Basking in the calm of wilderness or desert plains is one of the best ways to enjoy free time. Unfortunately, such places are also favourite vacationing spots of terrifying creatures like snakes. I wouldn’t ask you to kill the adventurer in you to steer clear of such danger. Instead, your focus must be on what should I wear to snake country to protect myself from snakebites.
For your peace of mind, let me share a fact with you. The chances of dying from a venomous snake’s strike are lower than getting fried from lightning. However, there’s no denying the pain and suffering that fangs can cause.
Therefore, we have made a list of clothing you must rely on when stepping foot in snake country to guard vulnerable parts of your body from snakes. So, let’s start learning.
Where Do Snakes Bite the Most
First, you need to learn where snakes bite the most, and only then can you decide to wear proper protective clothing. According to the Western Journal and Wilderness Medical Society statistics, more than 80% of snakebites happen on your upper limbs, i.e. hands and fingers. Only 15% – 20% of bites occur on lower limbs, i.e. around ankles and feet. Snakes rarely bite above the ankles.
However, statistics from some other surveys show that around 80% – 90% of snake strikes take place around calves and ankles. The remaining 10% – 20% occur on other parts of your anatomy, including feet, thighs and upper limbs.
Well, which figures are accurate is of secondary importance. The primary concern is that your lower and upper limbs are the most vulnerable to snake strikes – the common thing in both surveys.
Therefore, when you travel to a snake country, wear garments which shield these vulnerable areas.
What Should I Wear to Snake Country
Your apparel is your first line of defence against fang attacks. Therefore, it is mandatory to wear sturdy boots, long pants, gaiters and gloves when travelling in a snake-rampant country. We have compiled a list of protective clothing you must wear when hiking in the wild.
Let’s start with a sturdy pair of snakeproof boots. You never know when you step foot near a hidden snake and entice it to strike. Wearing good quality fang-resistant hiking boots, that reach above the ankles, can shield your feet and ankles from unseen snake strikes.
The materials that guard against the fangs are heavy-duty leather, rubber, synthetic and Cordura. It is challenging for fangs to penetrate through these fabrics. So, pick boots built from a mixture of these materials for your protection.
You should also check cushioning, water-resistance and moisture-wicking features to avoid inconvenience.
One of the best and most effective protection against snakebites is wearing snake gaiters. Not wearing them when outing in snake country is the worst mistake and an indirect way of calling for a snake strike – that’s mildly highlighting their importance.
They cover your lower leg, an area from your upper foot to your knee. Well, you should know that only snakeproof gaiters shield from puncturing fangs. Most hiking gaiters can just resist thorns and other similar spikey objects. So, choose only those gaiters that have undergone snakebite testing during manufacturing. One brand that I know of which does live snake testing on its clothing is TurtleSkin SnakeArmor.
You can go through their arsenal to choose a product of your liking and budget range.
We select clothing according to the weather. But, the criteria become a little different when you plan outings to snake-abundant locations. Always wear long pants made of nylon, canvas, heavy-duty denim or leather when visiting places having snake traffic, even when the climate is hot. Also, the pants should be loose instead of skin-tight. The reason is that fangs have to bite through more fabric, which releases most of the venom in the material. As a result, little to no poison will hit your skin.
Lab experiments show that denim barricades over 60% of rattlesnake venom from reaching the skin. So, yeah, long denim pants are the best layer of protection against snakes.
You can also cover your upper legs and limbs for infallible security and protection. The products for shielding these areas are listed below.
Snake chaps shield your entire leg. They are optional clothing if you are clad in a pair of heavy-duty denim pants. But, for guaranteed safety and peace of mind, wear reliable pair of snake chaps – especially when touring in pit vipers’ den.
Tolerate a thick pair of socks even when it’s scorching hot outside. Thick socks form another barrier between your legs and the attacking fangs. Besides, they also prevent the leather from biting into your skin and forming blisters.
Initially, you are forbidden to mess with snakes unnecessarily. However, there are situations when you have to insert your hand close to the snake’s den or hiding spot. So, keep a pair of heavy-duty snakeproof gloves on you while hiking to shield your arms, hands and fingers.
Note: You should always have a first aid kit in your backpack when travelling in snake country. Also, fully educate yourself on the first aid treatment of snakebites and the Dos and Don’ts of travelling in a snake-rampant territory. That will both protect you and prepare you for accidental snake encounters.
Snakebite is an awful reality of outdoor tours like hiking, camping, hunting and fieldwork. We have written the above article to guide you on how to attire yourself when visiting a snake-active territory to avoid fangs’ accidents. Garments such as long pants, snakeproof boots, gaiters, chaps, socks and sturdy gloves will minimise the possibility of snakebites. So, get yourself the proper protective clothing first and then begin your outing.