GAZELLE POP-UP SCREEN ROOM
I'll start with the biggest investment we made; the Gazelle Pop-Up Screen Room. This tent was an absolute live-saver in several instances where the bugs were unbelievably relentless. While the Mosquitoes could generally be driven off with the Thermacells, the black flies and white-socks could care less about our other methods. Enter the fortress of netting that allowed us to enjoy the outdoors without going insane with swatting bugs.
Setup, as seen in the video below is a breeze. There are multiple hoops along the top for tying it down in wind as well as provisions for staking the whole thing down as well. There are two vertical poles included for shoring up the door entry, though we rarely installed them.
We probably deployed this room 30 to 40 times during the trip and it's still intact without any rips or tears, even when riding along on the exterior of the Turtleback with a couple bungee straps.
We give this tent a 5 star rating both in ease of use, and durability. Size and weight is a bit bulky, but it makes up for it with it's strength.
Total setup is about 1 minute, while pack-down averages about 2.5 to 3 minutes depending on how big a hurry we were in.
Below is the extended scene if you're curious about the way it packs down:
Gazelle Bug Tent: https://amzn.to/2FvAZuM
THERMACELL MR-BPR BACKPACKER
We have a love/hate relationship with these units right out of the box. When they light... (and stay lit); they're awesome. High altitudes, wrong mouth placement, Bermuda triangles and other factors determine whether or not they will actually work.
These only get 3 stars from us, though we have heard there's a newer version out that is supposed to help with the lighting process. We've seen these units vacate a pretty good swath of mosquitoes from the immediate area so we will continue to keep them in the kit.
For what's it's worth, these worked better and better as the trip progressed so maybe they simply needed some use.
Thermacell Backpacker: https://amzn.to/2PKiVBN
THERMACELL REPELLENT MATS
These are the small impregnated mats that sit on top of the metal plate. When you light the unit, it creates a very small flame that slightly warms this pad and releases the active ingredients into the air.
The packaging says these last 4 hours, though we found we could use them a couple evenings in a row if the bugs weren't too bad.
Thermacell Mat Refill: https://amzn.to/2FyiLbM
JET BOIL FUEL TANK (16 OZ)
These are some of the largest tanks that Jet Boil makes, though there are other makers out there. Apparently this brand works best with the unit from some of the reviews I read, so take that into consideration when selecting your fuel source.
How long did these last us? We are still on the same ones we started with! (So, a long long time...)
Jet Boil Gas Canister: https://amzn.to/2KnNHdw
REPEL WITH DEET
MSRP: $20 (2-PACK)
Obviously, this is the first line of defense in any kit. Many, many times would hop out of the rig, listen to the incoming swarms and then one of us would lay down covering fire while the other person set up the Thermacells and/or the screen room.
Yes, there are "natural" and "organic" versions out there that aren't as "bad" for you and skin... But, you'll find that effectiveness is king when you're getting light-headed from the loss of blood trying to take the "healthy" route. Do yourself a favor and carry something with Deet as part of the ingredients... just trust us. (And try not to breath it...)
Repel with Deet: https://amzn.to/2PErNsB
Simple. Lightweight. Inexpensive. Indispensable.
Honestly, these are usually a last resort but we had to use these highly effective nets on a regular basis.
Throw on a hat and slip one of these on to regain a bit of personal space from the swarms.
Head Net: https://amzn.to/2FvWxXR
We hope this list of items helps you prepare for your own adventure into the Arctic (or Louisiana, Tennessee, Montana, etc.). A bad bug experience can make the difference between an enjoyable outing, or a miserable memory. Just a few of these items in your kit can make a big difference! We honestly couldn't have done it without all these products in our bag of tricks.
Let us know if you have any questions or additional suggestions in the comments below!