Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

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Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by Woods Walker » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:20 pm

I see lots of tarp and poncho shelters online but seemingly less bug solutions posted. Maybe others have alligator skin or something but personally I hate being kept up at night with bug bites. It's really the anticipation of the bites along with buzzing in my ears that are the worst parts. Yes the bites themselves also suck....pun intended. In the past I tried using just a face net, in fact still have a few of those and honestly it was miserable. So always on the look out for under tarp/poncho bug solutions. Here are two commercial ones I own. My plan was to go into the woods without using bug spray, setup two poncho shelters using both bug nets.

Shelter Number one:


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1. The Equinox Mantis Sleep Screen

http://www.equinoxltd.com/the-gear/slee ... screen.cfm
While not destroying insects like its name sake, this Mantis will thwart their attempts to gnaw on you. Pyramidal in shape (with a bottom), the No-See-Um canopy can be hung from a tarp, tree limb or rigged from cord in a lean-to.

Constructed of No-See-Um mesh

Elastic drawcord with cord lock will tighten the entry side around the sleeping bag
24" zipper provides easy access
Loops in each corner for tent stakes
Accomodates one person for sleeping
Dimensions: 32"H x 33"W x 32"L

Weight: 4.5oz
2. MSS Bivy

3. Dakota outerwear MC Poncho.

Shelter number 2.

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1. Sea to Summit Mosquito Pyramid Net Shelters - Insect Shield.

http://www.seatosummit.com/product/?ite ... 2=0&o3=146
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.. Insect Shield® treatment provides added protection.

Size Variation Single
Length 87 in/
Width 48 in/
Height/Depth 42 in/
Weight 9 oz/420g
2. Equinox UL Poncho with extension.

3. MLD UL Bivy.

Ok so how do they both work? Lets set up both poncho shelter systems and take a look. First here is the Sea to Summit Single Pyramid Net.

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It attaches to the ridgeline using shock cord.

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There are tie-offs on all 4 corners. The material cups inward to help seal the bottom within reason.

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It's the larger of the two nets and will protect much of the body however anyplace the net touches the skin is an opportunity for an attempted bite. I use the UL bivy to protect my legs which bump up against the netting. The net comes treated with bug repellent which seems to help a bit.

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What do I think. First very often I use my Hennessy Hammock for warmer weather camping. When I do sleep under a poncho will use my custom MLD bug bivy. That said I have slept under the Sea to Summit 3 or 4 times. Entry is by crawling under the side which is easy. Seemed to work ok however when it comes to bug nets bigger tends to be better. If I could buy this gear item again would consider the double size. Still the single does the job and it's good for a daypack/BOB application during bug season if there is a chance of actually sleeping out. It's better than just a head net. Believe me those suck for sleeping IMO. Also a possibility for those looking to reduce pack weight.

The Mantis.

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Ok two things are apparent. first Multi Cam rocks, secondly the Mantis is made only to protect the upper body. It's also has tie-offs on all 4 corners and shock cord for both top support and to close off the entry bottom.

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The zipper pull is on the inside for easier access.

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What do I think. To be honest only slept in the Mantis once as have other options. It did keep the bugs away from my face but was cramped. I do take this in my daypack more often as it's lighter than the Sea To Summit but for pure sleeping the Sea to Summit wins IMHO. I do like the way the Mantis is really just a large bug net bag so could have multi use applications. The Sea to Summit is also similarity shaped but the Mantis gives off more of a bag aura for lack of better words. It's better than a pure face net but not as good compared to a large pyramid or bug bivy.

What is a Bug Bivy? These tend to be totally enclosed bug protection solutions for sleeping under a tarp/poncho. Here is the one I most often use when sleeping under a tarp or poncho. The MLD Bug Bivy. It's custom made so didn't include it within my video review. Reviewing one of a kinda items tends to use up too much of the viewer's time for an item which very often isn't available or has a ling waiting list. I was pushing over 16 minutes talking about just the two readily available commercial options so wanted to just focus on that.

Next to a ID Siltarp 1 which was made in 2003 if you can believe it. I think it was my first Silnylon tarp! Photos taken some years ago.

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I think packing a bug solution beyond lots of spray and a face net is important during bug season. I had some very bad experiences trying to use just those two options in the past and have no intention of repeating them. When the bugs die down is one thing however when thick taking that issue into consideration will payoff. Here is a video showing the Sea to Summit Pyramid and Equinox Mantis setup from the inside out.



Thanks for looking.
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by modustollens » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:57 pm

I agree that bigger is better when it comes to bug nets. I don't think either of those would be for me, especially the small one that just covers the head.

