Bugs are a fact of life in Algonquin Park from mid May through early August (and sometimes later!). They’re at their absolute worst by late May/early June, which is a shame because that’s an otherwise awesome time for tripping in the Park. I’ve had spring trips wrecked by bugs (read: my poor preparation for the bugs) in the past, but like Link making his way through Hyrule, I’ve slowly been adding all the equipment I need to defeat Algonquin’s cruel bug overlords.
The most recent addition to my bug kit was the Eureka NoBugZone CT 11 bug tent. I picked this up specifically for my 2022 May long weekend trip. It turns out that people aren’t the only ones who use the Victoria Day weekend to kick off their Algonquin adventures for the year. It’s not an exact science, but it sure seems like any trip that goes into the long weekend will start off bug free and over the course of the next few days start providing you with all the free bugs you could ask for. The NoBugZone was the final piece of the bug gear puzzle I’d been assembling over the past few years for just this time of year, and it was awesome.
The NoBugZone combines mesh walls with a water resistant fly, a nice improvement over my OnSite Big Box Mosquito Shelter which is just a big mesh box and doesn’t provide any protection from the rain (but is great against bugs). Having the combined fly and mosquito shelter meant I got to leave my usual tarp at home, which was a definite positive as the NoBugZone does take up a bit of space in your pack, so any regular gear you can drop is appreciated. That’s not to say that the NoBugZone is heavy, at just under five pounds it’s worth the weight, but it is bulky. It took up a decent chunk of my pack, and might have made my usual game of trying to fit 120L of gear into a 90L bag that much harder if I’d been solo.
The setup of the NoBugZone is pretty simple. You can get it with poles or without. If you get it without poles, as I did to save weight, you’re going to be using guylines to string it between trees. This is relatively easy to do. At least, it should be relatively easy to do. Somehow my first and second attempts at setting the thing up ended up looking like someone had let the air out of the tent. I didn’t stake out the sides properly and as a result our (actually very spacious when done well) cube of sanity felt pretty cramped. We figured it out by night three, and thereafter had a great spot to escape the bugs when necessary. One thing that was key for us was using our own rope to create a ridge line that helped hold the tent up. You can still get a good set up with just the provided guylines, but a bit of extra rope went a long way for us.
My only real complaint about the NoBugZone is that I was constantly tripping on the mesh as I was entering and exiting the tent. The tent is tall, over 6 feet, but the entry/exit opening doesn’t go all the way down to the ground. So you need to step over this little lip of mesh to get in and out and more often than not this led to me performing some impromptu acrobatics as my foot snagged and I tried to keep my balance. Other than that, it was great. This was an awesome addition to my spring tripping kit. It was roomy, easy to set up and it worked as advertised. Once we had it up and properly staked out, the bugs stayed on one side of the mesh and we stayed on the other. Can’t really ask for much more from a product called the NoBugZone.
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