How to Stay Bug-Free While Camping:Permethrin and Bug Repellent
Today, I want to share with you my process for staying bug-free when camping. Whether I'm using a tarp, cowboy camping, or even in a tent, I follow a series of steps to ensure that I stay protected from all sorts of bugs, including ticks, spiders, caterpillars, fleas, mosquitoes, and more. Last year, I filmed an adventure where I slept on the ground and talked about how I went about treating my gear to stay bug-free. In that episode, I even showed you how well it worked, with bugs crawling out onto my sleep system and dying. So, let's get into it.
First and foremost, it goes without saying that staying bug-free is incredibly important. There are many different types of insects out there that can cause serious problems. While most people think of mosquitoes and ticks, spiders, caterpillars, and fleas can all be dangerous as well. For example, a brown recluse spider bite can cause serious damage to your body, and caterpillars with venomous hairs can send you to the hospital.
To stay protected, I follow a two-prong approach. The first involves a product called permethrin, which I have been using for about 20 years on my clothing and gear. Permethrin is an insecticide that affects an insect's nervous system, causing muscle spasms, paralysis, and then death. It is not dangerous to humans or most pets and livestock, and you can find it in over 1400 products. You can use permethrin to kill ticks, spiders, caterpillars, mosquitoes, fleas, roaches, flies, and more. I treat my clothing, gear, and shoes with permethrin, but never my underwear.
It's essential to let permethrin dry thoroughly before wearing or using treated items. While permethrin is generally safe for humans and animals, cats can have difficulty dealing with the chemical, so it's best to keep treated items away from them.
When it comes to treating your gear with permethrin, I recommend doing a test spot first to make sure there are no issues with discoloration or staining. A treatment can last up to one year, depending on use. You can even use permethrin to treat your groundsheet, as I showed in a previous episode.
The second prong of my approach to staying bug-free is bug repellent. While permethrin kills bugs, it doesn't necessarily deter them. So, for exposed skin, I recommend using a repellent. Plant-based repellents can work, but in heavy mosquito areas, I use 100% DEET, which works exceptionally well.
In conclusion, staying bug-free while camping is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. By using permethrin and bug repellent, you can protect yourself from all sorts of insects. Let permethrin dry thoroughly before using treated items, and do a test spot on your gear first to avoid discoloration or staining. And, don't forget to use bug repellent on exposed skin. Share your bug-repelling tips in the comments below, and as always, stay safe and be well on your camping adventures!