Tick Defense for Hikers

What do you do for tick defense?

As we approach warmer weather, that means we’ll get back into tick season.

Ticks will be out, and we’ll see them crawling on us more often as the trail gets overgrown.

In this article, I’ll tell you about tick defense and what you can do to prevent them from getting attached to you.


Tick Defense Before Hiking

You can also promote tick defense by using permethrin on your clothing and gear. Use it on clothing that isn’t synthetic. So, no spandex and polyester as the chemical could eat up those fibers. But cotton and general hiking clothing can be dipped or sprayed with permethrin.

Spray your gear, hiking clothes, and boots. Do not spray your skin with permethrin, or it can hurt you. Don’t get it on kids or pets. Spray 24 hours before use. It’s so strong that it will stay on your clothes after a couple of wash cycles. But it should be one of the best tick defense tactics you’ll ever have to take.

For skin, we use REPEL brand Tick Defense spray. It’s in a red can or spray bottle. You’ll want to reapply during warmer hikes as you sweat. We wear shorts in the summer, so we drench our legs and arms in the spray.

Alternatively, you could use lemon grass if you don’t like chemicals, but it isn’t as effective, so you know. I’ve heard Skin So Soft by Avon also helps with tick defense. I’ve never used it myself.

Tick Defense

Tick Defense After Hiking

It’s important to check yourself for ticks after every hike. Look through your hair, arms and legs, bends of the arms and legs, sensitive areas, and even your beard, guys. I’ve pulled ticks out of my beard!

Make sure you’re careful when you pull them out, ensuring you get the head out. Wash your hands off right after, or use hand sanitizer.

We also bring a small cooler with ice packs for cold drinking water. We put two rags with soapy water (Dawn dish soap) in a Ziploc bag. We will wash our legs, arms, necks, and faces off after a hike. The cool water feels good, and the Dawn soap is strong enough to cut the oils from poison ivy off your skin. It also helps to get more minor seed ticks off you.

Then we rub out legs and arms down with 99% rubbing alcohol. That gets any remaining nymph ticks off your body. The days I don’t do this area when I’ve been covered in seed tick bites the next day.

Of course, take a shower when you get home and recheck yourself better for ticks.


Tick Defense is vital. Ticks can spread some very hazardous diseases. Some of them can even make you allergic to meat and dairy. I hope this article helps you defend yourself from ticks this year. Don’t let ticks ruin your hiking fun during nicer weather. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others. Subscribe to my free monthly newsletter for more hiking tips like these.

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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

Founder, Hiking with Shawn

Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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