I used will-power with the gnats after discovering that DEET is beyond useless with them. I really still hate gnats to this day. When I think about the Standing Bear hostel, I think about frozen pizzas first, then gnats!
The mosquitoes weren't terrible during the day. At night, they were downright brutal for about two weeks. Every stitch of my gear was treated with Permethrin (still is), so once I was under my tarp with all of my gear around me, they didn't bother me much. I used a Warbonnet ElDorado for my hike, which has an integrated bugnet. Once I was in my castle, the mobs couldn't do a thing about it.
There were probably more bugs than I noticed since I was a Permethrin treated hiker from the first step out of the Visitor Center in GA.
I use permethrin as well, only on my clothes so far, but it works wonders. Since I plan on using a 20 degree underquilt for the entire thru during the warmer months I will most likely have the UQ strung up but hanging off to the side as to not overheat. My concern is that mosquitoes will bite right through my single layer hammock. Might have to give that a nice permethrin bath too. How often did you find you needed to re-treat gear to ward off the bugs?
I treated my gear about every month, give or take a couple of weeks. If it was made from breathable material, it got treated. That was back in 2008 and after a year of hiking (in sections) the Florida Trail. I also used the ElDorado on the FT and still use it from time to time all the way up to the present. So, that hammock was been getting treatments for going on 6 years and shows no signs of any damage to the material from the Permethrin.
I swear by that stuff!
The tarp which came with my HH just covers the hammock. Many nights I would have to pull it close to try to keep dry.
One night while eating, under the tarp in a heavy rain storm, I placed my pad, sleeping bag, and dry clothes inside the hammock. The hammock was sticking about 1 in out beyond the fly. It filled with water, and it was one of the worst nights I had trying to stay warm.
By the time, I got to Maine, I had ordered a MacCat. I just sent it off last week to have doors put on it. I would love a Cuben Fiber, but I can't justify the cost in my mind for 1 pound lighter load.
I wish 2QZQ were around back then.
I'd rather use a full length IX UQ to save weight than use a shorter down UQ during warmer temps, any day. But that just me. Of course having said all that....I find myeslf shifting to an air mattress for long distance hiking.