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Why a Mosquito Net is a MUST Have for Travel

15-Mar-2017

Above is a green flying visitor I had one evening in Colombia. He was about an inch long and flew around very noisily. Somewhat like a lady bug, his shell moves and his wings unfold from underneath. I was so very happy to take refuge under my mosquito net!

OK, so you may be thinking, “I don’t need a mosquito net. I’m going to Europe.” But please, read this post and then reconsider.

One of my always pack-it items

I pack my mosquito net no matter where I go. I don’t use it a lot, probably only once a month or so (depending on where I go). But it is absolutely invaluable. Every time I get it out of my suitcase, I am super thankful that I brought it. It is my have-a-peaceful-nights-rest insurance. Here’s why…

  • No Window Screens
    If you’ve lived in the USA all your life, you may think having screens on your windows is “normal.” Well, in the rest of the world, having screens is an exception. All over Europe, no matter how modern or developed, built-in window screens are rare. So unless you’re planning to never open your windows, a mosquito net is essential.
  • Mosquito-bourne Diseases
    This reason is super obvious. Why take a chance of getting infected with any of the many diseases mosquitos can carry? And even if they’re not carrying a nasty disease, who wants bug bites and big red itchy welts?
  • Hot Climates
    In hot climates where you really must have the windows open after dark, it’s not just mosquitos that are troublesome. If you’ve got the lights on you will attract moths and other large flying insects. In those locations, I sit in my bed, reading or on my computer, safe and happy under my mosquito net.
  • Cooler Climates
    In cooler climates or where flying bugs are not usually a major problem, there will inevitably be a few that find their way in. I don’t know about you, but for me it only takes ONE mosquito in my room to annoy the c**p out of me! And they usually appear when I’m all snuggled in, drowsing off for the night. To hear one buzzing around my head makes me genuinely crazy. When this happens, I set up my net in a couple minutes, and go back to bed feeling with a sigh of relief.
  • Light-Weight
    If you get the right one, it is very small and super light-weight, so you’ll never even notice adding it to your suitcase (until you need it!) Mine is less than 5 oz (137g). That’s just slightly more than the weight of a good pair of hiking socks, and takes up about the same amount of space.
  • One-time Modest Investment
    Even though it’s light weight and super-fine mesh, the one I recommend is quite strong and durable. Treat it with just a modicum of care and it’ll serve you for many years.

Time to go shopping

Hopefully by now you’re at least moderately interested, so I’ll tell you which mosquito net I chose and why. I researched a lot of nets, and read tons of reviews both positive and negative. My final choice is:

Nano Mosquito Pyramid Net Shelter

by Sea to Summit:  Ideal for trekking, traveling and wilderness camping, these shelters provide essential protection against mosquitoes and other bugs. The asymetric shape means the apex of the pyramid is closer to the head end for more usable head room. An overlapping flap at the base (with an elasticized drawcord) makes it easy to achieve a bug proof seal against a floor or mattress. Colored tapes at each corner and a single suspension point ensure easy set up. 15 D mesh is incredibly light and packable. (The “nano” means you’ll get a super fine mesh. Better for keeping out the super small bugs!)

As you can see, there is a 1-person version and a 2-person version. But whether you are single or not, I strongly recommend getting the double size net. You only save about 2-oz in weight by getting the single version. I got the double even though it’s just for me, and I have always been glad I did.

More importantly, the single version does not have the nice spreader bar at the top. This is a really nice feature. It gives you a lot more head-room for sitting up without the net draping and touching you. When you are inside it feels quite roomy. And you’ll have more material to tuck around the edges of your bed to make sure there are no bug entry points.

Be careful when purchasing on Amazon though… they often only show the photo of the double net. You can easily end up buying the single one if you don’t pay attention. There’s usually an option selector to let you pick between single and double (although it is often mislabeled ‘color’).

Single:

Double:

Stuff Sack:

Sea To Summit Net Shelter

Lightweight, “nano” mesh, pyramid style for greater headroom.

InsectShield® or not?

The other choice you’ll see when you shop is with or without embedded InsectShield®. This is the exact same net, same sizes. The difference is that the material has been treated with a chemical insect repellent. The treated net costs about $5-$7 more. Personally, I prefer the untreated since I don’t like chemical bug repellents at all, on me or near me. But of course it’s a personal choice.

Sea To Summit Net Shelter WITH Insect Shield

Lightweight, “nano” mesh, pyramid style for greater headroom.

Hanging your mosquito net

Another reason I love the Sea-to-Summit mosquito net is because it has a super long stretchy cord to hang it up with. It can easily be attached to the ceiling and is still long enough to hang down and cover your bed completely. Plus it is so light-weight it won’t damage anything in the room or even leave a trace. I’ve hung mine from light fixtures, picture hooks, cupboard knobs, curtain rods, etc. without ever having a problem.

I also always carry a couple push pins, 2 small nails and a length of thin nylon cord — just in case. If there is nothing obvious in the room to hang my net from, I can easily create something.

And as a last resort, I sometimes simply drape the net over objects in the room. A strategically placed lamp, chair, or even your suitcase can be used. Arrange the objects around your bed or even just the area around your head. (The rest of you will be safely under the sheets anyway.) You really only need to get the net positioned about 12-18 inches above your head to be quite comfortable without feeling confined. Simply drape the net over the objects and tuck in where needed.

Finally, snuggle info your safe haven. The net is light enough that it won’t pull the objects out of place. And it won’t sag during the night ending up laying on your face.

Sweet (bug-free) Dreams!

I slept safely in this little bamboo ‘jungle hut’. Thanks, mosquito net!

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