I like to have a place out of the bugs big enough for hanging out, cooking dinner and so on, not just for sleeping. Many of the places I go have more than just a nuisance level of bugs - bad enough that the bugs swarm your face when eating that get inside your mouth. Blah...

This is the model I am using now:

http://www.coghlans.com/products/mosqui ... white-9760

Cheap times two - meaning the price is low and the net quality is not great, but it is not heavy and works well enough. I wish I had a model a little bit bigger but with the nicer mesh like the mesh in the models you reviewed.

That company makes a model half the size as the one I linked too; good for sleeping but not for hanging out in doing camp chores. I sewed some strings on it and my lean-to tarp so that I could tie the bug net into the lean too:

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I agree with you that the incessant sound of bugs screaming around the ears is not welcome at all when it is time to get a night's sleep.

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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by woodsghost » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:05 am

Great thread idea!

So far, sleeping with a head net or with my face -or- wrapped in a shemagh has worked out good enough. Though you do get the noise in the ears.

I once slept wrapped in a garbage bag. Worst night in the woods ever. I do NOT recommend that option. Dangerous, stupid, and uncomfortable.

So far, even when surrounded by millions of mosquitoes, I have been able to cook on fires and eat without too much trouble, but I suspect that is more happy fortune than something I can count on. I was given a mil-surp mosquito net, so now I need to figure out how to use it while tarp and hammock camping. I like the idea that it gives more room.
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by teotwaki » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:28 am

Thanks Woods Walker! Great topic and pictures.
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:33 pm

modustollens wrote:I agree that bigger is better when it comes to bug nets. I don't think either of those would be for me, especially the small one that just covers the head.

I like to have a place out of the bugs big enough for hanging out, cooking dinner and so on, not just for sleeping. Many of the places I go have more than just a nuisance level of bugs - bad enough that the bugs swarm your face when eating that get inside your mouth. Blah...

This is the model I am using now:

http://www.coghlans.com/products/mosqui ... white-9760

Cheap times two - meaning the price is low and the net quality is not great, but it is not heavy and works well enough. I wish I had a model a little bit bigger but with the nicer mesh like the mesh in the models you reviewed.

That company makes a model half the size as the one I linked too; good for sleeping but not for hanging out in doing camp chores. I sewed some strings on it and my lean-to tarp so that I could tie the bug net into the lean too:

Image

Image

I agree with you that the incessant sound of bugs screaming around the ears is not welcome at all when it is time to get a night's sleep.

MT

I have something similar as well. Used to drape it around a hammock before I got the HH. Nice big net!
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by Canadian Guy » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:40 pm

Great review, two very different and interesting options. I like the looks of the Sea to Summit Mosquito Pyramid Net.

I've been using a military issue one that may not be the most lightweight netting but works well.

Under an Integral Designs Silwing tarp:
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by roOism » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:44 pm

Great thread! I have a Golite Shangri-la 1 that's similar to
That last one in the OP. Have used it in a wide range of environments from northern Idaho to the Sonoran desert, packs light and has held up well for several years. I think they're discontinued which is a drag.
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by BullOnParade » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:56 pm

I've had two experiences with (trying to) sleep in the "open".

1) the first MBO contest many moons ago. I slept in a SOL bivy, with a sleeping bag liner, zero netting. It was a horrible sleep. Bugs constantly buzzing me and biting me head to toe.

2) last summer, I decided to try my four season tent in the expedited format – vestibule, footprint, and poles, no tent. This was a much better sleep than I expected. While many bugs flew into the heat of the enclosure during the day, ten minutes before bedding down, I flipped the shelter. This freed all the trapped bugs and aired out the days heat, and very few biting insects managed to get in under the bottom edge of the shelter through the night. My theory being that any shelter with walls that touch the ground on all sides will keep the majority of flying, biting insects out, maybe teepee users can confirm.

