I'm a huge insect lover.
Fascinating creatures in every way.
BUT I'm not a fan of them inserting ANY portion of their bodies, stingers, or chompers into my skin.
Unfortunately when camping, your body becomes a free, 24hr, fast food drive-thru for an array of disease carrying critters.
It is wise to take action shielding yourself before ever even leaving the house.
In this blog I will give you everything you need to know as well as the step-by-step procedure for treating your clothes and camping gear with Permethrin.
*If you're a fancy pantsy know-it-all about Permethrin already and just looking for the recommended treatment procedure, scroll on down to the bottom for the simple treatment steps!
Permethrin is a powerful insecticide that bonds to the fabrics on your camping gear and clothes when treated. It fights off harmful or pesky insects in the wild before they ever get a chance to bite you. It is much more effective and long-lasting than regular deet insect sprays and considered externally non-toxic to humans.
Typical body or fabric insect sprays are designed to simply repel bugs, or even just annoy them.
Ineffectively in some cases.
However, Permethrin don't play.
It repels, incapacitates, or kills harmful insects on the spot.
🐞 Ticks (.. limited emoji bank..)
🦗 Bed bugs
🕷 Spiders (a black widow or brown recluse for example EEK)
🦗 Even cockroaches
(to name a few)
( Fun Fact* Not effective on scorpions unless using at least 36% Permethrin concentrated solution, which you would not want to use on your fabrics.)
You can pretty much treat every single thing you plan to take with you on your camping trip. (Excluding anything related to food or water, and probably want to skip soaking your TP)
🕸 Bug Nets
🎒 Hiking Packs
🥾🥾 Hiking Boots
🐕 Your Dog (For real! It's considered safe to spray on Scruffy. However, I wouldn't personally choose to treat my pup, because he licks himself so much. But treating a doggie bandana is a fun and effective idea!)
🏪 Local feed and hardware stores
🏪 Outdoor Recreation Stores
📦 Direct From Vendor Online
(see below for links)
There are several solutions available for purchase that all contain varying concentrations of Permethrin. If you choose a solution with any more than 0.5% Permethrin contents you will need to measure, mix, and dilute it down yourself before use.
1. Pre-mixed 0.5% Permethrin Solution sold by Sawyer. This is a popular 24oz spray bottle choice if you want an easy, ready-made mix with no need to mess with math, measurements, or diluting the solution yourself.
2. JT Eaton also sells a gallon-size of pre-mixed 0.5% Permethrin, in a jug that comes with an attachable spray nozzle. This is much more economical if you have a large amount of clothing/gear to treat.
3. Martins 10% Permethrin is a highly concentrated 32oz Permethrin solution that you must dilute down to the recommended 0.5% strength solution* before use. This is a popular economical choice for longevity of use, financially cheaper in the long-run, and based on personal accounts- a highly concentrated solution that you dilute yourself works more effectively.
(*Sidenotes for accurate dilution* If you use a 10% Permethrin concentrate, you want to dilute it with 19 parts water and 1 part of 10% permethrin concentrate to produce a 0.5% Permethrin solution. For example, if you wanted to make a gallon (128 ounces) of a 0.5% Permethrin solution using water and a 10% Permethrin solution, you’d mix 6.4 ounces of 10% Permethrin solution with 121.6 ounces of water. If you do this using a 1-gallon plastic water bottle, you’d pour off 6.4 ounces of water and replace it with 6.4 ounces of the 10% Permethrin concentrate.
Shake well to mix it up.)
😷 Aids in your protection from Zika, Lyme's Disease, West Nile Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, dengue (the list of gross diseases goes on) by repelling, incapacitating, or killing the virus/bacteria carrying insects before they have a chance to bite and transmit the disease to you.
🙌 It has a very low absorption rate into your skin. Less than 1% of the amount of Permethrin that contacts your skin is actually absorbed into your body vs 10%-20% of applied Deet.
🙋 Considered an externally non-toxic or moderately-toxic chemical for humans and other mammals.
⚖️ Considered more effective and safer to use than Deet.
