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  1. #1

    Default Head Net Suggestions

    I plan to begin a LASH starting at Delaware Water Gap heading north in mid May. From what I have read, I should expect to run into the black fly season.

    Iíve picked up a lightweight UPF 50+ long sleeve hoodie shirt (fishing & hiking) for some protection.

    Any suggestions on specific head nets that offer protection but aren't too annoying?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    You won't need a headnet. I used one only once, in NH in June. Unless you'll be up in northern New England mid-May - late June, you won't encounter really bad black flies. Bugs can always be a problem at night, but if you have a tent with netting, it's a non-issue.
    Springer to Katahdin: 1991-2018

  3. #3

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    Sea to Summit makes a head net that will fit over a hat. They have one treated with Permethrin, and one not treated.
    Even if you don’t end up needing it, it is light and packs in its own mini stuff sack.

  4. #4
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    Several years ago I got a UST mosquito head for a dollar at Walmart. Then I snipped out a section at the crown for a tent mesh repair. Doesn't hurt functionality since I always wear a hat or bandana. But I still got a backup in the S2S permethrin one. Frankly I don't see any advantage other than a nice tiny stuff sack, because I treated the UST one with permethrin I have on hand.

    A couple years ago I noticed the UST ones were up to all of $1.50.

    Can't go too far wrong either way.

  5. #5

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    I wished I had one going thru Cumberland Valley on humid summer day cuz all dem skeeters
    Last edited by HankIV; 05-04-2021 at 20:02. Reason: Emoji didnít translate

  6. #6
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    I'm on board with time zone. Walmart has UST or coughlans very cheap. I reasoned since it is extremely light and dual purpose it stays in the kit. Used mine as sack for electronics.

    When needed I wear like a lunch ladies hair net. Rolled up out of my face but covers ears and meets collar on back of neck.

  7. #7

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    Few things are worse than biting insects incessantly trying to get at you, which don't seem to respond to repellant. A head net stashed in the pack can be one of the more prescient items to carry that can be quickly deployed to avoid multiple bites and the ever popular "who can inhale the most small bugs in 5-steps". Common logic suggests there may be little need for head nets from mid spring through fall, experience suggests otherwise when swarms suddenly find their way to you.

    Sea to Summit has a good head net (as do others I'm sure but I've not used them), at 1.3 ounces (with net storage stuff sack) it's light enough to keep handy in the pack through spring and late summer. The draw strings help to keep the netting in place and prevents the teeny access that every fly in the swarm seems to locate instantly. I find a wide brimmed hat to be essential to prevent the netting from resting agains my skin and negating their function, which in my view is why many people don't find them useful. Depending on the season I carry either a Tilley hat in cooler months, or light sun hat in warmer months, both having a full wide brim, keeping the netting from the face, ears, and neck (especially useful in rain).

    I have tried several different solutions to avoid biting insects, from hats with tassels soaked in bug juice to scarves worn in Bedouin style and have found the least expensive, lightest, and best overall defense is the head net.

  8. #8
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    on repellent vs. headnets

    100% DEET can be pretty damaging to synthetics, painted surfaces, etc. I once carried a little spray bottle of it, but it really damages plastics. Basically melts them. IIRC Deep Woods Off is about 35%, and that is even stronger than the "normal" version (which I haven't seen in awhile). That's sufficient and less likely to cause damage. Makes skin feel greasy/oily though. Don't handle contact lenses with any OFF on your hands. You should always wash them before anyway, but especially watch out for that stuff.

    Picaridin is said to be equally effective, and does not have the melty-plastic effect. However, the bottle of Sawyer picaridin lotion I have says to apply no more than twice a day ... that can be really limiting. What's more, if you have applied some on your face and later sweat drips down, I found it leaves a numbing sensation when the sweat hits your lips. That's a bit unsettling. I find there's also a rubbery sensation/feel to where it is applied on skin.

    As a result of these side-effects and limitations, I prefer to minimize the use of bug spray, and use a headnet when it's necessary around the head. Exposed arms and legs you may have to coat anyway, but if you can stand the extra warmth / reduced breeze under a net, I'd rather do that than deal with a sweat+repellent mixture getting into my eyes and mouth.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    on repellent vs. headnets

    100% DEET can be pretty damaging to synthetics, painted surfaces, etc. I once carried a little spray bottle of it, but it really damages plastics. Basically melts them. IIRC Deep Woods Off is about 35%, and that is even stronger than the "normal" version (which I haven't seen in awhile). That's sufficient and less likely to cause damage. Makes skin feel greasy/oily though. Don't handle contact lenses with any OFF on your hands. You should always wash them before anyway, but especially watch out for that stuff.

