Which do you prefer: kissing bug, assassin bug or vampire bug? All three actually refer to the same bug; the triatomine which tends to bite humans on the face and lips while they are sleeping! As if the motionless daddy long legs in the corner of the tent was not enough to give you the heeby jeebies, now there’s one more pest that comes up close to give you sleepless nights.
You’ve probably heard about the kissing bug in the news lately as the CDC reported of a case where a young girl was bitten on her face in Delaware. Even though the bug has been around in the southern US, this is the first time it has been identified in “the first state.”
But not to worry, while others may lay awake in the dark and jump at the rustling of leaves, you can be enjoying peaceful sleep in the protective cocoon of your SansBug. In fact, one scout says he prefers the open A-frame canvas tents (even though they are notorious for spiders and mosquitoes) over bringing his own sleep-on-the-ground backpacking tent. So make sure your camping gear also includes the SansBug… one mom said that when she dropped off her daughter at camp, she was surprised by how many kids had “these exact same things” – it was almost like the SansBug was standard camp issue!
Dr. Hanna Ekstrom is in the business of saving smiles in remote parts of the world, one child at a time. Her team currently serves 9000+ children. They have worked extensively among the Miskito Indians (no, not related to the word mosquito) in northeast Nicaragua. Many of the towns in this area are only accessible by river.
When we asked how the SansBug was working out, this is what we got:
We LOVE LOVE LOVE the nets.
I purchased several of these mosquito nets for my team of dental health promoters. We use them for our NGO when we are on emergency brigades along the Rio Coco, where the mosquitoes are heavy and dengue and malaria are rampant. Since getting these nets, we have not had a single case of mosquito-borne disease!
They are tall enough to sit up in and wide enough to spread out your things comfortably to sleep. I sometimes hang a tiny camping lamp from the “roof” so I can read safely at night, with no bugs sneaking in at the corners of a loose mosquito tent. I recommend these highly if you are camping where there are any annoying bugs.
The convenience vs. portability trade-off. No net can come close to the convenience of the SansBug. There’s no need to hunt for a spot to suspend it like a regular mosquito net or join poles to erect one. Imagine doing that every night and taking it down again the next morning, if you were moving from place to place, or if you have space limitations.
However, when it comes to transporting it, we admit that many users balk at the size. Here’s an email from a Canadian family who has traveled with the SansBugs around the world for the past 3 years:
I just ordered two more single SansBug nets for my kids. We have been doing humanitarian work and living off and on in Nicaragua for the last 3 years. These nets are AMAZING. We have all 3 sizes, and use them all! My wife and I use the 3 person, and my kids each use one of the other ones. They have lasted good for 3 years of pretty heavy use – and we are still using them! They are just starting to show signs of wear; most are kid made holes (the kids were 5 years and 2 years old when they started using them).
It has protected us from an army of flying ants, tons of mosquitoes, a bat, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and maybe snakes, but I haven’t seen any snakes around me while using them. Something I don’t care to test! We have used them here in Canada, Taiwan and other places as well, but mostly in Nicaragua.
For the single person net, the description states it WILL NOT fit in your luggage. However, the 4-folded 1-person net can fit in a duffel bag (or large suitcase). When we 4-fold them we make sure to follow the instructions and videos VERY carefully. We have 4-folded our nets many many times and never had a problem.
Tip for fliers: we travel with all 3 sizes, and we just stick them all into the big SansBug bag, so all 3 are together (we often 4-fold them when flying), and often put a life jacket or something else in there as there is usually room; it counts as a luggage but at least you can fit a few of the nets together and not get charged for each one. Also, they can get hot and stuffy because they stop a lot of the gentle breezes – all nets do (it’s either that or the bugs), so we either put a fan up against them outside, or feed the wire inside and just have the fan inside. Works good.
Tip for campers: You can put a tarp over the net and under (just like a normal tent) and make it into a tent very easily, we use them for outside as well, even in the rain.
It is usually this time of the year when we have to deal with biting cold temps and shoveling heavy wet snow when we have nostalgic memories of the past summer.
Here is an email from Ryan who was very impressed with the pop-up screen shelter:
My name is Ryan Dotson and I am a survival expert. I have studied survival since I was seven years old and am currently considered an expert guide in the field. My son and I have a tradition of night fishing every summer. When it gets hot in June and July, the best time to fish for bass and catfish is at night. However, every summer we have a dilemma. We can either sleep under the stars and fight the mosquitoes, or we can sleep in a tent and lose the cool breeze that makes it bearable.
