Thinking of solo travel? CLICK HERE to find out how

Follow me on

Home ::  Travel Accessories for Women :: Travel Mosquito Net 

Cheap worldwide health insurance

The Travel Mosquito Net: Avoiding Small Bites With Big Consequences

Updated 29 June 2017 ⎯ A mosquito net is possibly the single most important way to stay healthy when you travel in the tropics (not to mention you'll sleep more soundly and won't spend the night swatting the wildlife).

Travel Mosquito Net - illustration of the bugs you can avoid with a mosquito tent or mosquito netsSurely these aren't your ideal bedtime companions, right?

Remember, over half a million people are infected by malaria mosquitoes each year and there's a new threat: the Zika virus. And I don't want to scare you but there are many more diseases you can catch from insects:

  • dengue, yellow fever or West Nile Virus from mosquitoes 
  • Lyme disease or typhus from ticks and lice
  • plague from fleas
  • sleeping sickness from tsetse flies
  • some encounters are just plain revolting, like leeches, or poisonous, like scorpions or snakes. 

Many of these illnesses can debilitate your for life - or worse. Having slept outside in many countries where these critters are common, I can't bring myself to travel without serious protection. To me that means a mosquito net, mosquito net clothing or at the very least some kind of mosquito repellent.

If you're already convinced you need to take some kind of bug net on your travels, see my following recommendations for the best mosquito nets on the market. But if you still need convincing, jump to the explanations below.

Mosquito net comparison chart

NOTE: Links will take you to your local Amazon shop in the US CA UK DE IT ES FR. If the item is not available in your shop, you will be redirected to amazon.com.

Name

Image

Weight

Size

Details

Price

Rating /3

3.5 lb/1.58kg w/o tent rain cover
4-5lb/1.8-2.3kg with cover

L84 x W28 x H40 inches/
213 x 7 x 101cm

Packed : 14" x 6"/35.5 x 15cm 

Free-standing with side zipper entrance and waterproof floor. Can attach to military-style cots. Aluminum poles and rain cover make it suitable for outdoor use. No See Um-proof.

$$

***

4.5 lb/2.04kg

L74.8 x W35.4 x H43.3 inches/190 x 90 x 110cm

Zip-out leg extension to 86.8"/220cm

Also comes in Double and Queen sizes.

Free standing mosquito tent with straps to stabilize it on the bed. Zipper opens on the side. Keeps out mosquitoes and smaller bugs. I've used one of these for years. (I have two, similar to this one and the Kamp-Rite.)

$$$

**

2.5 lb/1.13kg

L86 x W32 x H59 inches/218 x 81 x 150cm

4-way folded: 20"/51 x 2.5cm ∅
3-way folded: 26" x 1" deep/66 x 2.5cm

Instant mosquito tent. Freestanding, colorful, practical. Keeps out mosquitoes and smaller bugs. You MUST read the instructions before folding/unfolding or it can hit you!

$$

***

9.6 oz/0.27kg

L78 x W32 x H59 inches/198 x 81.2 x 150cm
240 Mesh

Simple, semi-enclosed classic mosquito net, no floor - tucks under you. 4 fixing points to suspend from trees or indoors, and bottom pegging points. Mesh size might not provide full protection from smallest "no seeums".

$

**

14 oz/0.4 kg

L80 x W39 x H80 inches/203 x 99 x 203cm

Packed: 9.8 x 4.7"/25 x 12cm
Also comes in double bed mosquito net; 225 Mesh

Free hanging kit with 6 screw hooks; 6 plastic plugs and cord. Carrying pouch and ebook with tips on how to use nets. Machine washable. Side opening. Smallest "no seeums" might get through.

$

**

19 oz/530g

Total hammock size 10' 6" (320cm); actual bed size: 9 x 4' 6" (274 x 137cm)

Packed: 8 x 4" (20.3 x 10.1cm)

A real tree-attaching hammock mosquito net. Tree straps cost extra. It also comes in 210D Oxford nylon which is heavier and larger when packed. No See Um-proof.

