Do gaiters (that are NOT soaked or factory applied permethrin) worn around the ankles while hiking prevent ticks from getting into your pants and onto your skin?

2 Answers 2


To an extent, yes

One of the simplest ways to prevent ticks (and other biting insects) is a physical barrier, and gaiters will act as a physical barrier.

  • 1
    And gaiters make them easier to see crawling on you.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 26, 2020 at 13:58

Do gaiters that are not soaked or factory applied permethrin prevent ticks?

To a degree yes, but it is not perfect.

To increase the ability of repelling ticks, I would spray on Deet, unless one is known to be allergic to one of the ingredients of this repellent.

In addition to using Deet, there are a few others things one can do to increase one’s chances of avoiding been bitten by ticks:

Physical Barriers

  • If biting insects and/or ticks are present, dress your child in long, loose-fitting clothes that cover the arms and legs, a hat and closed shoes (not sandals). Tucking shirts into pants and pants into socks are extra precautions.

  • Light-coloured clothes make it easier to see and remove ticks before they bite, and do not attract mosquitoes as much as dark clothing.

  • When residing in or visiting a tick habitat, inspect yourself and your children thoroughly at least daily: include the head, neck and behind the ears. If a tick is found, remove it as soon as possible. Ticks can stay attached to skin, feeding on blood and growing larger, for five or more days. However, removing a tick within 24 h to 48 h of starting to feed is likely to prevent Lyme disease because the bacteria will not yet have been transmitted from the tick to the individual.

Something else I would like to add here, from personal experience: one should avoid walking through piles of leaves. For some reasons, these little creatures love hiding out in piles of dry leaves, especially when colder weather is upon us. After all piled up leaves will keep the cold out and they seem to sense that. They may only be ticks, but they are not all that stupid, so always be alert.

  • Use caution spraying DEET onto clothing: it rapidly softens or dissolves many plastics. So synthetic materials have a habit of falling apart after contact with DEET. Even if your gaiters are canvas the thread or other fastenings may be plastic.
    – aucuparia
    Jun 30, 2020 at 7:49
  • DEET seems to be only moderately effective for ticks. For mosquitoes, 100% DEET cuts bites by about a factor of 10, but for ticks it's less than a factor of 2: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11929056 . That doesn't mean it's not worth doing if you live in Lyme disease country, but it's at best a minor help. DEET is such nasty stuff that I'd be reluctant to use it when the benefit is so minor.
    – user2169
    Jul 2, 2020 at 17:47

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