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Backpacking Light Ultralight Mosquito Headnet (DISCONTINUED)

Weighed On Our Scales » 0.33 oz (9 g)

Backpacking Light Ultralight Mosquito Headnet (DISCONTINUED)

One third of an ounce, elastic crown, and generous volume - the lightest functional mosquito headnet available.


About the Ultralight Mosquito Headnet (UMH)

Model No. UMH

Scroll down for more photos and the results of our headnet visibility testing...

Most headnets are heavy (for what they actually accomplish), don't fit well, don't stay in place when not in use, are poorly breathable and thus uncomfortable in warm weather, while hiking, or while sleeping, and don't allow you to view the wildlife and scenery you came out to enjoy in the first place.

The most unique features of the Ultralight Mosquito Headnet are (1) its light weight, (2) an elastic crown to keep the headnet in place over your head or a cap when not in use, and (3) a mesh fabric that provides better ventilation and visibility than noseeum mesh. This headnet was designed by Peter Vacco and proven on his many years of trekking in Alaska's Arctic and Canada's Northwest Territories.


Backpacking Light Ultralight Mosquito Headnet: larger pore size, more breathable, better visibility, less durability (fabric rip resistance), good mosquito protection, less gnat/midge protection*, less weight.

Typical Noseeum Mesh Headnet: smaller pore size, less breathable, less visibility, more durability (fabric rip resistance), good mosquito protection, good gnat/midge protection, more weight.

* Treatment with a permithrin-based insecticide dramatically improves the insect resistance of any headnet, and is particularly recommended for the Backpacking Light Ultralight Mosquito Headnet if you expect to use this headnet as a barrier against tiny insects, such as midges and gnats less than 2 mm in length.

Detailed Photographs

Drop front is deep enough to ventilate a zip-T shirt and remain protected. Interior volume sufficient for wearing over a cap, or layering over several layers of clothes.

Contoured assymetrical shape works equally well with full-brimmed hats, like this Tilley. Note elastic crown (A) and deep drop front (B). Elastic crown keeps the headnet in place in the wind, or while bushwhacking, when you want more ventilation and need less bug protection.

Worn under a hood, a headnet flaps less in wind, provides some face warmth, and minimizes rain drips. A headnet is one option for keeping bugs at bay at night in the absence of a fully-enclosed shelter.

Headnet Visibility Test Results

by Ryan Jordan

I've been searching for a way to accurately evaluate the visibility of life throught the lens of ... mesh. I like my mountain views! I also like to be able to have my vision minimally impaired while behind the mesh of a tent or bivy sack, or headnet, so I can spot wildlife. I wear contact lenses while backpacking, so my vision is bad enough. I don't want to lose another f-stop just because I'm wearing a headnet.

I've experimented with a variety of tests to accurately measure the vision impairment of a headnet. Light transmission, photography through the headnet, and even subjectively evaluating photocopies of headnets on a copy machine.

But photography techniques, and specifically, digital photography techniques, seem to be the most promising.

To test the visibility impairment of the mesh used in the Backpacking Light Ultralight Headnet vs. the standard black noseeum mesh used in most commercially-available headnets, I took three sets of photos of a mountain landscape scene using an Olympus E-500 with a Zukio 14-54 mm f/2.8-3.5 lens at 14mm:

  • Control: A mode (f/8.0), ISO 100, infinite focus, no headnet.
  • Ultralight Headnet: A mode (f/8.0), ISO 100, infinite focus, single layer of headnet mesh placed four inches in front of the lens.
  • Noseeum Mesh: A mode (f/8.0), ISO 100, infinite focus, single layer of headnet mesh placed four inches in front of the lens.

Several images were taken for repeatability in order to draw consistent conclusions.

Images were taken at a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels (~ 8 mp) and saved to the camera's CF card in its highest quality JPG mode with no non-standard modifications by the camera's image processor. Images were imported into image processing software (GIMP), where a faraway tree was cropped from the image. The images were saved in uncompressed JPG format with no other image editing performed, and are presented below at 100% of the true pixel density of the image.

Here are the images (L to R: control, Ultralight Headnet mesh, noseeum mesh):


Conclusions: Clearly, there is difference between the image crop of the "no headnet control" (far left) and the "noseeum mesh" (far right). The difference can be observed both in the exposure (f/8.0 1/30 sec for the noseeum mesh image vs. f/8.0 1/80 sec for the control) and visually simply by examining the image crops. The image crop of the noseeum mesh photograph shows blurred edges in the tree branches resulting from excess diffraction of light between the headnet and the image sensor. Differences in image quality between the control (left) and the Ultralight Headnet mesh (middle) are less obvious than the differences between the Ultralight Headnet mesh (middle) and noseeum mesh (right). The Ultralight Headnet mesh influenced exposure only slightly relative to the no-mesh control (Ultralight Mesh: f/8.0 1/60 sec).

One interesting observation was that the camera was not able to autofocus through the noseeum mesh, but it was able to autofocus through the mesh of the Ultralight Headnet. These results forced us to manually set the camera's focus at infinity.

This is all well and good, but the reality is this: if these differences are not observable in the field, then who cares what the camera says. But, the camera does indeed validate field experience.


  • Unconventional nonwoven ultralight mesh weave keeps mosquitoes out while offering improved breathability and visibility over headnets made with noseeum mesh
  • Fabric pattern provides enough interior volume for wearing the headnet over brimmed caps and allowing for comfortable breathing
  • Fitted drop front allows for headnet compatibility with zip-T neck shirts with their zipper open, without adding the weight of a typical cylindrical headnet
  • Drawcord hem uses ultralight drawcord and toggle to save weight while allowing the headnet to be cinched to improve its seal against insects, or left open for maximum ventilation
  • Elastic headnet crown allows the headnet to be secured over the crown of a cap, keeping it secure in the wind, or while hiking through brush, when the headnet is pulled up and not in use
  • Ultralight materials (fabric, toggle, drawcord, and elastic) make it light enough to carry three for the weight of one headnet made with standard noseeum mesh


  • Fabric: Ultralight synthetic mesh
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 0.33 oz (9 g)


Regular Price$24.99
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