$

**

18 oz/514g

L7'2" x W3'7" x H 5'11"/218 x 109 x 180cm

500 holes/sq in

Comes with 4 cords. Skirted at bottom to tuck under mattress or sleeping bag. No See Um-proof but fine mesh allows less air circulation. Stand-up shelter with (or without) Permethryn insect shield. 

$

**

Image

Weight

3.5 lb/1.58kg w/o tent rain cover
4-5lb/1.8-2.3kg with cover

Size

L84 x W28 x H40 inches/
213 x 7 x 101cm

Packed : 14" x 6"/35.5 x 15cm 

Details

Free-standing with side zipper entrance and waterproof floor. Can attach to military-style cots. Aluminum poles and rain cover make it suitable for outdoor use. No See Um-proof.

Price

$$

Rating /3

***

Image

Weight

4.5 lb/2.04kg

Size

L74.8 x W35.4 x H43.3 inches/190 x 90 x 110cm

Zip-out leg extension to 86.8"/220cm

Also comes in Double and Queen sizes.

Details

Free standing mosquito tent with straps to stabilize it on the bed. Zipper opens on the side. Keeps out mosquitoes and smaller bugs. I've used one of these for years. (I have two, similar to this one and the Kamp-Rite.)

Price

$$$

Rating /3

**

Image

Weight

2.5 lb/1.13kg

Size

L86 x W32 x H59 inches/218 x 81 x 150cm

4-way folded: 20"/51 x 2.5cm ∅
3-way folded: 26" x 1" deep/66 x 2.5cm

Details

Instant mosquito tent. Freestanding, colorful, practical. Keeps out mosquitoes and smaller bugs. You MUST read the instructions before folding/unfolding - it can bounce up and hit you if you don't know how to open it.

Price

$$

Rating /3

***

Image

Weight

9.6 oz/0.27kg

Size

L78 x W32 x H59 inches/198 x 81.2 x 150cm
240 Mesh

Details

Simple, semi-enclosed classic mosquito net, no floor - tucks under you. 4 fixing points to suspend from trees or indoors, and bottom pegging points. Mesh size might not provide full protection from smallest "no seeums".

Price

$

Rating /3

**

Image

Weight

14 oz/0.4 kg

Size

L80 x W39 x H80 inches/203 x 99 x 203cm

Packed: 9.8 x 4.7"/25 x 12cm
Also comes in double bed mosquito net; 225 Mesh

Details

Free hanging kit with 6 screw hooks; 6 plastic plugs and cord. Carrying pouch and ebook with tips on how to use nets. Machine washable. Side opening. Smallest "no seeums" might get through.

Price

$

Rating /3

**

Image

Weight

19 oz/530g

Size

Total hammock size 10' 6" (320cm); actual bed size: 9 x 4' 6" (274 x 137cm)

Packed: 8 x 4" (20.3 x 10.1cm)

Details

A real tree-attaching hammock mosquito net. Tree straps cost extra. It also comes in 210D Oxford nylon which is heavier and larger when packed. No See Um-proof.

Price

$

Rating /3

**

Image

Weight

18 oz/514g

Size

L7'2" x W3'7" x H 5'11"/218 x 109 x 180cm

500 holes/sq in

Details

Comes with 4 cords. Skirted at bottom to tuck under mattress or sleeping bag. No See Um-proof but fine mesh allows less air circulation. Stand-up shelter with (or without) Permethryn insect shield. 

