May 20, 2022 10 min read

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away While Camping: Expert Tips

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away While Camping: Expert Tips

If you're planning a camping trip, it's important to be prepared for all the challenges that come with outdoor adventures. One of the most frustrating obstacles to a good night's sleep is the presence of mosquitoes. These pesky insects can quickly ruin your camping experience if you're not careful. Fortunately, there are many effective ways to keep mosquitoes away while camping.

Understanding mosquitoes is the first step in preventing them from ruining your camping trip. Mosquitoes are attracted to warmth, moisture, and carbon dioxide. They are most active at dawn and dusk, so it's important to take extra precautions during these times. By choosing the right camping location, using proper camping gear, dressing to protect, and using natural or commercial mosquito repellents, you can significantly reduce your chances of being bitten.

Understanding Mosquitoes

When it comes to camping, mosquitoes can be a major nuisance. Understanding these pesky insects can help you better protect yourself from their bites. Mosquitoes are small, flying insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. Female mosquitoes are the ones that bite, as they require blood to produce eggs.

Mosquitoes are not just annoying, they can also carry diseases such as malaria. Malaria is a serious disease that can be fatal if left untreated. While malaria is not common in many parts of the world, it is still a concern in some areas. It is important to take steps to protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially if you are traveling to an area where malaria is prevalent.

To avoid mosquito bites, it is important to understand when and where mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so it is important to take extra precautions during these times. Mosquitoes are also attracted to standing water, so avoid camping near stagnant water sources such as ponds or swamps.

In addition to causing itchy bites, mosquitoes can also be a major annoyance while camping. To keep mosquitoes away from your campsite, consider using mosquito repellent or citronella candles. You can also wear long sleeves and pants to help protect yourself from bites.

By understanding mosquitoes and taking steps to protect yourself, you can enjoy a mosquito-free camping trip. Remember to always take precautions when traveling to areas where mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria are prevalent.

Choosing the Right Camping Location

When planning a camping trip, it's important to choose the right location to help keep mosquitoes away. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect campsite:

Avoiding Stagnant Water

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so it's important to avoid camping near ponds or lakes. Instead, choose a campsite that is at least 200 feet away from any standing water. If you must camp near water, look for a site that has a steady current or is located on a hill to avoid any pooling water.

Remember that even small amounts of standing water can attract mosquitoes, so be sure to check your campsite for any areas that may collect water, such as low spots in the ground or rain gutters. If you find any, fill them in or cover them with dirt to prevent water from accumulating.

By following these tips, you can help reduce your exposure to mosquitoes and enjoy a more comfortable camping experience.

Proper Camping Gear

Tent Selection

When it comes to camping, having the right tent is crucial. Not only does it provide shelter, but it can also help keep mosquitoes at bay. Look for a tent with mesh windows and doors to allow for proper ventilation while keeping bugs out. Additionally, consider a tent with a rainfly to provide an extra layer of protection against insects and other pests.

Mosquito Nets

Mosquito nets are a must-have for any camping trip. They provide a physical barrier between you and mosquitoes, preventing bites and potential diseases. Look for nets that are specifically designed for camping, with fine mesh to keep even the smallest bugs out. You can also find nets that are treated with insect repellent for added protection.

Outdoor Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for camping, not just for visibility but also to keep mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes are attracted to light, so it's important to choose the right type of lighting. Avoid using bright white lights, which can attract bugs. Instead, opt for yellow or amber lights, which are less attractive to mosquitoes. You can also use citronella candles or torches, which emit a scent that repels mosquitoes.

Remember, when camping, it's important to be prepared and have the right gear. With the right tent, mosquito nets, and outdoor lighting, you can enjoy your camping trip without being bothered by pesky mosquitoes.

Dressing to Protect

When camping, it's important to dress in a way that protects you from mosquitoes. Here are some tips for dressing to protect:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to cover as much skin as possible.
  • Choose light-colored clothing, as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your clothing.
  • Consider wearing clothing treated with permethrin, which is a chemical that repels mosquitoes.

By following these tips and dressing to protect, you can greatly reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes while camping.

Using Fire to Your Advantage

Campfire Setup

When camping, setting up a campfire can be a great way to keep mosquitoes away. To do this, you'll need to find a dry spot away from any trees or bushes. Make sure to clear the area of any debris, as this can easily catch fire. Once you've found a good spot, gather some firewood and kindling. You can also use charcoal briquettes if you have them.

