Mosquito Nets for Beds – Everything You Need to Know
If you’re traveling around a region where mosquitoes (and malaria) are a problem (such as Asia, Africa, etc.) and you don’t want to be eaten alive while you sleep, it’s a good idea to invest in a portable mosquito net for protection.
But which mosquito net is right for you? There are several different types out there – each with their own list of features.
On this page we’ll take a look at the different kinds of travel mosquito nets out there, as well as describing the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Features of Mosquito Nets
There are a few things that you need to consider before buying a mosquito net. These are the size of the mesh, how much space you need inside (i.e. net volume), different fabrics and protective treatments.
Mosquito Net Fabrics
The fabric of most mosquito nets for beds is usually made from nylon (polymide), polyester or cotton.
Nylon and polyester are the fabrics most commonly used with mosquito nets, due to the fact they’re tough, lightweight and aren’t greatly affected by humid weather (as is common in many countries where mosquitoes are found).
Cotton is the used the least, as it’s susceptible to mould and isn’t as strong as the other mosquito netting fabrics. On the up side, its thick nature makes it great at keeping insects out.
In addition to these three fabrics, monofilament threads (a kind of material) has recently been used by some manufacturers to make mosquito nets.
These cheap mosquito nets (although inexpensive to manufacture and buy) have a lot of downsides – such as the fact that they tear easily (rendering them useless) and don’t work well with Permethrin treatment (meaning they quickly lose their insect-repelling qualities).
Mosquito Net Mesh Size
One thing that most people never consider when buying a mosquito net is the size of the holes in the fabric. Smaller holes will keep out more insects, but will result in a warmer temperature inside the net (which can be uncomfortable in warmer climates).
You want to strike a balance between breathability (where air can flow in an out – thus keeping you cool) and protection from insects (which is the whole point of the net in the first place).
Volume (i.e. Space Inside the Mosquito Net)
Each type of mosquito net is designed in a specific way. Nets that have more space (volume) inside give you more room to move around and provide a cooler inside temperature (as there is more room for air flow).
The downside to having a big net, however, is that it’s heavier (although this is usually negligible, since mosquito nets are typically made from lightweight fabrics).
So why not just get a portable mosquito net that gives you loads of space inside? Well, larger nets are often more difficult to put up and take down, and they’re more expensive than smaller ones.
It is possible to buy mosquito nets that have been treated with Permethrin – a natural insecticide that repels mosquitoes (and other insects) away from the net.
This is great because it means that even an incorrectly set up (or damaged) mosquito net will still reduce the chances of you getting bitten, and it’ll stop insects from trying to bite through the net (as can often happen with untreated nets).
One thing to note with Permethrin (and similar) treatments is that they only last for around 6 months. You can, however, buy a kit that allows you to re-treat you mosquito net after this time.
Types of Mosquito Net
These nets give you lots of space inside (the most of any kind of mosquito net) making them cool and comfortable, but can be difficult to constantly put up and take down, hence why they’re best suited to permanent installations (e.g. in hotels).
The sheer size of the net also makes it one of the heaviest of the lot, so it’s not usually recommended for backpackers.
Self Supporting Mosquito Nets
Self supporting mosquito nets (also known as free standing mosquito nets or pop up mosquito nets) come with a wire frame that holds up the net on its own – requiring no additional support (much like a tent).
Note that some self supporting mosquito nets come with a fabric base that is attached to the main net.
This allows you to be completely covered from all sides once you’re in the net.
The advantage of free standing mosquito nets is that they can quickly and easily be set up and put away. In addition to this, they’re highly versatile and can be used almost anywhere (as they’re not restricted by having to be attached to a wall or ceiling). The sewn-in base that many of these mosquito nets have also means that they work well outside, as they’ll protect you from snakes and spiders and all kinds of things that crawl along the ground.
The downside of using a self supporting mosquito net is that they can be pretty expensive compared to most other kinds of mosquito net, and because they require a large frame to hold them up, they can be quite heavy and take up a lot of room in your backpack.
Lastly, there isn’t usually a lot of room inside to move around, meaning they can get pretty hot and sweaty.
The advantage of using bell mosquito nets is that they’re fairly easy to put up as they’re held up from one single point.
This gives the net a large volume, giving you plenty of space inside and plenty of room for air circulation.
Providing you have somewhere to hang them, they’re extremely versatile and can be used almost anywhere.
The disadvantage of bell mosquito nets is that their large net and bulky frame makes them heavy and cumbersome to carry around.
They attach to the wall high up by your head and then drape down diagonally to your feet – creating a triangular shape.
The advantages of these portable mosquito nets are that they’re easy to set up and take down and they’re one of the cheapest types of mosquito nets around.
In addition to this, because of their small size and their design they can be used effectively in relatively small spaces (such as inside a tent). This also means they’re relatively light in weight and won’t take up much space in your backpack.
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