    Picaridin is said to be equally effective, and does not have the melty-plastic effect. However, the bottle of Sawyer picaridin lotion I have says to apply no more than twice a day ... that can be really limiting. What's more, if you have applied some on your face and later sweat drips down, I found it leaves a numbing sensation when the sweat hits your lips. That's a bit unsettling. I find there's also a rubbery sensation/feel to where it is applied on skin.

    As a result of these side-effects and limitations, I prefer to minimize the use of bug spray, and use a headnet when it's necessary around the head. Exposed arms and legs you may have to coat anyway, but if you can stand the extra warmth / reduced breeze under a net, I'd rather do that than deal with a sweat+repellent mixture getting into my eyes and mouth.
    I agree but there are times when I need both. I have a Ben's headnet, but any of them are probably pretty good.

    One of the most annoying things to me is a cloud of gnats that gets just close enough to annoy the living $#!+ out of me but not close enough to get repelled by deet. In those instances a head net is a godsend.

    Another is when walking down the trail early morning and being the first person to catch all the spider webs and little caterpillar fibers across the trail, in which case the headnet provides some relief.

    One evening at Copper Lake on the Copper Ridge loop in the North Cascades and on many trips to the Adirondacks I would have been eaten alive by mosquitoes and black flies without a net, even when using deet. Some of those critters don't seem to be fazed by deet.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    on repellent vs. headnets

    100% DEET can be pretty damaging to synthetics, painted surfaces, etc. I once carried a little spray bottle of it, but it really damages plastics. Basically melts them. IIRC Deep Woods Off is about 35%, and that is even stronger than the "normal" version (which I haven't seen in awhile). That's sufficient and less likely to cause damage. Makes skin feel greasy/oily though. Don't handle contact lenses with any OFF on your hands. You should always wash them before anyway, but especially watch out for that stuff.

    Picaridin is said to be equally effective, and does not have the melty-plastic effect. However, the bottle of Sawyer picaridin lotion I have says to apply no more than twice a day ... that can be really limiting. What's more, if you have applied some on your face and later sweat drips down, I found it leaves a numbing sensation when the sweat hits your lips. That's a bit unsettling. I find there's also a rubbery sensation/feel to where it is applied on skin.

    As a result of these side-effects and limitations, I prefer to minimize the use of bug spray, and use a headnet when it's necessary around the head. Exposed arms and legs you may have to coat anyway, but if you can stand the extra warmth / reduced breeze under a net, I'd rather do that than deal with a sweat+repellent mixture getting into my eyes and mouth.
    Study after study has shown that 100% deet is overkill. Peak effectiveness is around 30% anything more than that and its just more side effects (like melted plastic and no benefits). if you want longer duration #M makes Ultrathon for the military and consumer. its 30% DEET but mixed with something to keep it on the skins surface for longer.

  11. #11
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    I have a few head nets that I have carried many times in the past.
    I find using them as dual duty stuff sacks frustrating, because when I need the head net, my need for the stuff sack doesn't go away.
    I don't care for the reduced air flow around my head, the fiddly fabric around my face, and the slightly altered visibility with head nets. So, if the bugs aren't too bad, I'd rather use a little repellent than a head net. So, 99 of the time, I never used the net I take with me.
    BUT! When the bugs are so bad you can't breath without inhaling them and they are flying into your ear canals and buzzing around, there are times when a head net is the difference between a manageable existence, and an untenable situation.

    So in general, I don't bother taking a head net with me on the trail. But, if there is genuine risk of serious hatching somewhere along my trip, especially given how small and light they are, I'll take one as insurance.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  12. #12

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    I carry a Couglans in my pack from spring until mid summer, I rarely use it but on rare occasions it has been a sanity saver. They do not weigh much or take up much space. Unfortunately that means they get lost on occasion.

  13. #13
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    I have a Sea-to-Summit headnet that spends most time tucked away and essentially lost in a hipbelt pocket, but I've pulled it out a few times and have been glad for it -- times when the bugs have been so thick that the bites are the least of the problem, because they are flying up my nose and in my ears. In my experience, no DEET or any other potion is going to help with that. I have also been happy to have it when dealing with spider webs across the trail, too.

    I wouldn't know how to compare one brand against others; I imagine they're all equally effective -- and equally annoying: there's just something that feels weird and claustrophobic about wearing a screen porch around my head. As someone else already mentioned, wearing a fully brimmed hat is critical to any headnet's effectiveness.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  14. #14
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    You may want to add a pair of loose cotton type gloves. When I take them off I put them on the ends of hiking stick so they dont get lost. I made room in my pack for skeeter net that went over my hat and fluffy hair. Only wore in evenings. I just picked up a long sleeve white dress shirt at a thrift shop for sun and bugs. I Nimblewills wears one on his blogs, so gonna check it out. Happy Hiking.

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    When our daughter got married 2-and-a-half years ago, I bought an entire bolt of soft ivory tulle. Had lots left over, so I made head nets for me and my husband. I suppose we looked a bit odd in our "bridal veils." Oh well.

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