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Bedbug Protection

Discussion in 'What equipment should you use and take' started by Covey, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    On my trip up the Camino Portuguese and to Finesterre I carried a UK single size fitted sheet and pillowcase which had been treated with a 0.5% solution of Permethrin called SkitoStop.

    The fitted sheet "fitted" all the Albergue mattresses I came across as well as mattresses in various hostels and hotels.

    The advantage of the fitted sheet concept is that it protects the whole of the top of the mattress surface and also the sides and avoids the problems of your arms being outside the sleeping bag and coming in to contact with unprotected areas of the mattress.

    The Permethrin also keeps the mozzies away!!

    I placed the sheet and pillowcase in a plastic bag, emptied in 500ml of SkitoStop and allowed to soak for 24 hours, and then hung the sheet out to dry.

    According to the instructions for SkitoStop, the treatment will remain effective for at least 6 washes!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  2. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    I have been considering the fitted sheet route soaked with Permethrin and wonder if you would supply the actual size of your fitted sheet and mention how well it fit those mattresses in the albergues. I discovered there is a plethora of sizes out there for sheets to cover a plethora of mattress sizes and while I have a vague recollection of the mattresses on the Camino being similar to military ones, for the life of me I cannot remember the size.

    I purchased the sawyer product and will use the soak method. I have not used it yet but was going to apply it to just my sleeping bag and backpack only but I keep getting horrible thoughts of bringing a mating pair of those little critters home with me, hitching a ride hidden in some of my gear. Since I live in the sub-tropics, I suspect they will propagate quickly and I have no desire to deal with that problem in my home. So, while hating to carry the extra weight of the fitted sheet, I am considering it carefully. Your help would be appreciated.
     
  3. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    The subject of bed sizes is confusing at the best of times, but the UK Single Mattress size is normally 36" x 75" (91 x 191cm) whereas the usual US Single (aka Twin Single) is 39" x 80". The usual quoted European single size is 35" x 75", but the 1" difference in width is neither here or there in actual use.

    Given that the "sides" are usually elasticated in a fitted sheet, I think the US Single Fitted Sheet will work OK. On my travels through Portugal and Spain my UK Single worked fine on all the mattresses I found in albergues, hostels and hotels.

    The Permethrin not only keeps the bedbugs at bay, but also deters the Mozzies!!
     
  4. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    Thanks for the reply. Here is what confused me so about sizes: http:

    //www.cozytownlinens.com/400tc-cotton-fitted-sheet-p-553.html

    Out of the first 8 or 9 likely choices, the twin at 39" x75" is the most widely available-for "bunk" or "twin" beds. So, if I go that route, and I lean heavily towards it, mine will just be slightly wider than your UK version and so the elasticized bottom should account for the difference.

    I am not much concerned about mosquitoes because I just don't recall ever seeing one in Spain. Perhaps, as a Floridian I have become somewhat accustom to them unless they are concentrated in the huge swarms as we have in our saltwater marshes
     
  5. Pouveer

    Pouveer New Member

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    You may nevertheless get some bedbugs. They often lay their eggs behind the jacket hooks. If you are bitten by them, the best thing is to wash all your stuff at 60°C and to put it in the tumblydryer (also 60°C). We got them twice last year. If you steer clear of the very cheap hostels and go for the slightly more expensive ones (about €10 per night), you are less likely to have problems.
     
  6. Sonadora

    Sonadora New Member

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    There were indeed a few bedbugs on the camino last month. I have worked in some very high end NYC hotels, and I can tell you that you are as likely to get them there, as in a 5 Euro alburgue that tries diligently to prevent them. They are everywhere that luggage goes. It takes 36 to 48 hours for the bites to become swollen and itchy, so it's not always possible to tell which location has them. I was bitten somewhere in or after Sarria. Permethrin is a very toxic substance and can give you a wicked rash--if you are sensitive use caution. Do not use the pillows provided. A hot wash and dry of your clothes is helpful, but the sleeping bag and pack itself can carry them. When you get home, put your pack, sleeping bag, and all clothes in the freezer, if you have a large one, or in your refrigerator set on the coldest setting overnight. If it's summer, leave your gear in the boot of your car and park in the hot sun for a day or two--the same if it's below freezing. Extremes of heat and cold kill the bugs better than chemicals. Whatever you do, don't bring your post-camino gear into your home until it's been given the hot or cold treatment. It is hell to get rid of bed bugs once they've moved in.
     
    Stephanie morris likes this.
  7. Colacube

    Colacube New Member

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    I think the treated fitted sheet sounds a brilliant idea and plan to use one on the camino in september. Could someone help me out with a couple of questions:

    - has anyone used this product ? any good ? Bed Bug Guard
    - has anyone used a home treated pillow case ?
    - how do I treat my pack and sleeping bag. (Thanks Covey for how to treat a fitted sheet).

