The Original Bug Shirt. Handcrafted in Canada, helping people enjoy the outdoors since 1991.


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Dear Bob and Sara,  

I bought my Original Bugshirt thirteen years ago and have used it just about every day during the summers to keep the pesky mosquitoes at bay here in Georgetown, Maine when I’m working outside or taking the dog for a long walk in the woods.  It has been put to pretty heavy use and washed many times, and it’s still going strong.  Thanks for making such a durable, convenient, and effective product!  I decided several weeks ago that it would be good to have another one and pass #1 on to one of my daughters.  But then I wondered whether you were still in business.  I tried “bugshirt” on the web, and there you were, going as strong as the shirt, itself.  Now I look forward to my new “elite” model.

Best wishes,


p.s.  Bob, thanks for our phone conversation a week ago.  The “elite” shirt has arrived and is just as you described it.  In the next week or so I’ll send a picture of me in the old shirt with Xola the 12.5 year old Weimaraner who has been my companion on many of those walks.

“Whatever else people might say about Paul Arsenault and Bob Collingwood – and their colleagues said a lot – they were always prepared.  The two-man ident team arrived on the scene behind Nishinabe Falls in hiking boots, khakis and bug shirts.  Bug shirts come with a hood and veil too fine for flies to penetrate, and elastic at the cuffs.  As they moved about the falls, now reaching up to examine a stain, now kneeling to collect miniscule objects, they looked like a pair of beekeepers.” 

An excerpt from “Blackfly Season” by Giles Blunt, Canada’s master of detective fiction. 

Dear Bob and Sara,  

I just returned from two weeks in Alaska.  If I didn’t have your bug shirt I would have come back a week earlier.  Your product did everything you said it would.  We were dropped off by plane at Judd lake where we put our raft together and packed all of our gear up.  The black flies were soooo bad that if you stood still is sounded like it was raining.  During the trip four people tried to buy the shirt off my back. One guy offered me $100.00 if I would give it to him on the spot,”sorry” I said but there isn’t enough money in Alaska to make me take this shirt off. Thanks again for your great shirt and you’ll be hearing from me. 


Gardner T. Smith

Hello all you marvellous bug shirt people!

We’re back from our Arctic adventure (, which we survived in large part because of your magical bug shirts. It was a life-changing trip in many ways with scenes so beautiful I wanted to cry. We’d go again in a heartbeat, in spite of the fact we were unlucky with rain and bugs…more of both than our guide has seen in 30 years at this time of year.

I was going to write a regular thank you but you probably receive hundreds of these every week from happy customers, so thought instead I would include my trip journal and ask you to perform a search on “bug shirt”….that way you can see for yourselves just how abjectly grateful we were to have brought them with us!

Just think of how many vacations you salvage for people. It must feel good.

Thank you!


Dear Bob and Sara,

We used your bug shirts for the first time last summer and they are terrific!!  I especially like it, because I can’t step outside without all manner of bug attaching itself to me!  For the first time in years I was actually able to enjoy our walks through the Adirondack back woods without being wrapped in long sleeved shirts and towels and hoods around my head!  It also gave me a secure feeling knowing our 15 month old was protected, too.

Thought you’d enjoy the enclosed pics of your shirt in action!

Leslee M



Dear Bob & Sara,

Pictured is a trophy Brook Trout I caught on the upper section of the Moose River near Jackman Maine on June 27, 2000 on a Mudler Minnow fished in a deep hole under cloudy skies in extreme mosquito infested conditions at about 10am while on a 5 day canoe trip with my wife Diane.  The trout flipped out of my hands as I was attempting to make a measurement but I could see that it was over 20 inches, possibly close to 21 inches.

I know catching this beauty would not have been possible without the amazing protection of the “Original Bug Shirt”.  The mosquitoes were worse than I have ever seen them and our bug shirts were the essential key to us having an enjoyable trip.  I felt sorry for fellow travelers who were not so adequately attired.  We freely passed out the “Original Bug Shirt” name to bugged out canoeists who were jealously eyeing our bug free existence.  The few other people we saw traveling in such comfort were also cheerfully wearing “Original Bug Shirts”.  Congratulations on a great product.

John Wilcox.

Photo by Diane Wilcox.

Dear Bob & Sara,

The enclosed Bug Shirt pictures were taken July 11, 1994, on the Burnside River in the Northwest Territories, Canada very near the Arctic Circle.  My wife, Linda & myself purchased your shirts for this trip & we were very glad we did.  We left the shirts on most of the 18 days on the Burnside.   When the bugs were bad the shirts made the difference between misery & enjoyment.  At times when the bugs were not bad the shirts were very comfortable to leave on.  We are now convinced  that your bug shirts are as important on our equipment lists as any of our clothes.  Everyone heading into the Great North should include the Original Bug Shirt.

