Friday night I completed some final preparations by soaking my clothes in an odorless and safe insect repellent called permethrin. One of my coworkers first told me about permethrin several months ago. Then, when I got my immunizations from Passport Health, the RN there also endorsed permethrin. I figured with so many people talking about it I should probably look into it!
So, a few weeks ago, I bought 8 ounces of repellent through REI Co-op. Turns out, most permethrin manufacturers recommend using at least 3 ounces per garment for full coverage. Since I have roughly 4 complete outfits I needed more! I ended up buying an additional 48 ounces of repellent to cover all my belongings. I chose permethrin made by Sawyer because it is sold at the correct concentration level of 0.5%. This wasn’t the most cost effective option as I found out later many other producers sell it at higher concentrated levels for bulk pricing. I would highly recommend buying this way for anyone looking at doing something similar.
The whole process was fairly effortless. You can soak or spray your garments, either will give you coverage. I chose to soak my gear because I read online that soaking allows the chemical to fully reach all parts of each item (inside, outside, waistband, etc.). I stole a bunch of my Mother’s plastic bags (sorry Mom) and stuffed each item in one. I still didn’t have quite enough permethrin, so I bundled two pairs of socks and two bandanas together twice. I kept all the other items in individual bags. For some of my bigger garments like my pants, rain jacket, and even some of my T-shirts, 3 ounces was not enough to cover the entire surface. So, I would suggest that if you choose to soak your clothes it would probably be better to use about 4 or 5 ounces on your larger items. Other than these few small occurrences, the process went smoothly. I even sprayed my backpack and my daypack as Sawyer says this allows for even better coverage! I should be protected from mosquitos and ticks during my travels now! I’ll be coupling this protected gear with Sawyer’s topical picaridin spray, which is an alternative to feet-based repellents that smell terrible.
My leave date is getting closer and closer! This time next week, I will be in Cancun getting ready to check in to my hostel! Before I leave I will be posting an in depth breakdown of all my gear! Thanks for following my journey!