👍 You really can treat just about anything! (excluding anything that goes in your mouth)
☝Not a one-time deal. Each treatment lasts approximately 6 washes for clothing and 42 days for non-washable items (such as packs, tents, camp chairs) before needing to treat again.
🚿 It does not bond as well to waterproof or water resistant materials. Rightfully so, it can't sink into the fibers as well. In my experience, waterproof items specifically could use a quick spray down every other trip.
🐝 Permethrin is a broad spectrum chemical that kills indiscriminately. While it does kill the insects considered "bad bugs", it also kills beneficial insects like honey bees and non-venomous spiders, or harmless insects such as butterflies and dragonflies, also toxic to the critters who eat them.
🐸 Toxic to frogs and tadpoles if introduced to water sources.
🐱 Deadly to cats and Fish 🐠
😩 Some people have a negative reaction. Including eye, nose, and throat irritation, breathing problems, skin irritation, itching, swelling, and redness, mild burning or stinging. (If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.)
🚩 Permethrin is neurotoxic in mammals at very high doses. Though studies show the absorption amount through the skin is very low, some people still believe it has adverse effects on your nervous system even at low doses and that long term affects have just not been thoroughly researched enough yet. It is always a good idea to research chemical absorption and affects when weighing options.
There are 4 main ways to apply Permethrin to your camping gear and clothing.
Soaking your gear and clothing is a popular choice when:
1. Put on protective gloves and find a well ventilated shaded spot away from kids, animals, food and water supplies.
2. Prepare each article of clean, dry clothing individually in 1 gallon ziplock bags
3. Prepare a 5 gallon plastic bucket for soaking gear.
4. Measure 3 ounces of your 0.5% Permethrin solution per garment and carefully pour into each of your gallon bags.
5. Tightly seal each bag.
6. Massage the solution into your clothing until it is completely saturated.
7. You can add more of your 0.5% solution to each bag as needed.
8. Start out with 8oz of your 0.5% solution to pour into your 5 gallon bucket with your piece of camping gear inside. You can choose to stir and saturate with a stick or just stir and massage it inside the bucket with gloves on.
9. Make sure the gear is completely saturated. Add slightly more of your 0.5% solution if needed. (you want to avoid excess solution afterwards if possible)
10. Leave each piece to soak in the buckets and ziplock bags for at least 2-3 hours.
11. Pull each item out and squeeze off excess solution into bucket
12. Hang to dry in a shaded, ventilated area. You do not want to hang dry in the sun for the sun breaks down the Permethrin fabric bond.
13. Once everything is completely dry it is ready for use! No need to wash or dry the items directly after the treatment.
14. Repeat treatment in 6 weeks or after 6 washings.
-Cut a hole in the center of the lid of your 5 gallon bucket
-Insert your items for treatment into the bucket
-pour in your solution mix
-put a CLEAN/NEVER USED plunger on top (wish I could say that's a no-brainer, but you just never know with some people...🚽🤦🏻♀️😂)
-Slide the hole in the lid down the plunger handle and secure the lid onto the bucket.
-Plunge away! Churn that Permethrin treatment like butter, baby!
Spray treating your gear and clothing is a popular choice for a quick and easy application when:
You can buy a pre-mixed spray bottle with the correct concentration so you can apply it to clothing without any preparation (see links above in "What Goods to Get" section).
Or you can purchase an empty plastic spray bottle and fill it with your own Permethrin mixture as long as you’ve diluted it to the recommended 0.5%.
Just be sure to mark the bottle clearly so to not use it for other purposes in the future.
1. Find a well ventilated shady spot away from kids, animals, food and water supplies.
2. I recommend wearing protective gloves any time you’re handling chemicals and a mask is understood as optional, but I recommend wearing one especially while spraying. When you can avoid breathing in chemicals, you should.
3. Hang all of your items inside out (or with camping gear, spray the inside first) Hold the bottle 6-8 inches away and spray the entire surface area paying close attention to cuffs and seams and areas that fit tighter against your skin (the buggos favorite spot.)
