One of the most basic, but effective methods that people can use prevent harmful mosquito bites in high-risk regions is to make use of a mosquito net around their sleeping area. While organizations such as the Gates Foundation are working on ways to eradicate mosquito-borne disease, they also acknowledge that using a mosquito net is an economical and highly successful technique that should be used more often.
Whether you are travelling to a foreign country where insect borne diseases such as Malaria are endemic, or are simply going camping in the US in a place where you may not have the ability to keep mosquitoes out of your tent or sleep shelter, a mosquito net can be an excellent method for avoiding getting bitten by skeeters.
Mosquito Net Basics
Mosquito nets have been used for centuries, and it has even been recorded that Cleopatra used these nets for protection against insects. These nets nowadays are mostly made from cotton, nylon, polyester, polyethylene or polypropylene. Effective mosquito nets are made with a fine enough mesh to prevent entry of these little horrors and as such, access to human skin while still allow the air flow required to keep the space inside the net from getting too hot. Ideally a mesh that has holes sizes under 1.2mm will keep mosquitoes away. To keep even smaller insects away, such as biting midges, hole sizes of 0.6mm and smaller such bugs from getting at you.
It is imperative to ensure that there no gaps or holes in the netting and that the netting is not resting on the skin, otherwise those determined insects will get access to you and cause havoc on your skin and to your health. When purchasing a mosquito net also make certain that there is ample netting and support to provide adequate protection.
Staying protected need not be an expensive exercise, especially if the mosquito net will be used for camping. Obviously, ensure that there is net coverage during sleep, and if need be, ask someone who is good at math or a camping expert or even a dressmaker, to work out how much coverage you will need. Don’t forget to allow enough height for draping if going with the classic pyramid style.
Finally, consider a net that has been coated with a chemical like pymethrin for added protection. We realize that some people will not like sleeping around a synthetic chemical repellent; however, even if you prefer a completely natural barrier, a plain mosquito net will be way better than no protection at all. However, the extra protection provided by a coated net can be worth it. Remember that such coatings should be refreshed every 6 months or so.
There are lots of choices of size and design of mosquito nets available. Below are three of the best mosquito nets to consider:
This net is growing in popularity with campers and is a relative newcomer to the market. It provides enough protection for one adult, is portable and light to carry, comes in army green, has no zipper or poles and therefore easy to set up. It can be used with a sleeping bag, cot or hammock. The mesh is made from a durable nylon with 80 holes per square cm that keep out small insects and, the manufacturers claim it withstands both sun and rain. This mosquito net comes with a storage sack allowing for compact storage and easy to carry. Find here.
If a mosquito net is required for a double bed, then this net is a good option. It comes in a range of sizes from 160 x 200 x 165 cm to 200 x 180 x 200 cm and can be set up for permanent use both indoors and out. It has a double fabric bottom for outdoor protection and a convenient entrance that provides security against both larger insects and smaller bugs. It comes with a hanging kit that includes wall mounts, ropes and suction cups. The package also includes 2 mosquito repellent wristbands that provide up to 250 hours of protection and comes with a storage bag. The manufacturers even provide an E-book “Camping & Outdoor Recipes”. Find here.
This net offers more space than most equivalent sized nets for camping due to the box design, although this means it is not as lightweight as its competitors. The Lifesystems Boxnet is made from a white polyester mesh, has EX8 Anti-Mosquito treatment and has 156 holes per square inch. It also comes with a nylon skirting that has four lashing points, hang cords and hooks as well as a practical sack for transportation. Lifesystems also offers a wide range of mosquito nets for sleeping including traditional pyramid style nets which are well respected by regular campers. Find here.