Smoke and Herbs

Once your campfire is set up, you can use the smoke to your advantage. Mosquitoes hate smoke, so sitting near the fire can help keep them away. You can also burn certain herbs to repel mosquitoes. Sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and lemon balm are all great options. Simply toss a few sprigs onto the fire and let the smoke do its job.

It's important to note that while smoke can be effective in repelling mosquitoes, it's not a foolproof method. Mosquitoes can still find their way to you if they're hungry enough. Additionally, burning herbs can create a strong smell that may not be pleasant for everyone. Use these methods with caution and be mindful of others around you.

Natural Mosquito Repellents

Essential Oils

Essential oils are a natural and effective way to keep mosquitoes away while camping. Eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, cedarwood, geranium, tea tree, clove, basil, and catnip are all great options. Mix a few drops of your chosen oil with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil and apply it to your skin or clothing.

Herbs and Plants

Certain herbs and plants also work as natural mosquito repellents. Planting basil, mint, and citronella around your campsite can help keep mosquitoes away. You can also make a natural repellent spray by boiling water and adding chopped garlic, mint leaves, and a sliced lemon. Let it steep for a few hours, strain it, and then spray it around your campsite.

Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are a popular and effective way to keep mosquitoes away. The scent of citronella masks the smell of carbon dioxide and lactic acid, both of which attract mosquitoes. Place a few citronella candles around your campsite to create a barrier against mosquitoes.

Homemade Repellents

If you prefer to make your own mosquito repellent, there are a few options. Mixing vinegar and water in a spray bottle and applying it to your skin can help keep mosquitoes away. You can also mix salt and water and spray it around your campsite to repel mosquitoes. However, be aware that these homemade repellents may not be as effective as commercial options.

Remember, natural repellents may not work for everyone, and it's important to test them on a small area of skin before applying them all over your body. Additionally, it's important to reapply natural repellents more frequently than commercial options.

Commercial Mosquito Repellents

When it comes to preventing mosquito bites while camping, commercial mosquito repellents can be your best friend. Here are a few types of commercial mosquito repellents you might want to consider:

DEET-Based Repellents

DEET is a popular mosquito repellent ingredient that has been used for decades. It is effective against a wide range of insects, including mosquitoes. DEET-based repellents come in various forms, including sprays, lotions, and wipes. Repel 100 is a popular DEET-based repellent that provides up to 10 hours of protection.

Permethrin Treated Fabric

Permethrin is a synthetic chemical that is used to treat fabrics. When applied to clothing, it creates a barrier that repels mosquitoes and other insects. Permethrin-treated fabric can provide long-lasting protection against mosquito bites. You can either buy pre-treated clothing or treat your own clothing with permethrin spray.

Picaridin Products

Picaridin is a synthetic compound that is similar to the natural compound piperine, which is found in black pepper. It is a popular alternative to DEET because it is odorless, non-greasy, and does not damage plastic or synthetic materials. Picaridin products come in various forms, including sprays, lotions, and wipes.

Remember to always follow the instructions on the label when using commercial mosquito repellents. Apply them to all exposed skin and reapply as directed. If you have sensitive skin, look for products that are labeled as gentle or hypoallergenic.

Keeping Your Campsite Clean

One of the most effective ways to keep mosquitoes away while camping is to keep your campsite clean. Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water and the smell of food, so keeping your campsite tidy can help reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area.

Make sure to properly dispose of waste and garbage in designated trash cans or by packing it out with you. This includes food waste, as even small scraps can attract mosquitoes. Use sealable containers to store food and keep them closed when not in use.

Additionally, be mindful of your hygiene products. Mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of sweat and body odor, so it's important to keep yourself clean and fresh. Dispose of any used hygiene products properly and store them in sealable containers.

By keeping your campsite clean, you can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area and enjoy your camping trip without the annoyance of mosquito bites.

Avoiding Attractants

When camping, it's important to avoid attractants that can draw mosquitoes to your campsite. One of the most common attractants is perfume or fragrances. Mosquitoes are attracted to floral scents, so it's best to avoid wearing perfume or scented lotions while camping. Instead, opt for unscented products.

