Gear Review -- Skeeter Beater

The Gear Junkie: Skeeter Beater
By STEPHEN REGENOLD

In the time-honored tradition of long-haul truckers and cheapskates road tripping across the United States, the backseat of my car has long served as an ad hoc bed for covert slumber away from home and on an adventure. Pull over, crack the windows, grab a fleece jacket for your pillow, and goodnight.

Employed carefully — and legally — sleeping in a car makes a lot of sense for a quick night’s rest at a mountain trailhead before a climb or in a campground when you pull in too late to erect a tent. Drive a truck or a van and you can unfurl pads and blankets in back to convert your Ford into a makeshift motorhome.

Skeeter Beater - w.jpg

Mesh netting keeps the bugs out but allows for ventilation

Timco Industries LLC of St. Louis, Mo., makes a product to “turn your vehicle into a tent in seconds.” Essentially square sheets of netting with magnets stitched on the edges, the Skeeter Beater window screens attach on a car’s exterior to create instant screened window openings.

Made of polyester no-see-um mesh, the Skeeter Beaters can keep out mosquitoes, gnats and other bugs.

In my test, the magnets snapped tight to the car’s metal and held the screen in place with no gaps. Strong wind might move the Skeeter Beaters, though in a windy setting gnats and mosquitoes — not to mention in-car ventilation — won’t be an issue.

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Magnets snap a mesh screen tight around car and truck windows

In the past, lack of ventilation often hampered my nights sleeping in a car on reclined bucket seats. But with the Skeeter Beaters air flows freely through the mesh-covered open windows, granting easy warm-weather slumber.

Since they attach around the windows on the edge of a door, you can go in and out of a vehicle without removing the screens.

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Skeeter Beaters let you sleep comfortably in the back of your vehicle

The company (www.theskeeterbeater.com) sells the Skeeter Beater for about $30 a pair. They come in several colors and eight sizes to fit dozens of vehicles, from a Chevy Suburban to a Ford Focus.

(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eleven U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)

Posted by Ellen - 10/10/2008 12:55 PM

I think this is a great gift idea. Another use is for when one has to wait around for someone else – like at a trailhead or park ‘n ride now that idling to run the AC is not PC. Or if one has a safe outdoor parking lot/driveway and would like to have car that is neither an oven nor insect-infested when one gets in to drive.

Posted by abscam - 10/10/2008 03:48 PM

You could make those for 1/5 the cost or less. You can get replacement screen at the hardware store and you can get magnetic roll tape at the hobby store. Hot glue the tape to the cut out replacement screen and your done. Probably get a better fit too. How are they keeping the skeeters from getting in between the gaps in the magnets?

Posted by Stephen - 10/10/2008 09:32 PM

There are enough magnets around the edges so that gaps did not form.

Posted by Dan Lees - 10/15/2008 05:30 AM

look like a nice idea for campervans too.

Posted by Mike - 06/25/2009 09:20 PM

Wish I had read this before my CCountry trip last month. Made my own out of mosquito netting and magnetic roll tape. Don’t need to hot glue, the netting is thin enough to hold. This allows you to cover your hatch-back too.

Posted by Deb - 09/06/2009 05:42 PM

OK, made my own as directed. Not good. Magnetic tape is not strong enough. waste of time.

Posted by Dolly - 12/29/2009 03:04 PM
Posted by Jackie - 01/16/2010 09:48 PM

Seems like a good idea! Does the company make one for sunroofs? Leaving the roof vent open feels a little more secure than keeping windows open.

Posted by GL - 08/07/2010 07:34 PM

Jackie – sorry for the late response, but you may want to check out MagnaScreens – they are a simple rectangle 30 × 34.5 inches in this same vein, but sell by the piece rather than the pair. They say they can be used for small sunroofs. Link to MagnaScreen.com

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