Tim & Linda K


I have to tell you about a phone call I received recently.  A lady called me from Quebec – her daughter had mistakenly thrown away the garbage bag full of laundry, thinking it was garbage.  Oops!  And in the bag of course was an “Original Bug Shirt”.  Since this was purchased in 1992 it was almost the “ORIGINAL” “Original Bug Shirt”.

She had kept her bill, and so had my phone number, and called for a replacement.  She was delighted to find the price was the same now as it had been in 1992, although she actually ordered the new “Elite Edition” for a little extra money, because of all the new features.

She told me her old one had been washed hundreds of times, and was still in excellent shape, and she was lost without it.

 Her daughter attempted to compensate her for her mistake by ordering an all mesh shirt from a catalogue.  That one she told me was much too hot and just didn’t do the trick.  She was sending it back, and we shipped her replacement the next day.

Dear Bob & Sara,

We’ve had the Original Bug Shirt for three years (we spoke on the phone back then!), and completed the following canoe trips in them: Coppermine River (1998); Hanbury-Thelon Rivers (from Artillery Lake to Beverly Lake in 1999);Yellowknife River (2000); Hood River (2000).  We have told many about your wonderful bug shirts (all 4 of us last year and all 6 this year used them). They have held up well, albeit after a few moments sewing on the trail.

Melissa Parker (my canoe partner for these three summers) and I decided to get going toward the next step of our lives.  We plan to be married in the late spring.

See the enclosed picture, taken a few moments after she said yes.  It was on the wonderful summer journey down the Hood River, in Nunavut, Canada, and we stand at the brink of the largest waterfall north of the Arctic Circle (Wilberforce).  It was after 150 miles of paddling and portaging, and on this afternoon, it was sunny, windy, and bug-free.  A perfect moment in the north country to pop the question (it was also before the 2 mile portage around the falls and canyon!).

I was thinking about the photo, however, and saw us wearing the bug shirts.  We only take them off at night in the tent, and generally wear them all day every day of a trip.  Thought you’d like to see this picture.

Michael Goldstein

Hi Folks,

I just wanted to tell you how much we appreciated the bug shirts we bought.  We live in Florida, and visit South East Vermont, in the deep woods, in mosquito and blackfly season, May to August.

Our place is a breeding ground and very bad, we often can’t go outside.  This year, not only are we able to be outside, but we spent two days wallowing in the adjacent marsh, attempting to direct water out of the incipient swamp.  The bugs were vicious.

But we survived, thanks to the Original Bug Shirts.  They couldn’t get to us.

We couldn’t have done it without you.

Bruce and Liz.  Winter Park, FL.


I bought one of the “other shirts” for a +/-40  mile canoe trip & portage in the Five pond Wilderness in The Adirondack park, NY. It’s a black fly factory up there. I saw your shirt a few weeks before we left at the Adirondack Paddlefest in Inlet NY, and immediately saw how much better designed your shirt was. It cost a few bucks more and I already owned the other shirt… but bought yours on the spot anyways. Yes that’s one more than I need, but the added cost was for superior features & materials, it obviously cost more to make and was better thought out.

The shirt performed exactly as advertised, we lived in them for 5 days, it rained and we got them completely soaked, they dried out very fast when it stopped as we wore them. We portaged through old thick underbrush with no damage, we portaged for 4 miles, they were not “hot”. And when the bugs attacked in swarms, the worst problem was getting the ones that got inside before you zipped up (we found a thorough rubbing of face & neck vigorously with net zipped, got ’em).

I saved the receipt of the “other” shirt and will return it unused. Thanks guys, instead of talking about how bad the bugs were, we tell them how pretty it was, bugs are now and forever a non issue.

Rich & Tom,  Barneveld, NY
May 23, 2005

Dear Bob and Sara,

We are so incredibly thankful for you and your bug shirts. They proved to be immeasurably useful on our trip to the Burnside River in the Nunavut.  For all forty days, we lived in those shirts, and, while they now have that “eau de trail” and many, many dirt stains, they represent our hard work, adventure, and success, not to mention the security they provided. The Burnside is a stunningly beautiful place, and if you haven’t had a chance to go we wholeheartedly recommend it.  It certainly has its share of Arctic bugs, though, and, boy, were we glad to have our Original Bug Shirts.  You make a wonderful product, and we are so fortunate to have been able to bring them along.
Thank you, additionally, for providing them to us at a discounted cost.  We were, and are, stunned by your generosity and appreciate it beyond words.  Many of us would have had a hard time affording them otherwise, and, as mentioned above, they really made the difference between a good trip and a great trip. Thank you thank you thank you.
I have included several pictures that I hope you enjoy. (Note especially the bugs flying around us!) We had a wonderful time and are anxious (but not itching!) to get back.

With gratitude,
Juliet, and Mae, Martha, Ginny, Renée, Mandie, and Sara; YMCA Camp Widjiwagan 2005 Voyageurs

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