Edit: typo
Last edited by BullOnParade on Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by bigred362 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:54 am

I've never been a fan of sleeping on the ground. I have had to do it more than I would like to remember. I do however have a real knack for setting up hammocks and even improvising them. My favorite improvised hammock is a mil spec "body bag". Yea I know it sounds creepy but its a pretty handy item to have around. I string the bag between trees, trucks, or anything that will keep my ass off the ground. The handles are very robust and handle my 200 lbs fine. Once the bag is set up comfortably I put a higher line and string up a couple of ponchos or a tarp. I usually use bungees for the cover that way I can lower it as needed for rain and such. I string a mosquito net on the same line as the poncho and tuck it in when I sleep. When I'm not sleeping I put my gear in the bag and zip it up drop the tarp and it all stays nice and dry.
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:40 pm

Slept in the open once.... M65 field coat in the autumn on the dirt. Note I said "once". Vodka helped. Vodka was also the reason I ended up sleeping in the dirt hahahaha

So yes, I will take note of these sleep systems. I need to get one
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Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by reppans » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:53 pm

Couple of shots the Gatewood Cape - poncho/"tent" (12 oz) with the Sea 2 Summit Nano Pyramid (3oz). Also have the matching Serenity NetTent (but no pix), which is 1/2lb more (@11oz), but it is fully enclosed with bathtub floor and zippered door. Both tie up to same 4 corners, and peak, on the Gatewood Cape.

Weirdest thing, I was backpacking with this on the AT in VT at the end of May, effectively during a mini heat wave in the middle of black fly season, and I really didn't need a bug net at all. Now there would always be an annoying cloud of them around your head once you stopped hiking, but just crawling into the Gatewood, door wide open, and it was really no bother. I ate my dinner and b'fast inside so I could remove my headnet - door open! I don't know if it was the color or shape of the tent, but the relative few black flies that did come inside just seemed to go to the walls and not bother me.

That said, it was too early in the season to comment on mosquito behavior, and of course I'll need more testing before I dare leave the bug nets at home.

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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:03 am

I need to get one of those cape/shelter things. How durable does the nano net seem? I was a bit worried give the extreme low weight.
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Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by reppans » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:18 am

Yeah it seems a little fragile - you have to be careful it. I could imagine metal burrs, wood splinters, or thorns catching it and tearing a hole if they mistakenly swiped it. No problem sleeping in it, and handling it for setting up/stuffing/unstuffing, but I'm not sure I'd feel as comfortable under it with in-tent gymnastics, like changing clothes, as I'd be under the more robust black color versions.

That said, I generally keep these bugnets folded and off to the side until I'm ready hit the sack - the interior space reduction, and extra entry/exit ritual, is a PITA with evening camp chores.

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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by modustollens » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:04 am

These Eureka VCS 13 Backpacker Meshrooms are large, even the small #13 version is. They are popular for canoe tripping given how many bugs can inhabit the back-country lakes.

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VCS Tarp and Bug House.

The tarp and bug netting are sold separately.

In winter, in the buggy summer, I always want to have a place for getting out of the elements or bugs for hanging out or cooking.

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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by Maeklos » Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:51 pm

One thing I always take with me when trekking during bug season is garlic oil. I use a ton of it regularly for cooking, anyway, and it's pretty easy to make - just mince up a few cloves of garlic and simmer for an hour or so in olive oil over low heat (olive oil has a relatively low smoke point, so be careful). I always take a little bottle with me whenever I go out for 1) cooking; 2) insect repellant. There's something about garlic (and shallots and onions, too) that tends to keep nasty biting critters away. Maybe the sulfur compounds that give them their pungency? Also, olive oil is generally good for the skin, and I've noticed that it helps keep away things like heat rash, too, so a generous slather all over before you head out will not only keep your head filled with thoughts of good Italian food while you trek, but also do good things for you.

If you don't want to bother with that, keep your eye out for wild spring onions. Pull the bulbs, chew them up, then rub the paste on your skin. Doesn't work quite as well, but will give you a bit of protection. Could even try mixing the paste with wood ash to make a thicker, more durable paint to mark up your face and hands. Just thought of that - might have to give it a try myself.

Unfortunately, probably won't keep the bugs from buzzing your ears, but it should at least reduce or even negate the biting. Augment with things like giving your trekking clothes a smoke bath before you head out or dousing with over-the-counter bug repellants. To me, this is one of those cases where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, since bugs are going to be chewing on you all day - long before you get your shelter set up. No-see-ums, chiggers, biting flies, even spiders and ants.

Just a few thoughts on supplementary practices to toss in with shelter solutions. YMMV.
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Re: Tarp/poncho shelter bug solutions.

Post by bacpacjac » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:48 am

I bought a North 49 Travel Bug Net a few years ago, (At Canadian Tire, I think) to go over my kid's playpen while we were camping. It's designed to hang from the ceiling and cover a double bed, so works great inside my Wyomingslostandfound tarp tipi. It's got a fixed point at the top for hanging, extra "D” rings for attaching to ground, coming with a stuff sack. It's 95 x 205 x 170 cm and stuffs down to about Naglene sized.
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