View Full Version : Shelters vs Bugs...
I have been planning to use both a tent and shelters along the trail. Up 'till now I didn't even think about bug issues.
With a tent this is not an issue, but when staying in shelters, I have to assume they can become quite annoying. Seems like a waste to bring along some sort of bug net that I don't need when using the tent. Maybe I should just switch to a tarp err... I mean Hammock.:)
Assuming a NB trip, when will we begin to run into annoying bugs (biting flies and mosquitos)? I wouldn't think until mid-to-late May. But June, July and August are probably going to suck.
Bugs became an issue for me as I approached Shenandoah national Park just before memorial Day weekend. Little gnats with an uncanny ability to land IN your eyes. Mosquitoes reared their ugly head in PA and were worst in MA in late June. hankfully the black flies were gone (for the most part) by the time I reached the White Mountains in Mid-July.
Thanks. When did you leave springer?
Started March 7 2000 at Springer. Finished August 21 2000 on Special K.
The bug situation will vary based upon the amount of precipitation. So.... your experience could be different than mine.
Spring 2001 had a warm spell. The biting bugs were out in NC. Ran into some serious biting gnat type bugs just before we got to Fontana. Weather cooled down and they seemed to go away. So as TNJED says... depends on the year.
A head net, which weighs nothing, should be a must. It saved my butt hiking in July in the Whites (S. and N. Kinsman) and in April in Massachusetts (I was sectioning around for about 3 months last year).
For sleeping in a shelter I used it once but it was too hot. I should have got out and pitched the tent.
Black fles are the worst and that's when I needed the head net.
Look into a bug bivy for sleeping. I was trying to sleep in a 30 degree bag and a head net and it was like 70 degrees so I almost suffocated.
Sleepy the Arab
I could deal with the little biting gnats that appeared around the Bryant Ridge Shelter area in Virginia. The mosquitoes I encountered in Connecticut though were the worst. I couldn't even eat my dinner at Skagti....Schagatico....er, those tentsites about 8 miles south of Kent. Pine Swamp Shelter was also brutal, but should be avaoided just because of the ripe, swamp-brewed water there.
We started March 5th, 2002. I remember bugs becoming a REAL issue as we hit the PA area...and they were out in full force and BRUTAL by New York. The little gnat things never bothered us as much as the mosquitos, but boy did those mosquitos suck. We were covered in bites, everywhere. We bought 100% deet spray and applied it to everything, and that seemed to be a pretty good deterrent while we were moving, but after mid-May, we didn't stay in shelters anymore, we camped in tents the entire remainder of the trip.
The bugs were more horrible than I could have imagined them being...they literally swarmed around some water areas and I remember them being particularly terrible in the field at the Franciscan friar place; Greymoor. I remember reading all this on trailplace before we left and thinking "yeah, but how bad can they be, really?" They are bad. REALLY. Our friends who were tarping bought those Bug-bivy things that don't have a floor but go over your head, leaving your body free; and said "they work, to a degree; but nothing works like a tent." :D
The guy at the backpackers store had some spray with "permethrin" in it. However, he said it was brutal stuff and warned strongly that you cannot let it get on your skin. It was for clothing only, but works at keeping the bugs off, especially when used with deet. Any experience with this or other sprays or laundry addatives?
Skeemer, you will find a discussion of permethin on Sgt Rocks website. http://hikinghq.net/forum/index.php?