Price

$

Rating /3

**

Mosquito net travel advice 101: what you need to know

  • The obvious: they keep out mosquitoes that can kill you. This is reason enough.
  • A mosquito net also keeps other critters out, like creepy crawlies or falling geckoes. I wouldn't dream of traveling without one when heading to warm, humid places.
  • It's especially important if you're traveling on a budget or off the beaten track. Air conditioning helps keep mosquitoes at bay but if you're staying in huts or out of doors or with open windows - there's nothing to protect you.
  • The most effective and best travel mosquito nets should have a close mesh - and please check the specs to se if they are No See Um-proof.
  • While cotton may seem more natural, it collects dampness and weighs more than a synthetic fiber so I'd opt for the polyester type nets.
travel mosquito net in BorneoThese are typical mosquito nets you'll find in most tropical climates (Photo: Anne Sterck)

Mosquito net versus mosquito net tent - which should you take with you?

There are two types of insect net: one with a frame, and one without. The basic bed mosquito net attaches to the walls or ceiling, and the other, also known as a pop up mosquito net, is a stand-alone.

The best mosquito net for bed protection

Lets start with the standard travel mosquito net - without a frame.

The typical insect nets are squares or rectangles of insect netting with a ring (or two) that you attach to a wall or ceiling. It should be large enough to tuck under the mattress without touching you. If it touches your skin, the mosquito can simply land on it and bite you right through it!

travel mosquito netThe most common mosquito net found in developing countries - used properly it can prevent deadly mosquito bites (Photo: CDC)

The plain foldable and portable mosquito net is an inexpensive product that will mostly do what is required of it: keep mosquitoes out.

It is also a great backup net, small and light enough to carry and takes up little room in case there isn't one in your room or worse, it has holes in it.

You can easily wash it and hang it out to dry.

As long as you're not terrified of anything crawling into your bed - something could get in if you've been a bit careless when tucking yourself in - then an extra-fine net should more than keep you safe from mosquitoes and their diseases.

Mosquito net pros

It's cheaper and lighter
 You'll usually have more headspace around you
 A certain aura of nostalgia
 Smaller when folded
 Nothing to break
 If you're not traveling solo, there is such a thing as a mosquito net for double bed use

Mosquito net cons

No floor so you constantly have to tuck it in - every time you go in and out
 No barrier against bedbugs (which can appear even in the poshest establishments)
 You need nails or hooks to fasten it to walls or ceilings - and sometimes that's not possible
 If not tucked in properly, creepy crawlies can get in (and I don't like the idea of spiders or even snakes dropping by for a midnight visit)
 An overlapping net entrance can often allow insects in if you're not careful

So like it or not, while there are some significant advantages to the traditional mosquito net, there are also quite a few downsides.

And that's why I travel with a mosquito net tent. I have not one, but two of these, just in case I lose one. That's how important it is to me!

The mosquito tent: protection from mosquitoes (and everything else)

The mosquito net tent is a brilliant invention and I would not have made it through three years of backpacking across Africa and Asia without one (two, in my case - I lost mine, got another, and found the first one!)

This is basically a tent, but - with a few notable exceptions like the Kamp-Rite Insect Protection System - it has mosquito netting rather than the waterproof cover you'd usually expect in a normal camping tent.

The mosquito tent for bed use is for women willing to spend a bit more for a more insect-proof product - and for those heading off into areas that are more remote or where mosquito tents or nets may not be easily available. Whereas I didn't have much use for mine in South Africa, I could not have made it through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi without this kind of protection (I would have been eaten alive and certainly sleep deprived). A good self-supporting mosquito net will also keep out most other creepy crawlies and that, to me, is a huge benefit, especially if you're in a rural area.

travel mosquito netThis is the tent - a brilliant invention and far better than a simple net.

Mosquito tent pros

 It's free-standing, which means no worries about nails or hooks and once it's up, it is ready to use
 It's properly sealed, which means mosquitoes can't get in, under or around it (nor can other critters - or bedbugs)
 You can get in and out without having to tuck yourself in each time - just unzip, and zip again
 Zippers will also keep errant mosquitoes from getting in
 You can leave it set up during the day, no rolling up - and no bugs will get in while you're out
 The netting isn't touching you and as long as you keep away from the sides (easily done) you won't get bitten
 Many have internal pockets for such things as phones or flashlights or important papers

Mosquito tent cons

 It's heavier to carry and takes up more space in your luggage
 It is more expensive (but also far more robust)
 It can be warmer inside, especially if it has a waterproof - plastic - floor (I use a travel towel, silk sleeping bag liner, damp T-shirt or sarong to lie on)
 There are more pieces, like poles and zippers, so more can go wrong
 I've worried sometimes that setting it up on a bed in someone's house might appear insensitive, as in "I don't feel safe here" but - I'm afraid that given the potential deadliness of a mosquito bite, I'd rather take that chance; I do explain where I can

Treated mosquito net or not?

