Qureishi
(45N68W) - F
Re: Re: Well I'll be dipped in DEET! on 12/30/2011 03:36:58 MST Print View

Hi Donna -- We are the manufacturer's of the 45N 68W Natural Insect Repellent, if you can connect with us on I will be glad to send you a TRAIL sized sample.

Happy Trails!

Anwer hiking [at] 45N68W [dot] com

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Picaridin 20% on 12/30/2011 13:09:24 MST Print View

Picaridin 20% is the only solution I have found that is non-toxic, smells really good, and WORKS.

Picaridin is mainly used against mosquitoes and horse flies now, but it was initially formulated for ticks, and it works VERY well for ticks (better than deet).

The 3.5-oz. Natrapel bottles at REI are 20% picaridin, that's what I usually buy. That's a liquid formula, that can be re-packaged into tinier bottles if you wish. (The bottle sprays the liquid, but is not an aerosol.)

Sawyer, Repel, and Avon Skin So Soft also make Picaridin solutions.

I have seen mini 1-oz. spray bottles, in Target? or somewhere, but they are expensive, per-ounce.

Read the bottles carefully to make sure you are getting a 20% concentration. Most of the old ones were only 7.5%.

Deet is toxic and will be partially absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream. If Deet melts nylon, imagine what it does in your bloodstream?

My limited research suggests that Permethrin has a low toxicity for mammals and is not easily absorbed in the skin, but it is very toxic to aquatic life. If a piece of clothing is going to be wetted directly in a stream or lake during your trip, don't spray on the Permethrin. It is also very highly toxic to cats; do not spray it on while your cat is anywhere nearby.

- Elizabeth

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Neighbor's obnoxious cat? on 12/30/2011 16:09:15 MST Print View

Elizabeth says: "[Permethrin] is also very highly toxic to cats; do not spray it on while your cat is anywhere nearby."

Can I spray it on my neighbor's cat that p00ps on my lawn every night?

No, I wouldn't really do that - just tempted to every once in awhile!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Neighbor's obnoxious cat? on 12/30/2011 16:43:34 MST Print View

"Can I spray it on my neighbor's cat that p00ps on my lawn every night? "

Just load up your squirt gun with liquid ammonia cleaner and spritz the cat. They hate that.

If you dilute the cleaner, it may work good enough.


David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
bug system on 12/30/2011 16:58:24 MST Print View

We use a system approach for our SAR work in the thick swamps in the heat of July and August. We coat our clothing in Permethrin - make sure to wear long sleeves and pants. Tuck your pant legs into gaiters or long socks. We spray DEET on all exposed skin and wear a head net with an open front for improved vision. When at rest for eating and in camp, we burn pic coils. They hate the smoke and you can clear an area under your tarp fairly quickly this way. oh, yeah, bring ear plugs for sleeping at night as the whine from hundreds of the little darlings can keep you awake.

Learned a lot this year on bug management.

Good Luck,


? DEET is toxic - Wish I would have known - been using it for most of my life- have to check for extra appendages

Edited by dmgoody on 12/30/2011 16:59:37 MST.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
DEET is relatively safe, and effective on 12/30/2011 19:40:12 MST Print View

N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) is the most effective, and best studied, insect repellent currently on the market. This substance has a remarkable safety profile after 40 years of worldwide use, but toxic reactions can occur (usually when the product is misused). When DEET-based repellents are applied in combination with permethrin-treated clothing, protection against bites of nearly 100% can be achieved.

I had a compass face get damaged when a DEET bottle leaked. However, I have had DEET on my skin hundreds of times without it then damaging sleeping bags and the like. As long as there isn't actually DEET smeared on an object I've never had a problem.

Like others, I rely on long sleeves, long pants and a handkerchief hanging below my cap to ward off skeets as much as possible. Where there is Lyme disease, repellant use is probably smart as well.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Deer Ticks - UPDATE on 12/30/2011 20:13:27 MST Print View

1. Keeping to hardened trails to get to higher altitudes above tick infested areas. They operate mostly by waiting on brush to brush onto you - no brush, no brush.

2. Permethrin sprayed on footwear, sox and pants legs to stop the ones on the grass and other low vegetation.

3. Going further north of the Whites on the Cohos Trail or to Northern Maine where haven't found any ... yet. Or to higher altitudes in Colorado for the same reason.

4. Here around Chocorua, waiting for winter to do the bushwacking and path walking. Makes winter worth waiting for.

5. Wash clothing and shower and remove ticks after hiking in tick areas during tick season. Last tick season, had only one deer tick to remove. Studies here show that about 50% of deer ticks carry lyme.

Unfortunately, deer tick season here keeps getting longer. They are out in the Spring, and the last two years we have had hatches in October. And many folks around here still insist there's no global warming. What are they thinking.

I have two shelties who hike with me, so I know right away from whether they pick up deer ticks, if the above is working or not. Don't worry much about the other kinds of ticks, although they are ugly little buggers. The FrontLine helps with the dogs, and the dog ticks are slow to bite people. Flush them.

I use DEET or Picaridin for flying insects, but don't rely on it much for ticks, especially deer ticks, that access the lower body through clothing.

As for you folks around Missouri, all my sympathy and sorry 'bout that!

Edited by scfhome on 12/30/2011 20:20:13 MST.