Another attractant to avoid is fruit. Mosquitoes are attracted to the smell of ripe fruit, so it's best to keep any fruit in sealed containers or in a separate area away from your campsite. Additionally, avoid eating sweet or sugary foods, as they can also attract mosquitoes.

Lactic acid is another attractant that can draw mosquitoes to your campsite. Lactic acid is produced when we sweat, so it's important to keep yourself clean and dry. Wear breathable clothing and use a towel to wipe away any sweat.

In summary, to avoid attracting mosquitoes while camping, avoid wearing perfume or fragrances, keep fruit in sealed containers away from your campsite, and stay clean and dry to avoid producing lactic acid.

Alternative Mosquito Control Methods

When it comes to keeping mosquitoes away while camping, there are various alternative methods that you can use to avoid being bitten. In this section, we will take a look at three popular methods: Ultrasonic Devices, Bug Zappers, and Mosquito Traps.

Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices are small, portable gadgets that emit high-frequency sound waves that are supposed to repel mosquitoes. They are battery-operated and work by emitting a sound that is supposed to be unpleasant to mosquitoes. However, the effectiveness of these devices is still up for debate, and some studies have shown that they are not effective at all.

Bug Zappers

Bug zappers are another popular alternative mosquito control method. They work by attracting mosquitoes with a bright light and then electrocuting them when they come into contact with the zapper. While bug zappers are effective at killing mosquitoes, they also kill other beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies. Additionally, they are not very effective at keeping mosquitoes away from the area.

Mosquito Traps

Mosquito traps are another popular alternative mosquito control method. They work by attracting mosquitoes to the trap with a scent or a lure and then trapping them inside. Some traps use carbon dioxide to lure mosquitoes, while others use other attractants. Mosquito traps are effective at reducing the number of mosquitoes in the area, but they are not very effective at keeping mosquitoes away from the area.

In conclusion, while alternative mosquito control methods can be effective at reducing the number of mosquitoes in the area, they are not always effective at keeping mosquitoes away from the area. It is important to use a combination of methods, such as wearing long-sleeved clothing, using mosquito repellent, and avoiding areas with standing water, to keep yourself mosquito-free while camping.


By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes that bother you while camping. Not only will this make your camping experience more enjoyable, but it will also help you avoid the discomfort and potential health risks associated with mosquito bites.

Remember to bring along appropriate clothing and gear, such as long-sleeved shirts and mosquito netting, to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Additionally, try to camp in areas with fewer mosquitoes, such as high and dry locations, and avoid camping near standing water.

Finally, don't forget to make memories with your family and friends while camping. With these mosquito prevention techniques, you can focus on creating unforgettable experiences without the annoyance of pesky mosquitoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ways to repel mosquitoes while camping?

The best ways to repel mosquitoes while camping are to use mosquito repellent sprays, lotions, or patches that contain DEET or picaridin. You can also use natural repellents like lemon eucalyptus oil, citronella candles, or lavender. Wearing long-sleeved clothes and using mosquito netting around your sleeping area can also help.

How can I make my tent mosquito-proof?

To make your tent mosquito-proof, make sure there are no holes or tears in the tent fabric. Use mosquito netting or mesh screens on windows and doors. You can also use a mosquito net over your sleeping area for added protection. Avoid leaving the tent open for extended periods and use mosquito repellents inside the tent.

What are the best mosquito repellent devices for camping?

The best mosquito repellent devices for camping are mosquito coils, electric bug zappers, and mosquito repellent lanterns. These devices emit a scent or light that repels mosquitoes, making them ideal for outdoor use. However, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety guidelines when using these devices.

What smells do mosquitoes hate the most?

Mosquitoes hate the smells of citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemon. You can use essential oils or candles with these scents to repel mosquitoes. You can also rub fresh herbs like basil or mint on your skin or clothing to keep mosquitoes away.

How can I keep mosquitoes away without bug spray?

You can keep mosquitoes away without bug spray by using natural repellents like essential oils, candles, or herbs. Wearing long-sleeved clothes and using mosquito netting can also help. Avoid wearing dark colors and using scented products that attract mosquitoes.

How can I keep bugs away when sitting outside at night?

To keep bugs away when sitting outside at night, use bug repellent candles or lanterns. You can also use a fan to create a breeze that keeps bugs away. Avoid wearing perfume or scented products, and keep food and drinks covered to prevent attracting bugs.