Before buying a mosquito net or tent, you need to decide whether to go for one with a permethrin treatment or whether to opt for a simple untreated net.

The advantage of permethrin, a strong synthetic chemical, is its effectiveness.

Most mosquitoes won't survive contact with it so you'll have fewer chances of being bitten. Permethrin treatment isn't permanent - you'll have to re-treat the net (and your clothes, if you spray them) with Permethrin every so often.

While it's not known to be toxic to humans (keep it away from your pets - it can kill them with the fumes if it hasn't dried yet, which is why you have to spray outdoors), many people abhor chemicals and simply refuse to use them if at all avoidable.

If that's your case - get an untreated net.

My own choice?

A travel mosquito tent. For those who have been writing and asking about mine, the model I've been using for years is the Longroads Travel Tent - sadly I don't think it's made anymore but my recommendations above look as though they would make good substitutes.

A few words of caution...

Even if rooms have their own mosquito nets, check them carefully. Years of wear and tear may have left holes in the net - and if mosquitoes can get in, the net will be useless.

Remember, avoiding malaria, dengue fever and now Zika (especially during pregnancy) should be right at the top of your travel health list! And please... don't leave home without your travel insurance

Best mosquito net reviews and recommendations

There are plenty of products on the market and the comparison chart at the top of this page maps out some of the most popular. But if that's not enough information for you, here are details for four of the best.

Kamp-Rite (IPS) Insect Protection System Review

The Kamp-Rite - my personal favorite - is sold by the same people who supply firefighter and emergency management agencies (as well as demanding travelers). I love this thing - when it gets rough out there with critters and bugs, I love having a safe haven into which I can crawl. My travels have taken me to local homes where I've slept on grass, earthen floors or on platforms outdoors. Being able to relax without expecting any surprises allowed me to sleep restfully and safely in some unlikely places.

I also like bringing my shoes into it at night to keep them empty, knowing that if I have to get up and leave the tent, I won't be stepping directly onto a scorpion, spider or snake. The image of a scorpion crawling out of my shoe after a night in the Sahara without my freestanding mosquito net.

Don't know about you, but my imagination makes up a circus-full of insects as soon as the sun goes down... I don't rest easy in a hanging mosquito net, the kind without a floor or zipper...

Pros

 If you're a bit adventurous or if you haven't planned your accommodation, it can be used as a sort of camping mosquito net or basic tent - add the rain cover and sleep outside.
 It can also be combined with a camping cot or bed, especially useful if you're camping with a car or if you're volunteering outdoors in an emergency situation.
 A strong selling point is its fine mesh, so insects won't be able to fight their way in. Bottom line: you get total protection, with floor and sides fully enclose and a zipped entrance down the long side.

Cons

 Heavier than a simple canopy mosquito net but a lot safer wrapped in your own cocoon, away from all manner of bugs, snakes and other creepy crawlies.
 The fine mesh will restrict air flow a little so you'll have to make a trade off between safety and breathability - much depends on where you plan to travel and the size of the insects you might meet.
 It's (obviously) more expensive than your average mozzie net.
 It's a tent - so you need to assemble it, not just unfold it, although the process is quick and simple.

SansBug 1-Person Free-Standing Pop-Up Mosquito-Net Review

I love this tent - just pop it open but you MUST watch the instructions first. If it is folded into four, it is so tightly sprung that when you open it it could fly up and hit you so you need to do it right. Folding it to make it small may seem difficult but again, with instructions it's a breeze.

