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Old 01-05-2019, 05:25 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 105
Portable Screened Black Fly Shelter

I look forward to the beginning of paddling season. I plan to camp out of my kayak about a dozen times this season, starting in mid-May. But during the first month or so of paddling season, the blackflies can at times be pretty nasty. Selecting a campsite on a breezy point helps. So does smudge from a campfire. But often, the buggers are still brutal.

In the late afternoon, at the campsite, I tend to sit back, maybe drink a beer or two and read a book while enjoying the view. I was thinking there might be some sort of lightweight collapsible shelter I could pick-up to set up around me while I sit back in my folding chair. The shelter needs to be light and small enough to be carried in or on my kayak.

Here is something I saw on Amazon:
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Anybody have ideas or suggestions?

Last edited by Crash; 01-05-2019 at 05:29 PM.. Reason: rephrase
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:06 PM   #2
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Sea to Summit: Mosquito Net AMOSS

Single $35.00 15oz
Double $52.00 22oz

I have the both, and have found them to work well. But for a little more weight and cost invest in a hammock with a bug net. I have a couple from Byer of Maine. I sleep in mine so I like this one as the small stays keep the netting off your face Moskito Kakoon Hammock
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:30 PM   #3
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One thing I've noticed about the Sea to Summit nets is that they aren't always noseeum proof. That is a non starter for me when it comes to utility in the Adirondacks.

The Ollrear net in the Amazon link only has 300 holes per square inch- that's definitely not going to be noseeum proof, either.

Eureka makes a nice tarp and bug net combo (the VCS) that I invested in a few years ago. It's not particularly light nor particularly cheap, but it is solidly built. I don't think it's heavy enough to be an issue for paddling trips- I've even carried it on shorter backpacking trips (although I'd definitely leave it behind for longer trips with big mile days). It's really nice to have for base camping trips especially, and it has noticeably also decreased my reliance on fires for bug suppression, which is nice. I have the smaller version, the VCS 13, and I've found that it's big enough for 2-3 people to sit comfortably, hang out, cook and eat dinner, etc. The tarp addition is really nice as it also works as a rain shelter in addition to a bug shelter.

For some reason, Eureka doesn't sell the VCS in America, so I had to have mine imported from Canada:

The NoBugZone shelters look interesting also- I don't think those were available when I purchased my VCS. They look like they are a lighter and cheaper alternative to the VCS.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:28 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses but I am a little confused now. I guess I never noticed noseeums to be a problem – unless they also occur during black fly season and I just assumed the bites were from blackflies. When is no-see-um season? Are they just as prevalent as black flies throughout the Adirondacks?

Regarding the suggested shelters, I’d prefer a free standing one like the Ollrear. I don’t think the Sea to Summit would work for my purpose because the top of my head, when sitting in a low folding chair that I always take with me, is about 45 inches above the ground. Another option on Amazon that I noticed is by a company named Universal Backpacker, which uses 256 per square inch netting. Although not free standing, it could be tied to a tree limb above, or, if no limb is available, to a rope stretched between two trees.

If I spray the netting with permethrin would that help against noseeums?
I like the Eureka shelters you pointed to DSettahr but I don’t want to invest that much money – and they seem to be a bit too bulky for a single traveler, which is the case for me during bug season.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:34 AM   #5
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Noseeums are, as the name indicates, tiny little biting flies that are nearly impossible to see. Even once one has landed on you and bitten you- you have to look real closely to see it. Noseeums tend to be fairly site specific, and are most often found near boggy or marshy areas- in some areas of the Adirondacks, they are a horrendous menace. In other areas, you won't see any at all. I will say that one is definitely more likely to encounter them while paddling on lakes and ponds, and less likely while hiking in mountains (some of the worst I've seen have been in the Low's Lake and Lake Lila areas). Their season usually coincides with mosquito season although there may be some overlap with black fly season. If you paddle (or even hike) regularly in the Adirondacks, you'll encounter them sooner or later.

The holes per square inch measure can be a bit counterintuitive- The more holes per square inch, the smaller each individual hole is, and the better the net is at keeping obnoxious pests at bay. For netting to be noseeum-proof, you want it to have several thousand holes per square inch, not several hundred- so that Universal Backpacker option you mention is going to be even worse at keeping bugs off of you than the other options mentioned in this thread. The downside to noseeum proof netting is that because it uses more material to make the holes smaller, it does tend to be heavier and bulkier.

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Old 01-07-2019, 08:59 AM   #6
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Noseeums, also called "Punkies" in some places (esp. western Adirondacks and Tug Hill). Small indeed, and some would say they come right through a tent wall or screen. In reality, when you are out and about being attacked, then decide to retreat into a tent, they have embedded themselves in your clothing and once inside with you they emerge in short order to attack you anyway. You need to ensure you have removed any external clothing, or at least brush heavily before entering a shelter.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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I consider noseeums/punkies the most disruptive of all the biting / chewing / stinging insects. I am very sensitive to their bites, like fire!

And they are attracted to light, so they invade camp, so reading after dark inside becomes impossible.
Be careful, don't spread invasive species!!

When a dog runs at you,whistle for him.
Henry David Thoreau

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Old 01-11-2019, 08:09 PM   #8
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Bug Shelter

I have been looking at a couple of different shelters to take canoe camping. Initially I was looking at Eureka No Bug Zone shelters, but it was a hassle, as they only seem to be sold in Canada. I searched different outdoor gear sellers in the eastern Canada and found one that would sell and ship it, but the cost of shipping was prohibitive. Someone in the Canoe Tripping Forum suggested the Nemo Bug Out shelter. I looked into it and found the 9x9 shelter. I like the features and was lucky enough to find one on eBay for $149 and ordered it. It is supposed to arrive next week. I hammock camp and according to the information I found, you are supposed to be able to use a hammock in it. We'll see when I use it next spring.
"Such sights as this are reserved for those who will suffer to behold them."
- Eric Sevareid
Canoeing with the Cree
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Old Today, 10:17 PM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 27
I found a couple of solutions.

For many years I used a home grown system of tarp and netting. Take a small tarp (I use a 10' x 10' number I got at Campmor) and sew some D rings on it. I purchased the netting from REI (I have a 2 person and a 4) and use carabiners to attach the netting to the D rings. A bit crude but it works well. Pretty light and I use this on solo or moving water trips.

Then I started reading about the VCS (yup, gotta buy it in Canada) and just prior to pulling that trigger the NoBugZone arrived on the scene. Again, Canada. Bought that one. Only used it once but for my base camping (or light portage trips) it is fantastic. With this one set up as a base, table, chairs, LUCI light and backgammon board inside I just have to smile. Dog loves it as much as I do.
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