4. Flip right side out and spray the entire surface area again paying close attention to cuffs and seams. (or with camping gear, spray the outside paying close attention to any portion that will make contact with the ground or a tree)
5. Leave to dry in a shaded area.
6. Once everything is completely dry it is ready for use! No need to wash or dry the items directly after the treatment.
7. Repeat in 6 weeks or after 6 washings.
Insect Shield is a company that will treat your clothing for you. Insect Shield developed a proprietary Permethrin treatment process that will last up to 70 washings vs. 6 washings if you treat your items yourself.
This is a popular choice if you want a hands off approach and do not mind spending the money and waiting the extra time the send away process takes. No mess, no hassle, no measuring or mixing or taking your own time.
If you choose this route, you can get started with this Insect Shield order form. The prices are listed on the form.
There are many companies that sell Permethrin treated clothing. You can find them on Amazon, outdoor recreation stores, and InsectShield.com. This is a great option if you are already in the market for new hiking/camping clothes. Just keep in mind that eventually these will need to be re-treated.
🚫 Never pour Permethrin down the drain. It is harmful to the environment and deadly to fish.
🚫 Don't pour it back into the original solution, better to keep that pure.
👍 You can pour excess solution into a clean, empty plastic jug or bottle to save for next time. Just make sure the jug or bottle is properly labeled, tightly sealed, and stored in a safe, cool, dry place.
👍 If you must dispose of it, it is best to leave it open/uncovered in a safe, ventilated, or sunny spot to evaporate on its own before throwing away. This also goes for the bags and buckets you’ve used. It is best to let them air dry after use rather than rising the left over Permethrin with water.
🚫 Never leave evaporating Permethrin in an area accessible to children or animals.
👍 Wear waterproof gloves
👍 Save excess Permethrin for the next treatment or leave to evaporate(where kids or animals cannot get to it)
👍 Always dilute your mixture to 0.5% Permethrin concentration
👍 Label all bottles or jugs accordingly to what contents are inside. Ex. "Permethrin 10% Solution" "Permethrin 0.5% Solution" "Used/Excess 0.5% Permethrin" "Permethrin Treatment Bucket" "Permethrin 0.5% Spray Bottle"
👍 Make sure all Permethrin jugs or bottles are tightly sealed, and stored in a safe, cool, dry place.
👍 Treat clean clothing and camping gear. Mud or dust could block penetration of the mixture into the fabric. (EX Spraying muddy boots = treating the mud not the boot.)
👍 Store dry, clean treated clothing and gear in airtight bags/tupperware bins between each use to lengthen the longevity of the treatment (oxygen and sunlight break down the bond of the Permethrin to fabric)
👍 Use at your own risk
🚫 AVOID contact with highly concentrated Permethrin directly on human skin or on an animal.
🚫 AVOID inhaling fumes while treating your clothes
🚫 NEVER ingest by human or pet
🚫 DO NOT treat your things with a greater than 0.5% Permethrin cocentration
🚫 DO NOT mix with other chemicals. This is why labeling your bottles and treatment supplies is important
🚫 DO NOT spill or pour on the ground. It can be harmful to the environment (the ecosystem of helpful bugs and the critters that eat them.) If you do spill, wipe it up as best you can with paper towels, seal the used paper towels in a bag to throw away, then it’s best to let the spill site evaporate
🚫 DO NOT wash or dry clothing directly after treatment (this will break down the treatment)
🚫 DO NOT hang dry in direct sunlight (again, this breaks down the treatment)
🚫 DO NOT pour excess Permethrin down drain (harmful to environment, deadly to fish)
🚫 DO NOT use on or around cats and fish as it is deathly toxic to them
If you're looking for gear that keeps you safe from insects, check this out.
If you're curious to see how we stay dry AND bug free - check out our shelters. Though they may look like sleek space age aircrafts, our shelters have one purpose in their prolonged adventurous life PROTECTION for you and your gear.
The #1 most vulnerable place on any hammock is its connection to the tree. Your suspension acts like a pipe funneling water from the tree to your hammock during a rainstorm. This will leave you and your insulation soaked!
Many hammock campers add shoestrings to their suspension to minimize this.