This is a great option to the Kamp-Rite above, and it is less expensive. The challenge is to fold it properly so it fits in your bag but the flip side is that you can set it up in seconds. 

If you don't need the extra tent cover option for outdoor sleeping or the heavier duty Kamp-Rite design, I think you'll be happy with the Sansbug.

Pros

 It's almost instantly ready. Just pop out, unzip and crawl in.
 Also quick to pack, although you'll need to do it right.
 Fun colors and fun concept.
 It has pockets for your flashlights and space for books and phones and tablets, as well as your shoes.
 Like the Kamp-Rite, it's a safe haven from the outside world.
 It's also slightly lighter.
 Its very fine mesh should stop all insects you're likely to encounter, including bedbugs - yes, apparently even found in some upmarket hotels!

Cons

 You MUST learn to fold it properly - do it wrong and it will shatter. Good news though - it's easy to learn and quick to do.
 You need to fold it in the "four-way" method to bring down the diameter so it'll fit in your bag (20"/50cm ∅). That said, it does take up a little more space than the Kamp-Rite but you'll be fine if your airline has a generous carryon policy - or put it into your checked luggage.

Coghlans Mosquito Net Review

If you're going to get a plain hanging mosquito net, get this one. It's simple, no-frills and does the job.

Pros

 It's cheap, period. If you're going to a developing country, take along an extra one or two and donate them to a family in need.
 It comes with 4 lengths of twine, 4 screw hooks, 4 wall anchors and 4 one-inch nails (though I'd pack a few spares, just in case).
 It's light and easy to pack. You can squeeze it into a small space (although I'd pack it in a bag to avoid damaging the netting).
 There's no overlapping netting and you have to lift up the bottom to get in - this makes it more secure than ordinary bed nets.
 It is high enough and as wide as the the much smaller "pyramid style" mosquito net. The problem with the pyramid style is that it is easier to lean against the sides, which means bugs can still bite you since your skin is accessible because it is touching the net.

Cons

 There is no floor, just a tucked-in valence so it's not bedbug-proof - and you need to make sure you keep it tucked in.
 The mesh isn't as fine as it could be. Even the 240 mesh won't keep out anything smaller than a mosquito. If there's a problem with No See Ums or other tiny insects, then you might be better off with the Sea and Summit bednet below.

Sea To Summit Mosquito Box Net Shelter Review

Like the Coghlans bed net, this one is a decent size - and to me that's important. It means you won't easily brush the "walls" during sleep, allowing insects to bite you through the mesh. It also means you can almost stand up inside, making it so much easier to get in and out.

The mesh is extremely fine and should keep out even the smallest insects. It is still a net rather than a tent, and you do have to tuck in the valence under your bed, sleeping bag or cot - no zipper means no complete seal - you have to lift it off the ground to get in or out. So if you're planning on getting a net rather than a tent, this one is as safe as you can get.

Pros

 Generous tall design.
 Fine mesh keeps No See Ums out.
 Nothing to break so should last for years and comes in its own stuff sack.
 Available pre-treated so should kill insects as they land (your choice - it also comes untreated).
 Comes with corner tie cords and bottom corner peg loops (but no pegs).
 No poles so you can stuff it into small spaces in your luggage.

Cons

 Not self-supporting so you'll have to lash up the 4 corners onto something. It's easier if you're tall.
 Like the Coghlans net, it is not fully enclosed so bedbugs and anything already in the bedding will keep you company - and be joined by anything that sneaks in under the net if you haven't sealed it well.

How to Help

It's not just about us, either. Malaria is Africa's biggest killer: a child dies of it every minute, deaths that are preventable. While we sleep comfortably under our nets, millions of people, especially the poorest, can't afford them. Nothing But Nets is a great grassroots campaign that raises money for bed nets. To keep up with developments, read up at Roll Back Malaria, the global partnership that fights the disease.

You might also like...