Does the Travel Tent prevent bed bugs from biting while you sleep?

by nobugsonme on July 30, 2007 · 4 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs and travel, tools and weapons

Note: this article is originally dated July 2007. Please see the update below for links to user reports about this product and concerns about its effectiveness and the potential effects of bed isolation.

Can you act as “bait” and not get bitten by bed bugs?

Travel Tent I from Long Road

Lou Sorkin said the holes (800 per square inch according to my inquiry) were indeed small enough to keep out bed bugs. You’d have to make sure you did not bring them into the tent on your body or clothing, and you’d need to ensure you did not lean on the mesh sides, since they can possibly bite through the mesh if you are leaning on it. But the solid sides do creep up to allow a certain amount of leaning.

I do not think this is a viable long-term solution; treating bed bugs and getting rid of them is necessary for all. Desperate bed bugs might linger at the opening, or bite you when you sit elsewhere during the day. But it’s not a bad concept, and could possibly be helpful in the short-term, as home treatment progresses. It might give peace of mind to travelers who must use a lot of hotels, or for home use.

I have written to them to ask for a sample we could review. Anybody tried this tent? (Note: we can tell genuine comments from those planted by manufacturers masquerading as users.)

Update (December, 2010): Some concerns

To my knowledge, two people have so far reported using this product.

Dolma, in the comments below, found bed bugs harboring inside it.

More recently, in the forums, rangichangi writes of using the Travel Tent,

It is the only way I can sleep knowing that there are bbs in the room – I know that unless they hitched a ride on my sleeping clothes or sheets(which has happened) they cannot get to me. If they do come inside the tent they are easy to spot and kill.

Although we cited Lou’s comments on the fabric pore-size reported by the manufacturer, this alone is not enough to know without a doubt that the Travel Tent design keeps bed bugs out if used carefully. It’s possible there may be gaps in the structure which allow them in.

Moreover, it may be impossible to climb into any kind of structure “carefully” enough to prevent tracking bed bugs in 100% of the time.

I would therefore caution anyone against rushing out to buy this product. We don’t know that it works as claimed. We don’t have independent testing data that shows the design keeps bed bugs out — even if the consumer is able to keep bed bugs from being tracked in, which seems like a big “if”, and which may have been the problem in these two cases.

All of that leaves aside concerns about bed isolation causing bed bugs to spread. “Isolating” beds is controversial due to the likelihood that bed bugs will spread in the home (they will, of course, do everything they can to continue to find ways to bite you if you cut off the nighttime feeding). More on that in the bed FAQ.

Click to see Bedbugger Forums threads tagged “Travel Tent”.

last updated 12/10/2010

1 Bugalina July 30, 2007 at 10:59 am

One question I have is, What prevents it from slipping off the bed ? The weight of a person I suppose, but kids move around a lot and I think that this tent is a very good tool for protecting children during an infestation. If a child is prone to flaying around thus causing the tent to fall off the bed then one can put it on top of a folded plastic tarp, that can be taped down to the ( wooden or tile ) floor with good quality double sided carpet tape. Leaving a nice big border of protective plastic and then placing the tent in the middle of the plastic tarp. Then I would put a blow up float inside ( something to pad for a softer sleep ) ….I would have definitely considered this product when my infestation was active, and I find this esp. attractive for protecting children. Maybe even Pets ???

2 willow-the-wisp July 30, 2007 at 12:54 pm

I’m no pet nor child–I ordered it!
190 lbs of fun is what they used to say of me….

I really liked it and I chose the one shown over the # 2 model.

I also bought the double person sized tent although I’m most often sleeping alone.
Spare no expense as and if you can…
We shall see…
I started a thread to post my results on my use of this tent.
I do have a bit of a re-active infestation.
I’ll be nipping it in the bud again and I hope this won’t go on forever.
I’m a bit lax about it all, compared to how I was 6 months ago –an absolute wreck!

Now We’re talking a few bugs …Not the hundreds like I had before.
They could/surely will breed into hundreds in 2-3 months — this I know if nothing is done, so I am not that LAX!
I am just finally less scared of bed bugs.

Mr. Willow

3 Dolma October 1, 2007 at 11:00 am

Hello everyone,

I have been using the travel tent on top of an air
mattress for about 6 weeks. The PCO came about a month
ago(second visit) and said it looked like we had a
light infestation. My roommate and I share the bedroom
and he has not been bitten since the PCO’s last visit
even though he has not been using a tent. Previously
he was getting bitten more than me and was very
sensitive to the bites. I noticed 3 small bites on my
left arm(the same place where the bbs were biting me
before) about 2 weeks ago and figured if bbs could get
into the tent they had to be either in my blanket or
pillowcase – I had bought a new pillow and left it
inside the plastic, with the pillowcase(cleaned)
outside the plastic. I scrupulously examined the seams
of both blanket and pillowcase thoroughly – nada.
Today I noticed at least about 10 big bites on my left
arm plus a few on my right arm and got really worried
– when I came home from work I examined the travel
tent very carefully, noticed some blood smears near
the top and noticed a small colony of bbs inside the
tent near the top seams where they form an ‘X’ – there
really is no other place for them to hide. There were
about 3-4 adults, a number of nymphs and eggs. I took
some sticky tape and picked up what I hope was all of
the bbs – if any escaped i am sure I will know soon
enough, and now I know where to look. I can’t figure
out how they smuggled in – maybe one pregnant female
on my pajama leg? I think once they are in they can’t
get out though and are easy to isolate and kill. If I
were to redesign this tent I would make sure all seams
are cleanly sewn down flat so there is no place for
bbs to hide. I tried putting sticky tape over the
seams but it fell off. I dont have any alcohol or
clean free but tomorrow i will buy some alcohol to
spray just in case I missed any nymphs. After I zipped
up the tent I noticed one nymph crawling inside near
the top seams and opened it soon enough to catch it on
some sticky tape – I hope it was the last one… Just
thought I would share my experience with the travel
tent in case anyone else was thinking of trying it.

4 nobugsonme October 1, 2007 at 12:27 pm

You can certainly track bed bugs into the tent easily. It is essential that you don’t try to enter the travel tent (or an “isolated bed”, for that matter) in clothing worn around the house. I’d even advise wiping off your feet with a wet wipe as you enter, incase there’s anything there. (And wearing flip-flops in the house is also a good idea).

I think you posted this on the yahoo group and someone mentioned keeping their pajamas in the tent and changing in there. Really, a travel tent or an isolated bed are only bed bug free as long as you do not bring bed bugs into them. It’s important for people to remember that, so I am glad you posted!

And I am not saying they did not get in some other way, but it might still be a useful tool if used cautiously.

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