Of the 900 species of ticks on the planet, a number of them transmit serious diseases. And you’ll find them on every continent in the world. If you’re doing any hiking or other outdoor activities in your travels, it’s a good idea to think about how to protect yourself from ticks, which is why I’ve put together my top picks for best tick repellent clothing.
I had my first (and hopefully last) tick in encounter in the Serengeti. I felt something vaguely biting my thigh while we were putting our tent up, and I looked down to see this giant round blob firmly attached to my leg. After I finished freaking out, I managed to get a wifi signal to Google “how the f*** do I get a tick off me”. It was not pretty. And there was a lot of swearing.
If you want to avoid this horror (which still haunts me to this day), tick repellent clothing is a good solution.
While you can find a myriad of clothing that claims to offer protection, I’ve found some of the best tick-repellent clothing on Amazon. It’s become more common in recent years to find repellent-infused clothing that’s perfect for travel, and if you’re planning to try out the digital nomad lifestyle, insect repellent clothing might be something to think about for your packing list.
Read more: Best Insect Repellent For African Safaris
Top 5 Picks For Tick Repellent Clothing Items
While even the best tick-repellent clothing shouldn’t be your only defense against ticks, they help a lot. Studies have shown that clothing treated with permethrin significantly reduces your chances of getting infected with a tick-borne disease.
All of the clothes for ticks that I’ve included on my list are treated with permethrin. Plus, they’re made of wrinkle-resistant fabrics, making them perfect for travel!
They’re made of a wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking nylon blend. Try them if you prefer a relaxed fit with stretch. The pants come in three colors with snap closure and pockets.
- Comes in both light and dark colors
- They have back and front pockets
- They’re easy to cuff
- Limited size range
- The snap closure can be temperamental
If you’re looking for the best tick-repellent clothing for your outdoor excursions, check this long-sleeve shirt! This 100% polyester shirt is lightweight, breathable, UV-resistant, and permethrin-treated. It’s a practical, unisex shirt and comes in a variety of colors.
- Long-line shape sits below the hips
- Tagless for optimal comfort
- Bold colors are perfect for outdoor wear
- Slim-fit may be too narrow on some body types
- Claims that repellent only works for up to 50 washes
Insect Shield offers the ultimate in tick protection gear with their test and EPA-registered repellent technology. These polyester and cotton blend socks offer stretch and cushions in the sole for comfort. The ankle is cushioned and fitted for maximum protection.
- Minimal seams in the toe for comfort
- High ankle for less skin-exposure
- Permethrin treatment lasts up to 70 washes
- Made for all climates
- Only one color option
You can choose a men’s or women’s version of ExOfficio’s BugsAway Sandfly Jacket. This lightweight, 100% nylon jacket offers protection from the elements as well as ticks. Note the zippered pocket, adjustable hood, and elastic cuffs and hem that add even more protection.
- It comes in 6 different colors
- The nylon material is super durable
- Mesh panels add to the airflow without compromising protection
- The zipper slips down at times
Gaiters offer even protection to the best tick-repellent clothing without compromising comfort. You can wear them on your arms or legs to keep your skin covered. They’re treated with permethrin and come in a variety of lengths (from 4 to 12 inches) and widths. Choose from black or white colorways.
- Made of thick but soft and stretchy material for breathability and protection
- The range of lengths and widths is generous
- Comes in dark and light colors
- Easy to travel with
- Only lasts for 50 washes
- No description of the material used
FAQ for Clothing that Repels Ticks
There are a few common questions concerning clothing that repels ticks. Keep reading so you have all the information when shopping for the best tick-repellent clothing.
Does Tick Repellent Clothing Work?
Studies show that Permethrin treatment stays effective for over three months. Permethrin immobilizes ticks and kills over three-quarters of ticks that come into contact with it. Just keep in mind that you can’t dry-clean permethrin-treated clothing, or you’ll remove the chemical.
What Is the Best Tick-Repellent Clothing?
I’ve been the most impressed by the ExOfficio brand. They have a wide range of permethrin-treated clothing for both men and women. Plus, it’s all geared towards travelers, with light and wrinkle-resistant fabrics.
How Do You Tick-Proof Clothes Yourself?
Sawyer Products makes an excellent and affordable clothing treatment spray you can use yourself. You should know that this doesn’t last as long as professionally treated clothing. Also, if you have cats, permethrin is toxic for them. Keep them away for 72 hours or until everything is dry.
Tips for Buying Tick Repellent Clothing
In my experience, there are a few things you want to pay attention to when shopping for the best tick-repellent clothing. Keep reading as I go into depth on each point.
When it comes to tick-repellent clothing for travel, you want to look for certain manufacturing techniques and innovations. This includes things like UV-protective and wrinkle-resistant fabrics.
Natural cotton fabrics have a fair amount of natural UV blockage. Synthetic fabrics like polyester blends reflect radiation and tend to be more wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking. You can look for clothing marketed as UV-protective. This means they’re treated with special UV-absorbing dyes.
DEET or Permethrin
If you’ve spent lots of time outdoors in grassy or wooded areas where ticks inhabit, you’ve probably used DEET bug spray. This harsh chemical is the most common repellent and has been around for decades. It’s a very harsh chemical on humans and the materials we use.
Permethrin is becoming more common because it’s safer for humans. It’s an insecticide, and you don’t spray it directly onto your skin. There are some promising studies on plant-derived repellents, but nothing on the market yet. Until then, products treated with permethrin are your safest bet.
When looking for the best tick-repellent clothing for travel, fabrics impact comfort. You may want to hike with skin-tight leggings under your pants. If they’re made of breathable, stretchy fabric, you should stay cool and comfortable.
Long-sleeved shirts and looser hiking pants breathe but should be gathered at the cuffs to minimize skin exposure. This is where gaiters and long socks are recommended.
Natural, breathable fabrics are an excellent choice for comfort. Polyester blends are also a great option, and they tend to be moisture-wicking and breathable.
Conclusion – Best Tick Repellent Clothing
I’ve shared with you what I think are the best tick-repellent clothing for travel. You can find shirts, pants, jackets, and accessories treated with permethrin that add value to your outdoor wardrobe. I hope you found something on the list that suits you. Happy travels!