If you’re backpacking or going on a hiking holiday, it’s extremely important that you’re prepared to fight against the age-old nuisance - mosquitoes and other bugs! Wilderness explorers have to deal with buzzing and biting and then the inevitable itch if they aren’t prepared. In some cases, for those who are more adventurous, there can be even more danger - Dengue, or even Zika, can all be an issue in foreign lands, which means that, in every scenario, being prepared for mosquitos is important.
When it comes to mosquitoes, your first line of defence in the wilderness (and anywhere, really) will be the clothing you wear. To understand this, it’s best to know the science behind how mosquitoes choose who to bite - as there is actually an exact science!
Mosquitoes find their targets in a few distinct ways. The main way they find human targets is through the CO2 in our breath. Mosquitoes have a special organ in their proboscis called maxillary palp that allows them to detect CO2 from up to 150 feet away. That means we don’t even have to be in sight (or close to sight) for them to find us. They also use scent to detect lactic acid and moisture on our skin, both of which are common when hiking and backpacking. Finally, when close enough to their victims, mosquitos use sight to detect heat sources, and in the forest, we’re pretty obvious.
You can’t do very much about your breath, but the other factors can be remedied by clothing. To shield yourself from mosquitoes as much as possible, you should wear long clothing, like shirts with full sleeves and pants. This will hide, block, and absorb all the moisture on your skin, as well as have an added benefit of providing some sun protection too. To try and combat the heat issue, it’s important to choose to wear light coloured clothing because that typically reflects, rather than absorbs, heat. This will reduce the overall heat signature of your body, making mosquitos less likely to get close to you.
The fabric is another factor that can work in your favour when chosen right. Wearing clothing made from polyester or woven nylon is important because mosquitoes have a hard time pricking their proboscises through these fabrics. Most backpacking clothing these days is engineered with polyester, woven nylon, and other synthetics in combination with wool for just this reason.
Clothing will be a helpful defence mechanism, but it won’t be enough to get rid of all of the critters. That’s why it’s so important that you bring with you an effective mosquito repellent product, which you can purchase prior to your travels and then continue to stock up as you travel around. We have an entire range of travel sized mosquito repellents available. Check out our NEW range of Mosquito Repellent products, and choose the best ones for you.
These have all been manufactured in the UK and tested to be highly effective against many biting insects, so they are really one-size fits all way of making sure you’re protected against pests when out there. They are natural, powerful plant-based formulations that show in testing to be as effective as synthetic chemicals but without the risk of side effects. They are moisturising to the skin, with a pleasant smell, benefit from being DEET & Alcohol-free and are even suitable for pregnant women and children as young as 6 months old.