    Cheers
    Colacube
     
  8. moostewart

    moostewart New Member

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    Hi Covey....
    Would you recommend spraying my rucksack too?
    Thanks in advance,
     
  9. lhlyda

    lhlyda New Member

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    I've never used Permethrin before, so I don't know my sensitivity to it is. I plan on using it, but I think it may be wise for me to treat something with it and use it now to determine if I have a sensitivity to it. I don't won't to have a serious reaction to Permethrin on the Camino. It may be worse than the bedbug bites, ( Not sure of my sensitivity to those bites either).

    Kind of like not breaking shoes in on the Camino.
     
  10. Waterweed

    Waterweed Member

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    I am testing things out also - duct tape, since I have reactions to adhesives, but the duct tape I bought did fine. I am going to do a test the permethrin on a pillow case to see if I have any allergic reaction or asthma flare up. However, I might not have a reaction this time then some other time I might be sensitive. Speaking of allergies, I need to check with the doc to get information from him. I know he will say my Epipen is my friend. Geez, another thing to pack.

    I digress; Snake, that analogy to breaking in shoes on the Camino definitely drives it home. Plus, you have alerted others who may have not thought about checking out their sensitivity - good job.
    Waterweed
     
  11. lhlyda

    lhlyda New Member

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    Well, Waterweed, I have ran ultramarathons with new equipment, i.e. shoes, shorts, shirts etc. Those types of situations are not the time to test drive stuff.

    I know we all dont want to get bitten or hitchhike BB with us, but the bites may be minor compared to the consequences of an alergic reaction, or just a sensitivity issue.

    Thus sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

    I bet pilgrims of old, never treated their gear!

    I'm down to 39 days until I leave, I'm ready to go now, I'm getting tired of my second guessing and fine tuning my bag weight and list. I'm sure if I left now or wait til Sept, there will be something I wish I had taken and things I wish I had left behind.

    I'm making this harder than it should be. lol
     
  12. moostewart

    moostewart New Member

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    Wise Words.....Thanks Snake :)

    "something" has been stopping me from spraying my sleeping bag but I'm thinking of treating a fitted sheet as suggested earlier, incase I have arms and legs sticking out. So I'm looking into silk sheets....lol well a cheap silk XL liner made into a fitted sheet purely because of the weight.
     
  13. Waterweed

    Waterweed Member

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    I can feel the push and pull of time until I leave and I hope I am making the right choices for the weather as well as weight. You say you are making this harder than it should be - I think it is excitement as well as human.
    Waterweed/Elandra
     
  14. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Covey, your advice on so many topics, so generously given, has been extremely helpful. I, like so many, have worried about biting insects in the refuges. I thought the idea of the fitted sheet was brilliant. A web search brought up Pyramid Bed Bug Guard Sheet and Pillow Case treated with Delthamethrin from Purple Turtle (single size £11.95). Size is 2mx1m. Weight in a neat showerproof stuff bag 200g. They don't recommend prolonged skin contact with the treated fabric so I will be using the pillow case to keep my day clothes safe in it overnight while using a small travel pillow in my sleeping bag.

    It was only by reading the numerous postings on this forum that the penny dropped with me and I realised that 'sleeping bag' did not mean a cotton liner but a fully fledged sleeping bag. Others might like to know of the
    Snugpak Travelpak Traveller Mosquito Hating Version which cost me £41 from Amazon. It is treated to prevent microbial contamination, has a mesh screen which can be zipped over the opening if required (I think I would prefer to leave it open and take my chance with flying insects), comes in a very neat compression bag and weighs 880g. It should be very comfortable in summer/autumn temperatures.

    I also got from Purple Turtle the Skitostop Insect control which you used and will treat my rucksack, inside and out.

    I thought this information might be of help to others. Thank you again for your advice. You and the other old hands are truly generous.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012
  15. Waterweed

    Waterweed Member

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    Thanks for the information Hobbler on the Pyramid Bed Bug Guard Sheet and Pillow Case treated with Delthamethrin from Purple Turtle (single size £11.95).
    Waterweed
     
  16. a la carte spirit

    a la carte spirit New Member

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    I'm so grateful for all the specific advice! If there is another American reading this thread, have you found equivalents to the Pyramid Bed Bug Guard Sheet? I just Googled it and seems to ship from the UK (shipping would be just as much as the item itself!). I'm trying to decide how to prepare for bed bugs -- will spraying my sleeping bag, sheet and pack with Permethrin be sufficient for an October start?
     
  17. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Having done a number of Camino trips, I have refined the anti bed bug system. I started off with a silk sleeping bag liner which had been pre treated with Permethrin, but the problem was your arms if outside the sleeping bag came in to contact with the mattress and that was where the bed bugs roamed. It can get quite warm in an albergue room at night with all the sleeping bodies, even in October.

    The "fitted sheet" idea was not really mine, but I saw a French lady one night put a fitted sheet on the bed and I suddenly thought that if it was treated with Permethrin, then that might be an ideal solution. The next year I bought a very cheap fitted sheet in my local supermarket and a pillow case and washed them a few times to remove the dressing stiffenerer they use to make the material feel stronger and smooth, and then put the sheet and pillow case in a plastic bag, emptied in 500ml of 1% Permethrin solution, let it soak for 24 hours and then dried them on a line.

