The Challenges of Going Off Grid and Preparing for the Unexpected!

If you’re seeking to explore some less crowded areas this summer, we have a cautionary tale for you! A staff member’s recent experience brought ticks back into the spotlight here at Ridgeway Research.

It’s never a good sign when you’re travelling and you look down at your legs only to scream “WHAT IS THAT?!” It was a tiny “seed” tick, the young larval or nymphal tick stage. Tiny but nonetheless painful and a potential source of infection.

Wild camping requires preparation for the unexpected. Part of this is ensuring you have the right gear and equipment to see you through a night. Proper preparation is key so you have an enjoyable, safe adventure. Given the country is in lockdown more of us than ever before are enjoying the great outdoors. But I wonder, who would consider parasite control as part of their pre-ramble checklist?

Some of us might convince ourselves that ticks are only attracted to foolhardy adventurers and pets. Cautious families out for a stroll would seem to be completely safe. This might be true in some instances, but the threat of tick infestation is actually quite common. Ticks are strongly affected by seasonality, and climate change has blurred the lines we once knew. Hence, tick avoidance strategies should be top of the list to prevent you from becoming home for  an unwanted guest.

diurnally Which Ticks Bite Humans?

There are a number of species of ticks that will attach and feed on humans. The species most important when off grid in the UK is Ixodes ricinus, the castor bean or sheep tick. Larval and nyphal ticks are usually found on small mammals such as rodents. Deer, grouse and pheasants tend to be the natural hosts for adult ticks.  

rencontre libertine bourgoin jallieu Ways To Avoid Getting Ticks

Preventative behaviour is the key to avoiding tick bites. This applies to everyone who is camping and hiking, though it is not limited to just rural areas. Ticks are found in urban centres too! They can live on any tall grass, even in your own garden, although the chances are much reduced.

Long grass is the perfect habitat for ticks to thrive.
Long grass is the perfect habitat for ticks to thrive.

Avoid long grass

This can look beautiful blowing gently in the wind, but is prime real estate for ticks. The same goes for dense, bushy areas. If camping, try to avoid these areas and exercise caution on little-used hiking tracks where brushes and grasses are overgrown.

Protective clothing

Clothes are another area of prevention and long loose layers are considered the best. If you’d rather, you can always use the tuck-in approach to prevent unwanted guests roaming up your trouser leg. Light colours are also helpful, as they help you to spot these critters before they settle in for a feast.

Tick repellent spray

This can help deter them and can be very useful if you need to treat your clothes at a later date.

Pet collars

Your four legged friends should also be protected with a suitable tick repellent and acaricidal product. Seek your vet’s advice for a suitable product. These could be tick and flea repellent collars, or spot-on treatments.


Post-camping, it’s tempting to collapse on your sofa and chill with air conditioning and a good box set for a while. But before zoning out, wash all your clothing and bedding on a hot water cycle. Put any dishes and (dishwasher-safe) plastic equipment through the dishwasher. Wipe down larger items with hot water and soap or leave them out in the hot sun to disinfectant. This sounds basic, but ticks are pros at hiding, so cleaning all your equipment before putting it away may save you a bite later down the line. How To Check for Ticks

This is the same as you might do for a dog or cat. However, given you are now the one being checked, you may need to get someone to help you out. Check every inch of your body. They like to hide in the most tender of areas, so can be easily missed.

Spotting ticks isn’t rocket science but it isn’t as easy as you think. These things can be small, and I mean small. They can be poppy seed sized. So if you’re camping or traveling through a tick-prone area, periodic body checks are a smart idea. What To Do If You Find a Tick

If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten by a tick, stay calm. Follow these steps from Lyme Disease UK and always follow up with your doctor if you feel unwell.

The motto of the story is always expect the unexpected! When camping in tick hot spots it would be wise to follow the advice above. Most tick bites are harmless, but they can harbour nasty infections so if you intend to venture out to Dartmoor or any other wild place stay vigilant and enjoy.

Happy camping!

A picture of Dartmoor taken on a staff member’s camping expedition!