Midge Head Nets: Why They Are Essential

Jul 8, 2018 | Gear Reviews, Tried & Tested | 2 comments

I used to be quite complacent but nowadays when I go out hiking or into the wilderness in the summer months, I make sure one of my midge head nets is the first thing in my pack.

smidge is one of the best midge head nets

Yeah, it’s that season yet again. Those beastly little devils are back with a vengeance and continue to terrorise anything and everything that moves.

You can’t go outside in the morning or evening without getting descended upon by clouds of these little black specks. It usually takes a couple of minutes until they find you and then that’s it – there is no escape. They get in your hair, under your clothes and the more you swat them or try to fight them, the more they bite back.

image of fly swatter

Traditional methods don’t work with midges I’m afraid

Is the above scenario familiar? If it is then you’ll know the pain. Midge season runs from approximately May until September but they’ve been known to hit us as early as April and as late as October. Midge survival depends on a variety of things and can never be determined by one sole factor.

I’ve already touched on midge existence and their habitat so let’s get straight into why midge head nets are an amazing invention.

 

Midge Repellent Options


When you think of “midge repellent” the first thing that’s most likely to spring to mind is one of those stinking, greasy, almost radioactive sprays. Am I right?

One that’s often overlooked by hikers and campers is an actual physical barrier preventing these little critters from getting to your skin.

The sprays can be excellent, don’t get me wrong, but they wear off eventually and some are nowhere near as good as others.

An actual physical net over your head simply cannot fail. That is unless it gets damaged or the holes are slightly too big (which we’ll look at in a minute).

me with head net on

It’s not exactly flattering but who cares! As long as you don’t get bitten

There are also plenty of “prevention strategies” but many of these are inappropriate unless you’re in the same place for a long time.

If you’re a keen hiker or outdoors junkie then there are times where it’s impossible to avoid midges, this is when a head net becomes invaluable.

 

Midge Head Nets


How They Work?

The science behind midge nets is really quite simple.

It’s basically an ultra-fine mesh often made from cotton, polyester or nylon. Nylon tricot material is popular due to its fineness and lightweight properties.

They tend to have an elastic cord at the bottom to stop midges flying underneath the net and a showerproof top to sit on top of the head.

head net full length

The cord at the bottom seals any gaps

Some nets (usually large mosquito nets) are treated with an anti-mosquito substance adding an extra resistance barrier.

Simple as that!

 

Pros

  • Super lightweight and compact.
  • Physical barrier meaning, if designed right, midges simply can’t get to your skin.
  • Relatively cheap.
  • Don’t ‘run out’ like a spray repellent.
  • You don’t have to lather yourself in DEET and other substances.
  • Works against all insects – not just midges.
  • Some can double up as hats!

Cons

  • Can inhibit vision (albeit slightly).
  • Gets hot when the sun is shining.
  • Doesn’t look cool….not that you should care in the middle of the wilderness!
  • It can sometimes get annoying having to pull the net down to avoid folds in front of the eyes.

 

Do They Work Against Mosquitos?

Yes. But there’s a reason you have both mosquito and midge nets.

Mosquitos are a fair bit bigger than midges so, as you probably guessed, the holes don’t need to be as big. Normally mosquito nets have 100 – 400 holes per square inch. A mosquito won’t be getting through that and it gives you head much more breathability – essential in hot climates. Most mosquito-specific head nets are also treated by a repellent because they can still bite through the mesh.

fine material used for mosquito nets

Mosquito nets can get away with being coarser

Midges are tiny. They’re actually nigh on impossible to see unless you stand and focus your eye on them. Or unless they come in a cloud and if this is the case then you DEFINITELY want to be wearing a head net. Around 400 – 500 holes per square inch is the approximate size for these finer meshes and they are ideal for general climates in the UK’s wilderness/mountainous regions.

Remember, midges are around 1 – 1.5 mm in length so the finer the mesh, the better.

The smidge head net material is as fine as it gets

 

Recommendations


To be honest, you’d have to be unlucky to come across an ineffective head net. I recommend the two brands which are producers of my favourite midge/insect repellents.

 

SMIDGE Midge Proof Head Net

This is my personal favourite and is the head net I always take with me on hikes or long trips into the British wilderness.

It’s made from an ultra-fine polyester mesh which is breathable and fits into a tiny compact bag meaning it takes up next to no space. I also feel that it barely hinders visibility which is a huge plus.

You can get yourself one on Amazon and see what others had to say about it!

 

Lifesystems Midge/Mosquito Head Net

Lifesystems are the creators of the almost bombproof mosquito/midge repellent and their head net follows a similar trend.

While it weighs in at approximately 20 grams more than the smidge head net, it’s still an incredibly lightweight option offering all the same properties. Lifesystems even try and make these nets a bit “trendy” by including a pop-up midge net hat in their merchandise.

I’ll let you decide whether or not that is cool. 😀

Again, it’s available on Amazon as well as a range of Lifesystems products! The second image below is a net/hat combined.

 

Conclusion


So there you have it, a brief but hopefully helpful post about midge head nets.

They offer an excellent alternative to spray-on repellents and take up next to no space in your pack. It’s something you should always include in your hiking or outdoors gear if you’re spending prolonged periods in the UK countryside during the warmer months.

image of backpack

Midge net/repellent is one of the first things in my pack

I do recommend you carry both a spray and a head net. If you do strenuous activities such as hiking/running/biking in midge dense areas then a net is often impractical. It can get in the way and you heat up MUCH quicker. In such situations, a good midge repellent is a far better option.

It’s worth noting that the two brands I’ve recommended above are the ones I’ve tried and tested. They have never failed for me but there are dozens of midge/mosquito nets out there and they all generally do the same job.

Thanks a lot for reading and I invite you to leave any questions or comments in the box below! 🙂

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