How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking: 8 Ways To Protect Yourself

Going hiking and exploring unknown trails can be fun. Whether or not you go alone or with a group of people that share a passion for hiking. While hiking, there are a few things you should keep an eye on. One thing to look out for is ticks. You might get infected by a transmitted bacterium if bitten by particular ones.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from these pests. This post will discuss the different types of ticks and how to avoid ticks while hiking.

How to Avoid Ticks While Hiking: 8 Simple Methods

1. Wear Protective Clothing

When hiking, take precautions to ensure you don’t get bitten by a tick. One of the best ways to do this is to wear protective clothing. Wear long enough clothing to cover most of your skin, even if you prefer hiking in shorts and at-shirt.

Some examples are:

  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Long pants
  • A hat
  • Hiking boots

Don’t forget to tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.

2. Wear Light-Colored Clothing

When you go hiking, be sure to wear light-colored clothing. The bad news is that some studies showed that lighter-colored clothes attract more ticks than dark clothing. But: Ticks are easier to spot on lighter-colored clothing. Once you spot a tick, you can easily remove it.

3. Wear Permethrin-Treated Clothes

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid used to treat clothing, bedding, luggage – and other items. It’s approved for use in the United States and many other countries.

The active ingredient is Permethrin which is a class III pesticide. This pesticide works well to immobilize ticks upon contact with your clothes. You can buy a Permethrin spray and apply it to your clothes.

4. Spray on an Insect-Repellant Before Hiking

DEET repellents are pesticides used to protect people from mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests. They are sprayed on the skin to prevent bugs from biting you.

Deet repellents are available over the counter in most countries and are used in areas with many trees, bushes, and tall grass.

5. Avoid Tall Grass and Stay on the Trail

When you go hiking, there will be a hiking trail made of concrete, gravel, or at least a firmly trodden path. It’s best to walk on the hiking trail and avoid the grass. The reason: You can find ticks in tall grass, bushy terrain, or low-lying vegetation above all.

6. Avoid Infested Areas

Before going on a hike, you can look up online if that trail area has an infestation of ticks. People with bad experiences with getting bit by ticks will post about it online. Take a look at Facebook groups about your hiking spots, for example.

Keep in mind that there aren’t any hiking trails completely void of ticks. Ticks are a part of nature, and the best way to avoid getting bit by one is to take the appropriate measures. And you’re doing it right: The first step is reading this post!

7. Examine Your Clothes Regularly

While hiking, you’ll be enjoying nature and the environment surrounding you. A great way to avoid ticks is to periodically check to see if any ticks are on you or those hiking with you. Therefore it’s a good idea to wear light-colored clothing as we mentioned before.

Early detection is key to avoiding a tick biting you and possibly transferring diseases to you. During your hike, take a few minutes to check yourself and those with you to ensure you’re safe from these poisonous bugs. Have fun but also be diligent.

8. Hike When It Is a Little Cooler

Another good way to avoid ticks is by going on a hike when the weather is cooler. During the fall and winter seasons, ticks are less widespread. The colder weather doesn’t eliminate the ticks – it just reduces your chances of getting bitten by one because they are less active.

But: You should not let these little crawlers dictate to you when you have to hike.

Bonus: What Are Ticks and Why Are They Harmful?

Do you know what a tick bug is? If not, you’re not alone. Tick bugs are bugs that are closely related to mosquitoes. They typically live in areas with high concentrations of trees and shrubs, such as forests and parks.

Some tick bugs are harmful because they serve as hosts for several parasites, including Lyme disease and encephalitis.

Species of Common Ticks and Their Diseases

In the following list, you will find a list of common species and the diseases they might spread:

  • Black-legged (Deer) tick (Lyme disease)
  • Gulf Coast tick (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever)
  • American Dog tick (Rocky Mountain spotted Fever and tularemia)
  • Lone Star tick (Ehrlichiosis, Heartland virus, Tularemia, Alpha-gal, and STARI)
  • Brown Dog tick (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever)
  • Western Black-legged tick (Lyme Disease)
  • Rocky Mountain Wood tick (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever)

Not All Ticks Are Harmful!

Although some ticks carry these harmful diseases, some don’t. Ticks are infected with the bacteria only when they feed on infected animals – such as birds, deer, and rodents.

Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to avoid parasites like ticks. Better safe than sorry.

Conclusion: How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking

In summary, going hiking is a phenomenal experience. If you’re passionate about exploring nature – you’ll have a great time.

During your hike, you should avoid ticks at all costs. These blood-sucking bugs can transfer bacteria that make you sick or kill you if not treated right away.

Use the tips mentioned in this post to avoid them, and you will have a great hiking experience.

Further reading: How to keep ticks off dogs while hiking

Last Update: 23. June 2022
About the Author

My name is Thomas, and I love the outdoors. I'm currently living in Germany and I would like to encourage my readers to go outside with this blog. Here you can read more about me.