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Which Fly Mesh? Understanding the difference

Posted by Caribu Team on August 1, 2019

A Fly Sheet or Fly Rug is a mesh horse rug which offers protection from the harsh sun, allows the breeze to pass through and keeps most flies and insects away from your horse. Keep in mind that fly mesh is a fabric, that is by its very nature, full of holes!

Mesh rugs do a great job at keeping the majority of biting insects at bay, while offering your horse a cooler rug than a traditional Ripstop style paddock rug. Many people prefer mesh in the heat as it offers a balance between sun protection, keeping your horse cool and offering insect protection.

The best rug for your horse on a hot day - is no rug at all. When its 30c+ and humid, your horse will sweat under any rug. Sweating is how a horse maintains its body temperature as heat increases. Mesh works best when there is a breeze to allow airflow over and through the horse rug. As a horse owner, its always going to be a compromise between keeping your horse cool, and provide sun and/or insect protection.

Caribu offers 4 different types of Air Mesh - which one should you use?

It can be confusing with so many choices! There is no easy answer. If you have a very itchy horse, or an environment that is an insect haven, you will need to consider the types of insects that are biting your horse. For example if your horse is sensitive and in a paddock that is plagued by tiny sand flies or very persistent mosquitoes, a full block out rug will offer better overall protection. (ie Cotton Ripstop) Obviously a full block out rug will be hotter and in turn aggravate itch - especially in high humidity environments! - so it becomes a matter of finding a balance that suits your horse, between coolness, insect protection, the reason the horse is itchy and rug strength.

Mesh rugs are a coarser polyester fabric - when compared to your polycotton ripstop rugs. For horses with fine or sensitive coats, this may accelerate rubbing on pressure points if the fit of the rug is not ideal.

Below is a brief summery of each of our mesh styles, if you need more assistance - don't hesitate to call us for a chat. Please follow the link to out range of Fly Air Mesh Horse Rugs.

All three of our mesh fabrics offer good insect protection and airflow, each has its own pro's and cons'


Caribu Enduro '410gsm' Air Mesh:

  • Our original fly mesh. Has become legendary for its durability and performance since since we first started making them back in 2006.
  • The 410gsm Enduro mesh is a raised mesh with a thicker weave mesh fabric, so its our strongest mesh and ideally suited to horses who are harder on rugs or suffer from itching.
  • Being a heavier gauge thread, the rugs are also slightly heavier in weight overall compared to our other mesh, the advantage being they can be more durable. (a 6'0 Attached Hood weighs approx 4kg)
  • As the mesh is raised, it also provides a better barrier for insects while not effecting airflow significantly.
  • The downside is that because its a raised mesh, it is a little more abrasive than a traditional cotton ripstop style rug or our other mesh rugs. When used on horses with finer or sensitive coats, this can accelerate rubbing on pressure points or if fitting of the rug is not ideal. Sensitive horses often benefit from a bib if they have a sensitive coat.


Caribu Euro-Breeze '270gsm' Air Mesh:

  • The Euro-Breeze Mesh is our most popular mesh. Introduced in 2011
  • Most horse owners find them the ideal balance between coolness, insect protection and strength.
  • Not recommended for itchy horses
  • It features a flat weave mesh. Air flow is slightly better than our 'Enduro 410' mesh
  • They are ideal for horses who don't suffer excessively from itchiness and need a cool general use rug.
  • The rugs are lighter than the 410gsm Enduro mesh and offer a slightly cooler alternative. (a 6'0 Attached Hood weighs approx 2.8kg)
  • Being a lighter rug with a flat weave they are also better suited to horses with finer coats and those who suffer from rubbing from the heavier mesh.


Caribu Euro-Lite '140gsm' Air Mesh:

  • Our newest air mesh.
  • This is the coolest horse rug we manufacture.
  • It features the same flat weave mesh as our Euro-Breeze 270gsm above.
  • The rugs are lighter than the Euro-Breeze 270gsm, and have slightly more airflow. (a 6'0 Attached Hood weighs approx 2.1kg)
  • These rugs come into there own on the hottest of hot days, being very light and airy
  • Not suggest for horses who are hard on rugs or itchy.


Kingsley '240gsm' Mesh:

  • The Kingsley mesh is also a raised mesh similar to the '410gsm' mesh, but not as raised (its in between the flatter Euro-Mesh and the more raised 410gsm Enduro Mesh). Compared to our 410gsm mesh its a more open and slightly thinner weave.
  • Its a good mid weight general purpose mesh for most occasions.
  • Similar strength and durability as our 270gsm Euro-Mesh
  • This mesh is offered in our budget Kingsley Range


Not all mesh is created equally -with so many fly mesh horse rugs on the market – what should you look for?

Fabric Weave.  The weave of the mesh is very important – most people need  a nice tight weave mesh to reduce the exposure to biting insects. There are many mesh’s that have a looser or more open weave – which won’t be effective in stopping mosquitoes or marsh flies.
At the other extreme, we have seen some mesh that has such a tight weave it won’t allow good airflow. Airflow through the weave is important – often the best way is to hold the mesh up to the light to get an idea of the tightness of the mesh weave if comparing fabrics.

Fabric weight or GSM (grams per square meter) is one of the most important factors with fly mesh.  Mesh generally falls in a range from 200gsm to  500gsm. Higher the GSM equates to better strength. Lower gsm fabric is usually a looser, weaker and more open weave fabric and a higher gsm is generally a tighter, stronger weave.   

Colour and Treatment.  Colour plays a very  important part in insect repelling. Those of us  from fly prone areas will know how some colours attract flies and others don’t. Dark colours are generally the worst performing. The pantone's we use in our mesh as been tested to be some of the best performing colours.