    Permethrin is used by the US and UK Military on tropical uniforms to protect the wearers against bugs, and is in a very low dose state so you should survive!! When I left Santiago, I dumped the sheet and pillow case in the bin!.

    Permethrin or its equivalent can usually be bought in camping shops or places that sell veterinary products for horses etc. Your regular pharmacy will probably not sell it. I always spray my pack before setting off AND my fleece which I often wear in the evenings.

    Buen Camino!
     
  18. a la carte spirit

    a la carte spirit New Member

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    Great idea! I will find a cheap fitted sheet. I've started packing and, without a sheet/pillow case, my pack will likely exceed 10% of my weight. Which means maybe I get to eat some more before I go?! ;-)
     
  19. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Don't worry too much about the weight of the pack. We all start off with the thing stuffed full of kit we think the Camino will be impossible to walk without.

    Half way up the hills to Roncesvalles from St Jean you will be wondering why you (and most others!) have so much kit, and by the time you get to Pamplona you will have worked out that half the kit in your pack is not really needed. The most popular place in Pamplona is the Post Office who do a roaring trade in sending parcels home stuffed full of surplus kit from Pilgrims. For the really desperate, there is a room at Roncesvalles where Pilgrims can dump unwanted stuff.

    A very useful item for Da Ladies is a Sarong. Can be used as a dress, skirt, shower curtain, towel, bed sheet etc etc. Male Pilgrims do not usually carry one!!

    On the Camino Frances, you pass through a reasonable sized town every other day and the supermarkets have all the toiletaries and bits and bobs one might need and places such as Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon have shops that sell clothing and footwear for walkers.
     
  20. a la carte spirit

    a la carte spirit New Member

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    Well, I am following the guidelines here carefully, and bringing 2 sets of pants, 2 shirts, 3 underwear, a fleece, rain gear, stuff for foot care, sleeping bag, liner, gaiters, headlamp...some of it is ultralight, but some isn't! And I've ordered a sarong. The treated fitted sheet seems like a good idea. Still, with water, my pack will be more like 15% of my weight. We shall see!
     
  21. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Ditch the gaiters, you will never need them!
     
  22. a la carte spirit

    a la carte spirit New Member

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    A few folks on this forum suggested them...I think I'd rather carry them than get wet and muddy. I understand October can be rainy. We shall see!
     
  23. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    I have walked the Camino Frances twice in October and my rain gear came out once the first time, and never left my pack on the second trip!

    Gaiters are useful if you are walking through gorse and long grass, but on the Camino Frances, you will walk through neither. 20% of the trail is tarmac roads, 50% is graded tracks and the rest is rough track. The track has been pounded flat by the feet of millions of pilgrims over a 1000 years!
     
  24. januarius

    januarius New Member

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    I also used permethrin this year when I did Camino de la Plata. had to go to Buffalo NY to purchase it since it is not allow in Canada..I sprayed my backpack inside and out and also my sleeping bag. I will definitely do the fitted sheet and pillow case shocked in the solution..great news thanks.
     
  25. l.marieS

    l.marieS Member

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    Hi, I'm just a few miles up the road from Denver and would love to meet you and hear your story about your camino when you return. Would you be willing? My Camino is still in the dream stage, but all signs are pointing to May 2013.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  26. B.McKone

    B.McKone New Member

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    So..I have a light sleeping bag,a fitted sheet and pillowcase. I have permethrin 1%. When I soak them do I use the permethrin "straight up" or should it be diluted. If so, what is the ratio? I also plan to spray my pack. And how far before I leave should this be done. Thanks!
     
  27. Say Simba

    Say Simba New Member

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    After a lot of consideration of this matter, this idea sounds great. I, too, wonder, what the best size would be for the fitted sheet. The information on this thread has been great. Thanks to all of you for contributing!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  28. Aibrean82

    Aibrean82 New Member

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    I had never heard of Permethrin, so I just used a silk liner to sleep in, and got bitten by bed bugs only once - and that was the only time I was too tired to get the liner out before falling asleep. The liner I had could be wrapped around the pillow and thus protect my hair against lice as well. Takes very little space and is lightweight. But now that I have read about Permethrin I might consider that for next time.
     
  29. januarius

    januarius New Member

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    it worked for me, so if you are able to get the product it is highly recommended.
     
  30. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    It worked for me, too. I bought a quart of it on Amazon.com, used about half on sleeping bag and backpack, sealing both in a plastic bag for a few days till both were fully soaked then allowed to air out. There is no lingering odor.

    I was in two albergues where others were bitten. But not me. Plus, I wanted it in my backpack because I did not wish to bring any back home with me. It is cheap protection. I bought a sheet that I was going to take but decided against the extra item and extra weight of the sheet. I preferred the liquid treatment better. Next time I am considering treating my walking clothes as well with the stuff. I have seen others with the multiple bites on them. I do not wish to go that route! Luckily, though, it is not so common.....yet!
     
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