Here’s a nice photo laden review of an English hiker’s new hiking gear. it gives a great overview of what’s available out there for backpackers – since it’s a global internet market. I have the MontBell Ultralight Down Jacket and I love it. I plan to put it to good use this summer in Alaska hiking the Chilcoot Trail. The Montbell Stretch Gaiters look interesting to me also – the old ones I use are much heavier. And, as any backpacker knows, lightening the load is the name of the game.
Posts Tagged ‘Backpacking’
Ever wish you could combine hiking and paddling on a trip by carrying a low weight inflatable boat so when you reach the pond or lake you could paddle across rather than hike around. Or, maybe hike one direction, then paddle (or float) back downstream? Sounds to me like it might make for some interesting vacations. One of the challenges we face as long distance hikers is that return trip – how to get back to the car.
Here’s a blogger who discovered the Alpacka Raft. It looks intriguing, but still, 4 to 6 pounds is a bit much for my aging body. See what you think. click here
Has anyone tried combining hiking and paddling anywhere in NY State? If so, I’d love to hear your experience.
Posted in Backpacking, Hiking, Wildlife, tagged Backpacking, DEET, hike, Hiking, insect, Lyme Disease, permethrin, repellant, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, West Nile Virus on September 23, 2007| 1 Comment »
They’re more than pesky – these ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, and black flies. They carry nasty diseases such as Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and others. To keep them at bay we use Permethrin – the synthetic version of pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that occurs in flowers such as Chrysanthemums.
Permethrin is not something you spray or lather on your skin like DEET. In fact, an esterase enzyme in your skin renders it ineffective very quickly. But, used as a treatment on clothes, tents, or any type of fabric, it wards off the pests for 2 weeks if sprayed on or much longer if the garment is soaked in the solution. Permethrin actually kills ticks and chiggers. It doesn’t kill mosquitoes or black flies but it does make them ill and less prone to biting activity.
Permethrin has been around since the 1970s and has a perfect safety record. The Department of Agriculture and other institutions did early research on it for use in protecting crops from insects. It has been shown to be non-toxic to humans. EPA and FDA tests found it rare to have even skin reddening or other irritation.
The Army and Air Force tested its effectiveness and found that treated uniforms gave 97.7% protection from mosquito bites even after the uniforms endured 5 machine washings. The protection afforded for ticks was 100%.
I tested Permethrin twice recently. First, on a trip to Spain to hike the Camino de Santiago. Before departing for the month-long trek across northern Spain, I dipped all our clothes in a solution of Permethrin and let them drip dry on a backyard clothesline. We successfully hiked across Spain bug free. But, alas, so did all the other hikers. It was a cool May in Spain and the pests had yet to hatch.
So, on to test number two. This time the adventure was three weeks on the new International Appalachian Trail across the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Again I dipped and line dried our hiking clothes. I even took along a control in the form of a friend who hadn’t dipped her clothes and instead relied on spraying DEET. My test was a whopping success. As we hiked, swarms of mosquitoes, flies, and all manner of annoying, small biting insects followed my friend. She regularly stopped to spray toxic DEET on her limbs. My husband and I hiked along in relative comfort. We were not bug free. Occasionally one would land on an arm or leg but they did not seem to bite and we certainly weren’t hiking in a cloud of bugs. Our test occurred in late July/early August – timed to coincide with a record heat wave. So we were hiking in minimal clothing. Even so, the dipping in Permethrin allowed us to enjoy the hike, toxin free.
An 8-ounce bottle of 13.3% concentration of Permethrin (sold under brand names Duranon and Permanone) can be diluted to a gallon of solution to treat 4 outfits (long pants and shirts). It’s also sold in spray cans.
Visit the following web sites to learn more about the effectiveness and use of Permethrin, it’s application to clothes, and how to purchase it: