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DEET - How much for high Sierras mid-late July?
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Brent Mahan

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
DEET - How much for high Sierras mid-late July? on 06/26/2012 08:37:56 MDT Print View

I'll be hiking the Sierra High Route from Road's End in King's Canyon up to Twin Lakes N of Yosemite. Starting 7/13 and ending 7/30.

How are the bugs this season with the light snow?

Major question I have is how much DEET I will need per day/week for the trip.

I know it has been discussed at length elsewhere, but any specific product recommendations for insect repellant? Heart good things about 3M Ultrathon, but that's only 19% DEET. Also considering the Repel Sportsman (40%) pump.

I will also be bringing a headnet and long sleeves/long pants.

Bulk of the route is above the tree line, though there will be times and nights that I spend in the trees.


As a side note, I've never used permethrin, but I'm a bit leery of saturating my tight-fitting clothing in an incecticide and then going out and moving/sweating constantly in it for a couple of weeks. Just doesn't sound safe.

Edited by thenerb on 06/26/2012 08:44:47 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
DEET depends on your bug tolerance on 06/26/2012 09:04:27 MDT Print View

I've heard 30% DEET is needed. How much you need is up to you and how many bugs you can tolerate before applying a repellent. For me, they have to be pretty bad to the point I can't do anything between swats.

Tommy Franzen
(Tomlike) - F

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
deet on 06/26/2012 09:10:26 MDT Print View

Check the High Sierra Topix, lots of info on mosquitoes right now.

Edited by Tomlike on 06/26/2012 09:14:31 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: DEET - How much for high Sierras mid-late July? on 06/26/2012 09:24:07 MDT Print View

The REI Jungle Juice is something like 98% DEET. Doesn't take much to cover your exposed skin.

Not sure if this was the problem, but years ago a small amount of DEET leaked at the bottom of my nylon pack. A while later the material deteriorated at that spot. Not 100% the DEET did it.

Normally a net, gloves and clothes provide adequate protection for me. May not work for others.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"DEET - How much for high Sierras mid-late July?" on 06/26/2012 09:56:38 MDT Print View

I was leery of Permethrin too. However, I've treated my hiking shirt for three seasons now and I haven't seemed to suffer any ill effects. Nevertheless, I did just switch from a capilene base hiking shirt to a Western Mountaineering sun shirt that has the added benefit of being loose fitting and made partially of nylon. It's excellent against mosquitoes. In the worst part of the season I also wear a Solumbra shade hat; i.e. it has a drape that you can velcro closed over most of your face when confronted with a swarm of skeeters, then "unzip" when in the clear. That and a headnet and sun-grubbies for my hands means I can go deet-free.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
DEET - How much for high Sierras mid-late July? on 06/26/2012 10:12:15 MDT Print View

"Major question I have is how much DEET I will need per day/week for the trip."

IMO, determining how much to bring is almost more important than % DEET. As a Sierra hiker who takes no netting - neither for my tarp nor headgear, etc, I think I have a pretty good handle on mosquito repellent.

I apply 3m at the TH with a good dosing of Ben's as frosting. My ROT is 1oz for every 3-4 days. I have those handy little REI 1 & 2 oz bottles in which I mix 1/2 3M and 1/2 Bens.



Also, don't forget sunscreen. Rather than take little bottles of Bullfrog, etc, I simply dispense a big bottle of no-brand sport SPF 50 into 2 & 4 oz bottles. My ROT is 2x DEET.

For example, a 4 day hike would require 1 oz DEET & 2 oz sunscreen. This assumes a very liberal bathing of each @ the TH.

Also, take a big sun-hat - and not those silly floppy caps either. Lifeguards, surfers & construction workers have been wearing these out in the hot sun for decades:

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: DEET depends on your bug tolerance on 06/26/2012 10:43:15 MDT Print View

FWIW, I never bought into the notion that high DEET content was necessary. I tend to use lower DEET content repellent and apply liberally and frequently. I actually like Off! Skintastic at only 7% DEET.

Edited by staehpj1 on 06/26/2012 10:43:45 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
DEET - How much for high Sierras mid-late July? on 06/26/2012 11:09:50 MDT Print View

Last year on my last day out after coming over Kearsarge Pass, I gave away the 15+ year old Bens that I had to a guy who forgot his, shows how much I used over all those years. If you have ta bathe in it, I guess you'll need a lot. A little DEET goes a long ways, it's not like applying hand lotion to your hands. Can't help there.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
DEET percentage vs. duration on 06/26/2012 12:58:10 MDT Print View

IIRC, the benefit of increased DEET concentrations is in duration, rather than effectiveness. (This will determine how often you re-apply; durations listed on the package are probably optimistic.)

As DEET is notoriously nasty to plastics (and not exactly non-toxic), I would also suggest taking a look at a 20% Picaridin product. The effectiveness may be similar, but without the risk of melting your gear.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
to the deet of the matter on 06/26/2012 14:40:42 MDT Print View

DEET just plain works, but I have found that the 3M Ultrathon really does work for a long time with similar effectiveness to the old standby, 99% REI Jungle Juice. Ultrathon is "time-release" and I'm impressed with its performance. The thing with DEET is that you really want to keep it off your nylon gear and then there's that mutation thing... so I use a combination of products in the High Sierra:

--Ultrathon in the liquid pumper, for my legs and arms in the morning
--Picarin spray for use on trail w/o concern where it goes
--Pyrethrin-soaked headnet on my pyrethrin-soaked hat, above my pyrethrin-soaked, light-colored hiking shirt (which I wear over a very light inner layer.
--Pyrethrin-soaked tent body and fly
--wash-off at night to minimize transfer of the DEET and other oils to my bag.

Now, the pyrethrin-soaked tent parts have been compared to similar size and color tents nearby and they do have fewer of the vulturous beasts hanging out on them at night than the tents w/o. The headnets...well, the little fellas seemed unaffected, but I think the cheapo, Coughlan's headnets are one of the best purchases for High Sierra happiness, ever. Ha ha!

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
100% on 06/27/2012 19:08:16 MDT Print View


Edited by JasonG on 04/06/2013 17:03:36 MDT.