The Best Tick Repellent Clothing 2021

The Best Tick Repellent Clothing for Men, Women & Kids

Since you’re reading this, we probably don’t have to lecture you on the scary health hazards of tick bites, like Lyme disease. But you might not know that a recent study found that tick repellent clothing really works! Here’s our picks for the best tick repellent fashion for women, men and kids.


What is Permethrin Treated Clothing?

All of the clothing recommended here is treated with permethrin, a safe-for-humans insect repellent that keeps ticks from biting you (along with repelling mosquitoes, chiggers, and mites). These treated fabrics retain their effectiveness for around 70 washes–much longer than if you simply sprayed your clothing. See our FAQs at the bottom of this post for more info.


Tick Repellent Clothing for Women

1. LL Bean’s “No Fly Zone” Women’s Line

Offering the quality and functionality you expect from outdoor outfitter LL Bean, their No Fly Zone line is also treated with long lasting permethrin to protect from tick and other bug bites. The line includes a nice range of essentials for women, including tees, jackets, pants, hats and more.

2. ExOfficio Women’s Bugsaway Clothing

ExOfficio’s Bugsaway line for women is one of our favorites, with plenty of flattering pieces and attractive color choices. In addition to the standard technical pants, they offer leggings, a nice range of hoodie styles, tees, and shirts– all treated with their permethrin based InsectShield repellent. Moisture-wicking and lightweight fabrics make full body coverage more comfortable in the summer, and also protect against sun exposure.

3. Royal Robbins Bug Barrier Clothing

The Bug Barrier line from Royal Robbins doesn’t offer quite as much variety as some of the other brands on this list, but you’ll find some solid basics that protect against ticks and other insects with Insect Shield fabric.

4. Simms Bugstopper Accessories

Some of the brands we’ve listed above do offer permethrin treated accessories like hats and socks, but depending on your environment, you may need more protection. This is where Simms Bugstopper line comes in, with netted hats, sleeves, and even a gaiter, providing a physical barrier, and Insect Shield treatment to keep bugs away.


Tick Repellent Clothing for Kids

1. Craghoppers Insect Shield Clothing for Kids

Craghoppers makes stylish outdoor basics for boys and girls, ages 5-13. Their clothing features moisture wicking fabrics (it’s hard to keep kids in long sleeves in the middle of the summer!), and Insect Shield treatment.

2. Bug Smarties Boys and Girls Clothing

Bug Smarties makes some fantastic basics for kids ages 2-8 in breathable cotton and micro-mesh that’s treated to repel ticks and mosquitoes through 70 washes.

3. NoBu.gs Baby and Kids Clothing

NoBu.gs doesn’t offer a wide range of kids clothing, but they do make some cute baby socks, along with a safety green onesie and hoodie for kids, all made with permethrin treated fabric.

Tick and mosquito repellent stroller net

4. Baby Tick Repellent Mosquito Net For Strollers

For little ones the easiest bet can sometimes be a stroller net rather than tick repellent clothing. It fits a wide variety of strollers, and provides a chemical free physical shield from ticks, zika-carrying mosquitoes and more, while allowing for plenty of fresh air.


Even more protective options for kids:


Tick Repellent Clothing for Men

1. ExOfficio Bugsaway Men’s Clothing

ExOfficio’s Bugsaway line of tick repellent clothing for men is all treated with permethrin based Insect Shield repellent. They offer a range of attractive basics, with everything from medium weight flannel for cooler weather, to moisture-wicking jersey.

2. LL Bean’s “No Fly Zone” Line for Men

LL Bean’s No Fly Zone line has a wide range of permethrin treated clothing for men in classic styles. You can outfit yourself in tick repellent garb from head to toe with everything from socks, pants, tees, base layers, hats, and more. We especially like the attention given to functionality, with zippered pockets on pants and shirts.

3. Royal Robbins Bug Barrier Men’s Clothing

The men’s Bug Barrier line from outdoor outfitter Royal Robbins doesn’t have as much variety as some of the other brands we’ve featured, but still includes some attractive basics–all treated with permethrin based Insect Shield.

