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If you’re an outdoor lover and you want to protect yourself from the sun and mosquito bites, the combination of a hat and a head net is excellent protection. For a very acceptable price, they provide effective, chemical-free bug protection.
In this article, you will discover things you should consider before buying a hat and head net.
Do You Need A Head Net or a Repellent Hat?
You probably don’t see many people wearing head nets when you’re out hiking, fishing, or even in the garden, but there are very effective. Why more people don’t wear them for insect protection is a bit of a mystery.
Maybe it’s because they think a net over their head doesn’t look very nice, which could be true, or they worry what others will think of them doing things like gardening with a head net.
But what is better staying safe from mosquito bites and the diseases they can transmit or looking the part? Of course, it’s better to stay safe and with the minimum inconvenience!
A head net combined with a wide-brimmed hat can protect you both from insect bites and the sun.
If you don’t wear a head net, you will have to apply DEET or some similar repellent to your face, ears, and neck every few hours. Which seems better to you?
Benefits of Mosquito Head Nets and Hats
Mosquito head nets offer you protection without having to apply insect repellents to your skin. They provide a comfortable solution to the problem of biting insects without having the constraint of having to use an insect repellent every few hours.
An insect head net can protect your face and neck from insect bites. It can also stop insects from flying near your head and getting into your eyes and mouth.
A repellent hat will provide your head with protection, but you are still recommended to put a repellent on any bare skin.
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Insect Repellent Hats
Repellent hats can give you some protection from mosquitoes, but it will still be necessary to apply repellents such as DEET or Picaridin to your skin. The repellent hats are treated with an insecticide, permethrin, that will repel and kill mosquitoes and other insects. Several manufacturers make insect repellent clothes; the best known is probably Insect Shield.
You can treat the hats or other clothes yourself by buying a permethrin spray. The treatment is effective for 60 days. If you don’t want to deal with spraying the chemicals yourself, you can purchase pretreated clothes or hats. The treatment on pretreated hats should last for the lifetime of the hat.
Permethrin is a repellent on clothes but is registered as an insecticide in other uses. It won’t stop mosquitoes from landing on your hat but will disable or kill the mosquitoes or other insects after landing and hopefully before they bite you.
Repellent hats are good for protection from the sun, but they provide very limited protection for mosquitoes. You will still need to put a mosquito repellent on your face, neck, and ears. A hat with a head net is a much better solution.
Head nets are pretty cheap, take up little room, and are very light. It’s easy to find a place for them in your backpack or suitcase. However, there are a few points to consider when buying a head net.
The size of the mesh
A head net should have mesh small enough to keep out the biting insects in your area. This could be mosquitoes, no see ums, midges, or just flies.
For mosquitoes, 160 – 400 holes per square inch will offer you good protection. For no-see-ums, you will need an ultra-fine mesh; something like 1150 holes/in² will keep all insects at bay. The WHO guidelines for mesh netting to keep mosquitoes out is 156 holes/in².
They can come in different colors (black, grey, green, khaki, pink…), a dark color is generally recognized as being easier to see through in bright sunlight, but you may have your own preference. It’s a good idea to check if the manufacturer mentions good visibility when buying.
Ventilation is another essential point to consider. Head nets should allow air to pass in and out freely, so you can breathe normally without getting too hot inside the net.
The mosquito mesh can be made from different materials, polyester or nylon. Head nets can also be treated with repellent, in the same way as the hats mentioned above, or untreated. Your head net will likely brush against branches and other vegetation, so it needs to be durable. A torn head net won’t stop mosquitoes!
Head Net or Hat and Head Net
A head net alone is perhaps not the best solution. You don’t want the net to touch your skin, or the mosquitoes will be able to bite through it. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat under the head net. This will make the netting hang away from your skin. Or some head nets come with metal rings that keep the net away from your face.
The mosquito netting can also be of different lengths and diameters. Usually, you will want them to cover your hat, then drop down to protect your neck and chest, and most are long and large enough to do this, but it’s worth checking the dimensions before you buy. Some even come in the form of a hooded shirt or jacket. They have a net that covers your head, upper body, and arms.
If you are out hiking or fishing in an area that is particularly infested and you have a swarm of insects around your head, it is possible to eat and drink without taking off your head net. You can drink through the mesh, but it’s best to keep it to water to avoid leaving any residue on the mesh that might attract even more insects.
Eating with the head net is a little more complicated. You place your food inside the net, and then, using your hands on the outside, you can move the food to your mouth. You shouldn’t touch the net with any sticky food or anything that will leave a residue on the net.
You can buy a cheap head net from $2 to $5 or a better quality net for around $10.
Hats with Head Nets
You can use a head net with your own sun hat or buy a hat with a head net. If you choose the latter, you will get a wide-brimmed sun hat that will protect you from the sun’s UVs with a head net that’s sewn into the brim of the hat or the hat itself.
The mosquito netting can be folded down from the hat’s brim when needed or folded up when there are no insects around to give you a normal-looking sun hat.
Some of the mosquito head net hats on the market have a compartment where the net can be stored when not in use. With others, the netting is stored inside the hat.
You can purchase a hat with a head net for under $20.
How to Choose Your Head Net or Repellent Hat
As you can see, there are a few considerations when choosing a head net.
- Do you need a hat, a head net, or a hat with a head net? If you are only trying to protect yourself from the sun, a mosquito repellent hat will be fine and may kill a few annoying insects as well. But if you are in an area with mosquitoes, you will either have to put repellent on any bare skin every few hours or use a net with your hat.
- What insects are you trying to keep at bay? This is important for the size of the mesh.
- Check the head net’s dimensions to make sure it will fit your head and cover your hat and neck as you require.
- The material might have an impact on the longevity of your head net. Nets should be lightweight, easy to clean, and be comfortable. They are usually made from 100% polyester or nylon. If you’re using your head net every day, you will need something more durable than if you use it for a one-time hiking trip.
- Visibility and ventilation are also considerations.
As with many items, it’s best to look at the user reviews on sites like Amazon. You will get a good idea if the nets provide good visibility and ventilation, two important points that may not be clear from the manufacturers’ specifications and descriptions.
Head nets can provide an alternative to using chemical repellents. They are quite cheap, light, and take up little space in your backpack or suitcase.
If you’re outside in a mosquito-infested area, you will be able to carry on your outdoor activities without being bitten. Well worth the small investment!