Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gear Review: Light, Mosquito-Repellant Clothing

Health and safety are always major concerns when I'm traveling alone around the world, but my month-long trip to Southeast Asia, including journeying along the Mekong River in Laos, presented some particular concerns. For one, I would be traveling during the rainy season which meant malaria was a big risk. Sure, I was taking medication -- doxycycline, an age-old drug with a long safety record -- as malaria prophylaxis. But I still needed to protect myself from other mosquito-born diseases, such as Dengue Fever, and preferred not to use any insect repellent containing DEET.

My second concern was that the weather was going to be in the high 80s with sky-high humidity. Because I would be visiting Buddhist temples and traveling to small villages where the local women dress modestly, wearing tank tops and shorts was not an option to stay cool. Whatever I wore had to be light, breathable, offer protection from insects and pack well because, of course, I wasn't checking luggage. Luckily Ex Officio came to the rescue.

I wore Ex Officio's Bugsaway Damselfly Lumen hoody with matching Bugsaway Damselfly pants that rolled up to mid-calf. Because both were manufactured with fabrics impregnated with Permethrin, no mosquitoes alighted on me during my entire trip. But the fabric also repels flies, chiggers, ants, ticks and no-see-ums. It was odorless and would last for 70 washings.

The pants have snaps so that I could easily roll 'em up. But with the mesh panels behind both knees, the pants provided plenty of ventilation even on the hottest, most humid days. The nylon fabric was extremely light-weight -- it was paper thin -- yet sturdy. (I snagged it on many a thorny bush or tree trunk when hiking and the fabric resisted it perfectly.) It easily wicked  away sweat and dried quickly.
I didn't need to wear a belt because of the secure Velcro closure. And, unlike so many adventure pants I've purchased in the past, these were stylish and fit my petite frame extremely well. I only brought two pair of pants -- only one was the Ex Officio product --  for my entire month on the road and actually ended up wearing this one almost all the time because it was so comfortable.

Constructed of a mesh weave, the hoody was cool and comfortable. Often I would wear a tank top underneath or, occasionally, when it got breezy at night, a light long-sleeve shirt. The thumb loops offered additional hand protection from the intense sun during the day. Whenever I washed it or got stuck in a rainstorm -- which was most afternoons -- it dried rapidly. The hoody itself was rather large but, given all the other fab features, this didn't detract from my love of this top. This shirt has a flattering cut and, like the pants, I wore it pretty much every day. 

I just returned from a one-week trip to Spain, where mosquitoes and intense heat and humidity clearly were not going to be a problem,. And yet I packed the Bugsaway hoody and pants in my carry on.


Pat said...

Great clothing tips Jeanine. We are thinking about a multiple country Asian trip in a couple of years. I'll remember your many useful thoughts and suggestions.
A faithful fan,

Turkey Tours said...

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