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Hiking Bugnet Review:
How To Keep Your Blood
Where It Belongs

A hiking bugnet review (or bug-net, if you prefer) should begin with the location in which it was tested.

Fair enough.

I went to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR, or "the refuge") in Alaska, and survived the mosquitoes using this bug-net.

female hiker dressed in rain gear, looking down at the Canning River braiding through a valley in ANWR AlaskaThis hiking bugnet review is based on my experiences in bug central: Alaska

Ever seen your arms, legs, torso, and face covered simultaneously with mosquitoes eager to drain you dry?

That's what ANWR was like!

So trust me when I say that wearing a bug net saved my life.

  • I mean it quite literally.


Disclosures

This small but essential piece of hiking equipment was purchased with my own money.

No one asked me to write this hiking bugnet review.

My only goal: to provide a balanced view of using this bugnet over a two week period in an area with fierce biting insect populations.

If you decide to purchase a bugnet using this link, Hiking For Her will receive a tiny percentage of your purchase price, but it costs you nothing extra.

HFH appreciates your vote of confidence, and uses this money to keep the free hiking tips flowing freely!

Now let's take a look at this tiny but powerful hiking gear.


Hiking bugnet review: pros

A hiking bugnet review should be balanced: the good and the bad.

Let's start off with the positive attributes, the "pros".

Cheap

$10 US for fine mesh netting that you throw on over your hat, and you’re good to go.

Don't fret if you accidentally tear a hole in it by catching it in your jacket zipper, because at this price point you can replace it multiple times and not have to give up your retirement fund.


Feather weight

Negligible weight in your pocket or on your head.

After a few moments you won't feel it at all.


Customizable, within limits

Cinches down around your neck for a custom fit, depending on what else you’re wearing.


Portability

The net comes with a very portable, squishy stuff sack.

But it's small enough that it could easily be overlooked or thrown out as you empty your pockets (thus becoming a "con").



Hiking bugnet review: cons

And now for the opposite side of the coin: the things I disliked about this bugnet.

You were looking for a balanced review, weren't you?

Eat and drink? Probably not

Difficult to eat and drink while wearing!

You need to quickly lift the net, gulp your beverage or food, and make sure the little bloodsuckers aren’t inside the net with you as you enjoy your mouthful.


Tip: If food odors become embedded in the net, don't bring it into your tent - store it with your bear canister.


You'll take a dim view

Diminished visibility.

  • Everything looks a bit darker even in bright sunlight!

This can create problems if you're hiking on a steep slope and need to keep glancing down to maintain your footing.

And if you’re having your picture taken in uneven lighting conditions, only the netting will be visible – not your charming smile or wry grin.


A bit scratchy at times

After awhile, the netting feels a bit scratchy on the face and neck if a breeze is blowing it up against your skin.

In my opinion, this little bit of inconvenience is worth the protection against biting insects while hiking.


Insect repellent is still necessary

NOTE: You’re still going to need bug repellent for other exposed areas, hands in particular.

Two options: DEET, or herbal.

I’ve tried both, and the herbal (geraniol & eucalyptus extracts) works as well as DEET on my hands, but needs frequent reapplication.

It also smells wonderful, and if I think so, a bear would, too.

Although maybe DEET smells good to a bear - not sure! Any strong odor could call in a curious bear.

So be sure you're washing up each evening before crawling into your sleeping bag.

  • Clean, non-odorous clothing inside your tent is a must in brown bear (grizzly) country!


Bugnet conclusions

There is very little downside to wearing a bug net in buggy conditions.

I'd never used one before the ANWR trip, but now I'm a believer.

In fact, I made room in my survival kit for this little net, and it comes along with me during spring and summer hiking regardless of where I hike.

It's that useful!

And sanity maintaining, to boot.

  • It feels great to keep my blood inside my body, not watching it fly away :)


A few more options

If the idea of protecting your flesh from insect stings is making you happy right now, you can also use protective clothing.


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