Bug Off: The 10 Best Pieces of Insect-Repelling Clothing

Smart clothing options mixing style and bug-repellent material

Oct 8, 2012
Outside Magazine
Faran T-Shirt.

Faran T-Shirt.    Photo: Courtesy Haeleum

So that you don’t have to worry about the dangers of applying potentially harmful bug spray on your skin, more and more companies are designing insect-repellent-infused clothing that effectively places bug spray near your skin. There is no odor, you never have to reapply, and the repellency will last up to 70 washings, the expected lifetime of a garment.

Insect Shield, which is the first-ever bug-repellent clothing registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is the most widely used technology behind many bug-repellent clothing and companies. Insect Shield promises to protect wearers from mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges. The bug-repellent gear, which has 0.52 percent permethrin, can be laundered like any other gear and is approved for both adults and children.

Although Insect Shield is used for most insect-repellent clothing, other companies, such as Columbia, Koppen, and Craghoppers’ NosiLife, have also created their own long-lasting fabric that repels insects. The main ingredient behind each of the technologies, however, is permethrin, the only pesticide approved by the EPA for pre-treated fabrics. Infusing permethrin to fabric, as opposed to spraying it on the skin, makes the bug-repellency more effective and longer-lasting.

Here are 10 of the best clothing options that mix style and function with bug-repellency—tested and proven to keep the bugs far, far away.