Tips and tricks to deal with mosquitoes during camping

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Imagine this, you’re enjoying the peace and serenity of nature, while camping in the great outdoors. As the sun begins to go down, you start to feel an itching sensation all over your body. Suddenly, you’re surrounded by angry mosquitoes, and they’re biting you relentlessly. No matter how hard you swat or how much bug spray you apply, they just keep coming. The bites are itchy, painful, and soon you’re covered in red, swollen welts.

Despite the annoyance, you try to keep a sense of humor about the situation. You joke with your camping mates about being a “human sacrifice” to the mosquito gods. But as the night goes on and the bites keep piling up, it becomes harder to laugh. You end up tossing and turning all night, unable to get comfortable.

The next morning, you’re tired, grumpy, and itching all over. You pack up your camping gear and head back to civilization, vowing never to camp in a mosquito-infested area again. You look back on the experience with a mix of annoyance and amusement, and can’t help but laugh about the crazy night you had with the mosquitoes. Will you camp again? YES! Fear not! Here are some tips to keep mosquitoes at bay.

1. Make Your Clothes Mosquito-Resistant

Treat your clothes with permethrin. This is a great way to protect yourself from mosquitoes without having to apply repellent every 30 minutes to your body, and it lasts for more than one day if you treat it correctly. 

Picaridin is another good option that can be rubbed into your skin after showering or swimming (and before eating). 

In addition to applying repellent or insecticide to exposed areas, consider clothing options like long sleeve shirts and pants or leggings. You’ll want something that covers the entire leg and upper thigh area since that’s where most bites happen! Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blue or black.

2. Invest in a Thermocell mosquito repeller

I have 3 of these because I love them so much! The original one, the lantern version and the patio unit. They’re great to have around when you’re sitting outside. I always have one with me. Love it!

Have the zapper lights in place far enough away that they don’t attract the little devils. That will allow you to enjoy your outdoor time without having to worry about swarms of nasty little critters feasting on you at every turn.

3. Citronella Incense Sticks

Another alternative to mosquito repellent are the citronella incense sticks. The citronella helps to keep mosquitos away while creating a pleasant atmosphere which makes your campsite feel more like home. We usually have multiple sources going and have no trouble with mosquitos.

Thermacell and the incense used jointly are our go to. You literally stick them in the ground and create a perimeter barrier. Inside the perimeter are you and your thermacell. The incense sticks can be found at most Dollar Stores but they are a seasonal item.

4. Fire

The key to keeping the bugs away is maintaining a large fire in camping. We make sure that we have at least 2-3 citronella candles and a nice large fire going to keep the bugs away. The fire is the key really it really helps keep the whole site almost clear.

5. Coffee Beans


Take an empty metal can and fill it (1/3rd) with grounded coffee beans. Then, grab a hot ember from the campfire and put it in the can. Let it smolder naturally and the aroma will keep all mosquitoes away.

6. Burn Cow Turds

You can use some old bush tricks to keep them away. One method is to burn 2 dry cow turds together with an ember placed between them. This will smoke up the whole area and keep all mozzies away.

7. Choose The Right Campsite

Mosquitoes are a fact of life in warm weather, but you can keep most of them at bay by staying on high points where it is more cool.  

Pick a campsite in an open area that gets good wind as the breeze will help blow bugs away. Find a place without too much shade, since mosquitoes prefer dark spaces where they can lay eggs. They’re also more active at dawn and dusk, so try to avoid being outside during those times.

Stay away from tall grass and other areas with lots of standing water such as lakes, rivers and creeks, which breeds mosquitoes. Walk on rocks or other surfaces where they can’t nest (and, thus, hopefully avoid being bitten).

8. Choose The Right Bug Spray

Choose a bug spray with DEET on all camping trips. The chemical ingredient has been used by manufacturers for years and is what really works to protect against mosquitoes.

When choosing a formula, don’t buy one that has more than 50 percent DEET as it may not be better than a lower percentage. Instead of applying it once at the beginning of the day, reapply every two hours as directed on the bottle.

9. Don't Be Smelly

The best way to deal with mosquitoes is to minimize your appeal. Don’t be smelly, and don’t use toiletries that mask bad BO (they can attract more mosquitoes). Rinse off after hikings, and change into clean clothes before going to sleep.

10. Selecting The Right Tent

If you want to keep mosquitoes out of your tent, no matter where you camp, your best bet is a double-wall tent. This kind of tent will have an inner mesh body for insect protection and a separate nylon rain fly for privacy and keeping out water. 

Two-layer tents are also extremely well ventilated for warmer climates (which also tend to draw mosquitoes). Just be sure to always zip it closed immediately when you enter and exit.

11. Vinegar

For people who have a strong sense of smell or hate the aroma of vinegar, this solution is not necessarily for you. But both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be used as natural bug repellents. 

Insects are not particularly fond of the overpowering scent. Spray it on your skin, around your tent and around the campsite to deter mosquitoes and other bugs from taking up residence.

12. Avoid Certain Food

Insects are not big fans of certain foods. Thankfully, bugs can’t stand the smell of garlic, onions and even citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. 

Rub your skin with these ingredients to ward off mosquitoes and other insects while you camp. Don’t forget that these foods will also add a delicious flavor to your meals while you’re out.

13. Cool Yourself Down

Start by turning up the AC in your car before heading out as this can help keep mosquitoes away from you. Dehydration will cause you to sweat more and make yourself an easy target for hungry mosquitoes. To beat the bloodsuckers, keep a water bottle on hand at all times!

14. Keep Your Campsite Clean

One of the best ways to keep away from mosquitoes is to make sure that your campsite is tidy and clean. Bugs and other wild animals love the smell of food and are looking for an opportunity to grab a snack. 

That’s why it’s crucial to keep your campsite as clean as possible. Open containers of food, unwashed dishes, discarded wrappers and any other organic material left unattended or overnight are just an open invitation for these creatures.

To Sum It Up

With these simple steps in mind to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes, you’re sure to have a more enjoyable camping experience.

Whats Next

There is nothing more scary than than a bear stealing your camp food. what would you do to prevent that food-stealing intruder from ruining your camp? Let us explore every aspect of self-defence against that furry, not-so-teddy bear.

About Us

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Jules and Ken

Hi! We are Jules and Ken. We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

We hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions about Tips and tricks to deal with mosquitoes during camping or want to leave your own personal comments, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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