This year we decided to try out the SansBug setup to eliminate our problem. I honestly had my doubts about the product. I have tried products like this in the past and have not been impressed. We had the pop-up screen shelter set up before dark and went about our process. We typically cast and reel for bass until dark. Then we switch to fishing for catfish by leaving the baited line in the water while we sleep for a couple hours. I set an alarm on my phone to wake me up every two hours to check the line. Then at dawn we move back to fishing for bass.
As the sun set on our shoulders, we reeled in a couple good sized bass. The mosquitoes were beginning to bite, but this was not uncommon. My father is an entomologist, so I can never help but have the thought of West Nile and Zika Virus in the back of my mind. As darkness set in, we retired to our SansBug enclosure. Once zipped in, I noticed that we could hear the mosquitoes buzzing but that we were no longer getting bitten. This was a huge relief. The open mesh allowed the breeze to flow in off of the water cooling our faces.
My biggest concern was the size of the enclosure. I am 6’1”, and most tents made for one person are a tight fit. Thankfully the SansBug was very comfortable. We drifted to sleep with the sounds of the bullfrogs and the crickets, hoping that our lines would be heavy when we woke. Two hours later I received my second pleasant surprise. Typically, I wake groggy and have a hard time getting through the small door of the tent we use. The SansBug screen shelter has a door that consists of one entire side of the enclosure. It was plenty big for me to comfortably exit despite my size and wobbly nature.
We continued to check our lines all night, and woke with the breaking sun warming our faces. After a few more casts for bass, we packed up and headed home. The solid fabric base of the enclosure had kept us from getting soaked with dew in the tall grass. I noticed that the only mosquito bites I had were from the evening before we zipped up for the night. It was a pleasant evening and a glorious morning. Reflecting on the night, I was thankful for having the SansBug pop-up screen shelter with me and cannot wait to use it again the next time we plan a night fishing trip.
Every year, we get an email or two saying that when they pulled out their SansBug for summer camp, they found that the poles were splintered… and it was fine the previous year. Folding the SansBug is not intuitive. The paper instruction manual is only supplementary. The demo video on YouTube is crucial without which you will likely want to cut the net into pieces and burn it. But some camps have an “unplugged” policy and don’t allow cellular or WiFi capable devices.
Therefore it is extremely important to practice at home SEVERAL times before going to camp. As seen from the reviews, many 12-year olds have mastered the folding so it’s not rocket science. Unfortunately getting everyone (especially adults!) to watch a demo video is impossible so many rely on their memory and end up breaking the poles without even realizing it.
You can get the hang of it for one summer and you’ll think you got it down but you DO need to watch the video AGAIN the following year BEFORE going to camp. You can forget a lot in 11 months and folding the SansBug is not easy to remember!
Nick from OR is going to be using his SansBug for his fishing and camping trips. He looks forward to staying shielded in the SansBug as he waits for a bite (from a fish!) and he’s happy he doesn’t have to slather insect repellant all over himself. He had this to say about the folding:
Let me tell you . . . I can usually figure things out as I go without looking at instruction manuals, but not this time. After spending about 5 minutes trying every combination of twisting and folding the poles, I gave in and pulled out my phone to look up the video.
As soon as I watched the folding demonstration in the video, it all made sense. In a few quick maneuvers, the tent folded nicely into its disc shape.
Moral of the story?
Learn from my mistakes and watch the video BEFORE attempting to fold the tent like the instructions say and save yourself the frustration.
I’ve since figured out how to fold the SansBug quickly; it takes me about 20 seconds to get it from on the ground to in the bag!
Now available in the Land Down Under. It IS available, dinky di, we wouldn’t lie, mate. True blue. And with FREE shipping! Bring on the mozzies!
I purchased a SansBug several months ago & LOVE it, I can sleep all night, sans mozzie bites, whereever I roam, which is awesome as I have an allergic reaction to them & they swell and itch so bad I can not get back to sleep for an hour or more and that ONLY after I have gotten up and chased/hunted them down and killed them, otherwise they keep feasting on me all night long and I get NO sleep, so thank you!
The crazy stubborn winter is finally behind us and as we look forward to summer, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding us to be careful and prevent bites. The number of reported cases of disease from mosquito, tick and flea bites have tripled in the US over the last 13 years. This summer, it’s probably a good idea to root for your team from the secure confines of your SansBug.