4. Simms Bugstopper Accessories

Some of the brands we’ve listed above do offer permethrin treated accessories like hats and socks, but depending on your environment, you may need more protection. This is where Simms Bugstopper line comes in, with netted hats, sleeves, and even a gaiter, providing a physical barrier, and Insect Shield treatment to keep bugs away.


More Ways to Keep Ticks Away

Permethrin clothing spray

1. Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent

If you’d rather spray the clothing you already have, or need touch up your tick repellent clothing, grab a bottle of this spray. Sawyer’s Permethrin spray is good through 6 washes, and repels ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers and mites. It’s also great for spraying your tent and other outdoor gear to keep bugs away.

Insect repellent camping mosquito net

2. Atwater Carey Tick Repellent Mosquito Net Treated with Insect Shield

One last item that we love: sometimes a physical shield is the best bet, doubly so when you’re trying get some shut-eye. That’s why we love mosquito nets. This one is treated with permethrin for extra protection.

Natural Tick Repellents

1. Nantucket Spider Natural Tick Repellent Spray

Nantucket Spider’s essential oil tick repellent formula is DEET and permethrin free. We like that the spray works to repel flys and other pests as well!

It can be applied to skin, hair, clothing and gear. We think it smells great thanks to the essential oils, but those who are sensitive to strong scents should take note that it’s not exactly subtle.

2. Herbal Armor

Another great natural tick repellent, Herbal Armor’s spray is also essential oil based, but with a slightly different formula that many swear by. And no worries, it’s DEET and permethrin free!

It’s gentle on sensitive skin, and can be applied to clothing and gear as well. As with the other natural repellent listed here, opinions vary on the scent, which in this case is more dominated by citronella. (Citronella isn’t an ingredient in Nantucket Spider’s formula, so if you know citronella works for you, stick with Herbal Armor).


FAQs

Is Tick Repellent Clothing Safe?

Most tick repellent clothing is treated with permethrin, a snythetic form of a compound found in chrysanthemum flowers. In addition to repelling other insects like mosquitoes that can carry Zika, permethrin interferes with tick’s ability to move and bite, and often causes them to drop off completely.
 
But is it safe for humans? The EPA says that permethrin is not well absorbed through the skin, and, particularly with the low concentrations found in tick repellent clothing, it does not pose a health hazard. Given the known dangers of tick bites and mosquito-borne Zika, we feel that the benefits of permethrin far outweigh any dangers at this point.


Does permethrin treated clothing smell like bug spray?

Nope! Tick repellent clothing smells like any other fabric, you won’t notice an odor.

How long does the permethrin stay in treated clothing?

This varies by manufacturer, but generally around 50-70 washes. Compare this to about 6 washes if you’re spraying your clothing yourself, and it’s easy to see the rationale for permethrin treated fabrics.

Why buy permethrin treated clothing? Can’t I just spray my own clothing?

Tick repellent clothing is generally better infused with the insect repellent than you’re likely to achieve from simply spraying. However, if you don’t mind re-applying  according to the directions on your bottle of tick repellent spray, this is definitely something you can do! You’ll get more thorough coverage (and avoid getting the spray in your mouth or eyes) if you lay out your clothing and spray it before getting dressed.

What are natural, chemical free ways to keep ticks away?

If you’re not comfortable using permethrin treated clothing, there are some natural options to prevent tick bites.

The number one most effective method is physical coverage of your skin. This means long sleeves, pants, socks, shoes and even a hat. The upside of all this coverage is that you’re protected from other bug bites, poison ivy, and more when out in nature. Of course, the downside can be having to wear so much clothing in the summer heat. Natural, breathable fabrics like linen are your best bet, and Eddie Bauer’s Cresta technical fabric is lightweight and comfortable summer wear.

We’ve also listed a couple of natural tick repellent sprays above that are worth giving a try.

No matter what tick repellent method you use, always do a quick physical check for ticks at the end of the day. Generally, a tick must be attached for at least 24 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease. So you do have a short window of time where you’re likely not in danger, but quick removal of any ticks is imperative.

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Holly
Freelancer, digital nomad and passionate traveler who's dedicated to sharing my experiences and expertise to help you travel better.