Tick Defense: Permethrin and Lymeez TickWear

May 1, 2017
Photo: Courtesy of Lymeez GaitersLymeez gaiters provide both a physical and permethrin-infused defense against climbing ticks.

They’re baaaaaack… Deer ticks. Scourge of the Northeast. Micro-demons of disease. All-around nasty bloodsuckers. I hate them. So I’m always on the watch for a tick defense that can stop them before they sink their gnarly little mouth bits into my flesh.

Now I’ve written extensively about the risks of tick bites (see What It’s Like to Get Lyme Disease. Twice.), the many different techniques and items of gear that can help keep the crawlies at bay (see below for a full round-up), and the proper way to remove a tick should one successfully bite you.

And in all this coverage and research, one thing has become clear—permethrin-treated clothing is widely considered one of the best defenses out there, especially when it’s applied to your footwear, socks, and pants. This is especially true in late spring and early summer, when deer tick nymphs are at their peak. Unlike adult ticks—which climb up grass and brush to hitch a ride on a potential host—tiny, poppy seed-sized nymphs lurk on the ground, especially in moist leaf litter, and almost always latch on to passing hosts near the feet.

That’s why I’m intrigued by Lymeez Tick Gaiters. Wrap these specialized permethrin-treated garments around your lower legs and you’ve created not only a chemical defense against climbing ticks, you’ve also added a structural defense as well.  The gaiters feature a ‘3-D mesh design’ that—per the company’s testing—significantly slows down ticks as they explore the many tiny cavities created by the mesh. This in turn results in longer exposure time to the permethrin in the gaiters and makes it even more likely that the chemical will kill them dead before they reach your succulent flesh higher up.

Lymeez Tick Gaiters are available in a treated full-length version ($30) and a shorter 8-inch version ($20). The permethrin is contained in millions of microcapsules that are activated through the moderate friction caused by normal walking and activity, which helps ensure a steady release of permethrin while the gaiters are in use. It also means that the gaiters can be washed multiple times without reducing their effectiveness.

While Lymeez gaiters might not be the most stylish garment out there, I can assure you that losing style points on the trail is far better than suffering the effects of a tick-borne disease. Hike on!


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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.