I like to read for a couple of hours after getting into my sleeping bag, and I don't like to use the tent unless the weather is bad. So usually I am lying propped up against my pack (food removed) attended by a circle of no-see-ums or mosquitoes trying to dive-bomb under my hat, the brim of which is sprayed with deet. Tolerable, but not ideal. A head and shoulders mesh mini-tent would protect me when reading and allow me to commune with the stars. Does such a product exist?

4 Answers 4


There exit various kinds of head or even upper body mosquito nets. You can put one over your head and the sleeping bag opening to hold them away.

If you are anyway carrying a tent, I think this is optimal as it is very lightweight. As you seem to enjoy sleeping in the open, an alternative would be to ditch your tent entirely and go for a bivy bag, with possible additional bug protection as shown in Liam's answer.

Sea To Summit Mosquito Head Net by backcountry.com


Yes, you want one of those hats with an extra long mosquito net around it:

Mosquito net
(Source: MEC)

Larger ones than the one in the photo exist.

In places like northern Finland in summer, you pretty much never see anyone fishing without one. I've seen people with such nets hanging from their hat, while the net reached down to their knees. Fishing is a worst-case-scenario because people stand still by often standing water. Hikers move and those mosquitoes are very slow, so it's less urgent for them. In Sweden and Finland at least, the most advanced mosquito nets will therefore be found in shops selling fishing gear rather than regular outdoor stores.

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    Thanks. I did not know how to choose between your answer and imsodin's so I flipped a coin. Now I have to choose which to buy!
    – ab2
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 2:22
  • Upvote for the comment about looking in fishing stores for serious bug protection. Great to learn from fellow outdoorsmen! Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 15:45

Yes, your talking about a bivvy bag

enter image description here

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    I never said it did..?
    – user2766
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 17:28
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    Your answer literally says they need a bivvy bag, but the bivvy bag is the thing inside the net!
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 21:32
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    @JamesRyan If you click on the link Liam provided, you get OR's site -- OR calls the thing pictured the Bug Bivy and describes it as Bivy sack mosquito net.
    – ab2
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 12:52
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    @JamesRyan A bivvy bag is a waterproof cover for a sleeping bag. source? (also, google bug bivvy, you may be surprised. more also, is a bivvy a general name for an improvised shelter, or does it have to be a waterproof cover for a sleeping bag? I am confused, do you need a sleeping bag to make a bivvy a bivvy?) @Liam: no, pointless arguments with random strangers about relative significance of words are fun!
    – njzk2
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 4:26
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    The OP has been helped by the answer, the picture, and the link to OR. The OP has also been helped by finding out that some people will say "What? " when asked for a mesh bivvy sack. The OP is capable of dealing with such confusion should it arise. Thanks, everyone, now let's try to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East.
    – ab2
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 12:54

In country plagued by mosquitoes, no-see-ums, black-flies, and other blood-sucking bugs, people MUST live within "bubbles" of fine-mesh net.

The bloodsucking insects are so annoying that they regularly drive stalwart indigenous animals such as moose and bears MAD with pain, leading the animals to charge bellowing madly through the bush.

The only ways indigenous peoples were able to cope with the vermin was to liberally coat exposed skin with animal or vegetable greases which were sometimes mixed with animal musks or herb decoctions unpleasant to insects. The effectiveness of these treatments comes from the insects' dislike to land on grease, because they may be unable to fly away. The mosquito-mesh coverings are effective only because they keep bugs away from the wearer. The insects will still be attracted to the carbon-dioxide people exhale, and the warmth of human skin. If we sleep under a mosquito net, we must always make sure that the netting is tucked under the mattress, that the entry-way is securely tied, and that we don't allow our limbs to contact the netting while we sleep. If an arm or leg touches the netting, the insects will simply suck blood through the openings in the mesh. They may not be able to get into the net-enclosure with you, but if "you go to them," they'll waste no time in drinking your blood! This is why any portable enclosure has to have some kind of frame. Whether the frame is made of wire, bamboo, wicker, or some other material doesn't matter: The frame is there to hold the net away from the wearer's body, all around. And since a mosquito can drink your blood even through a light "summer-weight fabric" shirt, that means the net covering will have to go around the outside of whatever you sit or lean upon!

That means it's virtually impossible, in all practical terms, to devise a portable mosquito-proof net. There are fanciful sketches of mosquito-bars imagined for 1890s woods-wear, with large numbers of hoops holding the net away from the tender flesh of the vacationers. The factors shared by these schemes is that they are all hopelessly complicated. Wearing a mosquito net over the crown of a boonie-hat, with all extra netting tucked under the collar of a bush-jacket, by itself, is plenty annoying! After a couple weeks of wearing head-nets (when repellent supplies had been exhausted) I was ready to try an old "Jack-Pine Savage's" home-made "receipt" for bug-repellent; or as they called it then: "Punkie Dope!"

If memory serves, the "lotion" took three ounces of pine tar, combined with two ounces of castor oil and one ounce of pennyroyal oil, simmered together until thoroughly blended. This was applied to the skin, liberally and often. Pennyroyal oil is the active ingredient. How often was the stuff reapplied? "As often as the punkies became pressing with their attentions," said one set of directions! Men were to apply this concoction thickly, often, and to never wash it off until all danger was past.

So there it is. It's grossly impractical to always wear a "net-bubble," let alone rely on such to remain bite-free. Anyone terrified of "wearing chemicals" is therefore out of luck.

As for chemical "banes," many people reject them out of hand; even though many will wear cosmetics with similar plant or chemical origins.

After "painting one-self into a corner, in this manner," The only option remaining is to avoid areas where biting insects live.

  • I like your answer for the really buggy places! Reminds me of the joke: "Three mosquitos killed a caribou. One of them turned to the others and said: 'Guys, should we eat it here or take it home?'" Just one editorial suggestion: your answer would be more attractive to a reader if it were in several paragraphs instead of one. It would look less formidable.
    – ab2
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 14:23
  • Thank you. As a retired editor, I already know about formatting and such things. The problem resides in this bewildering site. I had written the item with all appropriate formatting--- which had all vanished when I sent it over! I am tempted to give up on this web-site because of issues with formatting, to be honest. ---S. F. Kerns---
    – Fred Kerns
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 17:11
  • Please don't give up! I don't do anything advanced...I just play around with the space bar and the line down key until it looks ok...wish I knew how to do the highlighting on quotes.
    – ab2
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 21:04
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    Thank you, ab2, for your suggestion. This site is REALLY following the Greek model of informed inquiry back to an electronic-age counterpart of the original Greek ideal of earnest scholars sitting in a rough circle on rocks, logs and fallen columns as someone does the Socratic thing of scratching an idea in the intervening dirt. It's fortunate I was raised Native American, where the highest form of socializing & entertainment was to
    – Fred Kerns
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 0:39
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    In that vein, I once got business cards that identified me as someone trained in "Advanced Thaumaturgy." When I was asked, I'd explain I'd done so much, with so little, so long, I was able to do Miracles, with nothing!
    – Fred Kerns
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 0:52

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