We went a different route, all of our Air Tents come with waterproof sleeves that seal around your suspension preventing water transfer and keeping your ends completely dry and protected ✅ (no ridiculous shoe strings needed)
Our packs are pricey and play an important role in our adventures so taking good care of them while camping just makes sense...doesn't it?
Ground dwellers shove them in an already cramped tent or vestibule, and hammock campers either hang them on a tree (see above on why that's a bad idea), their suspension (again see above), or on the ground under them (#mud).
We didn't like any of these options so we created the Gear Stash, it keeps your pack clean, dry, and easily accessible. Best part it's integrated right into our Shelters.
When choosing fabrics for rain protection there are many considerations, tear strength, tension strength, rip control, absorption, but probably the most important is waterproofing.
We skipped the standard 30Denier DWR/1200mmPU fabric and went straight to the good stuff.
Our fortified protection fabric is a high tenacity 15Denier Nylon 66 Rip-stop with dual silicone coatings on the exterior and a 1500mm PU coating for the interior. Oh yea, and we heat weld seal every single seam in the factory. Reference the below Boundary Waters story to see why that fabric + our design is so important.
The whole idea behind Sierra Madre is elevating your outdoor experience. It starts with adapting your gear carry out to each adventure. Car Camping trips look different from Backpacking trips, make sure you have the gear you need to make the most of every adventure.
Sierra Madre is the sound of a revolution in the outdoor world. Whereas other corporate conglomerates are figuring out which colors to push next year, Sierra Madre creates real innovations that empower you in the wild.
That's why Sir Richard Branson (possibly one of the most adventurous people on the planet) backed Sierra Madre. He believes in disrupting the status quo with the best product and service and was thrilled to partner with Sierra Madre.
Sierra Madre gear was created to maximize your time in the wild, we've carefully developed a line up of accessories that help you adapt to every adventurous situation you find yourself in.
No two adventures look the same, No matter where adventure takes you, we've got your back.
Our founder, Richard Rhett, created Sierra Madre because of two epic gear failures he experienced in the wild. Both left him stranded and completely ruined his adventures. As a Mechanical Engineer turned Entrepreneur. After over 10 years of building gear, Richard has held fast to our two pillars of our gear design, 1) solve problems, and look good doing it 2) over build it with hyper quality.
“Sleeping in the wild should be restful and enjoyable, when you're not worried about getting wet or cold - it's so much easier to feel at peace in the wild”. Being comfortable, protected, and warm in the wild helps you feel at peace... Feels like home. "That's what it's all about."
My name is Jim Aexfor and I am from Minnesota. I recently returned from a trip with a friend to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.
I have a Kammok hammock setup while my friend has your Nubé setup he purchased early this year.
During our trip we encountered a bad storm with 50+ mph winds. During the storm my Glider hammock shelter ripped in half. This happened on day 2 of our weeklong adventure. My friend's Nubé shelter withstood the winds and we ended up adding my hammock above his in the shelter so I had a place to sleep out of the rain. We had another night of rain later on in the trip and had to do the same.
I had to let you know how awesome your product is and what a trip-saver is was for us. Otherwise, the trip would have been pretty miserable for me.
I will be shouting from the mountaintops about the quality of your product and will be advising my relatives and friends to check into your products. Ever since I started hammock camping many of my relatives and friends have become interested in this great outdoor experience.
I will be selling my hammock and investing the money into one of your setups. I am a teacher and a volunteer EMT so during the upcoming winter months I will be saving up to purchase the entire Nubé system.
Thank you so much for your incredible products that saved our trip!
“I work for REI in the camping department and I also teach wilderness skills for the outdoor school. I have had plenty of experience with other camping gear but not until I tried sierra madre I was never satisfied. Sierra madre has worked the kinks out with their incredible innovation!” — Robert
We strive for sustainability in our product design and excellent working conditions in every factory we partner with. We believe that every human has value and if people are taken care of, then they will take care of our planet.
We also believe that quality drinking water shouldn’t be a luxury. As part of our 1 for Clean Water Promise each piece of gear contributes one year of clean water to a person who desperately needs it. Together, we can end the water crisis.
Be first to hear about new products, giveaways, and sales.
Need Help? We're here to serve you.