Camping holds dear memories for many of us, and there’s something so innately satisfying about roasting marshmallows on a campfire outside your tent.
It is the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of modern urban life, but it does come with its own downsides.
The outside world is a harsh mistress. There are many types of insects living there that do not like to be disturbed. Mosquitoes are the bane of every outdoorsy person’s life.
Mosquitoes are so small and bite you so sneakily, but my goodness are the bites itchy! Seriously, how can something so tiny cause you so much pain and frustration?!
Now that the weather is beginning to warm up again, maybe you are beginning to plan your next camping adventure.
We’ve rounded up some of the best mosquito repelling methods we swear by, to help make your next trip a little easier.
How to Keep Mosquitoes Away While Camping – 11 Helpful Tips
#1. Citronella or Cedar Oil
Citronella comes from a blend of 2 types of grass. It has been used ever since the Roman period to repel insects.
The oil works as a mosquito repellent as it reduces the intensity of odors that are naturally attractive to mosquitoes. You can get citronella in candle form too, to light and place around your campsite.
Cedar comes from conifer trees. There is little scientific evidence to support the efficacy of cedar oil as an insect repellent, but many people will still use it anyway.
#2. Bug Repellent Spray
This is less of a natural remedy but is very useful when applied correctly. This can be sprayed directly onto your shoes, clothing, and tent to keep bugs away.
This spray is particularly effective when sprayed onto your clothing before a hike. Try to purchase a waterproof bug repellent spray so that it does not get worn off as fast.
#3. Wear Appropriate Clothing
The less skin that you have exposed, the less chance that mosquitos will have to bite you. We suggest trying to wear primarily lightweight but long clothing.
These will keep you cool in the heat but will reduce your exposure to bugs. Some clothing companies even make clothes enriched with bug repellent!
Mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors, so we suggest wearing lighter colors. You can also purchase bug repellent bracelets.
These release chemicals into the air surrounding you which mosquitos and other bugs will not like, meaning they stay away from you.
Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar work well as a natural form of bug repellent. This can be sprayed onto your skin, clothing, and tent to keep the bugs at bay.
You could also make a vinegar spray. Fill a spray bottle with 32 oz vinegar and add in 3-4 tablespoons of a dried herb.
Our recommendations include thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender, and mint. Shake daily and allow to infuse for at least 2 weeks. When you are ready to use it, strain the dried herbs out and dilute the spray with water before applying it to your skin.
#5. Don’t Wear Floral Scents
Mosquitoes are attracted to floral and sweet scents. If you usually wear perfume and keep finding new bites, this is something you should try.
Unfortunately, some people are just naturally more attractive to mosquitoes as a result of their genetic makeup. Try using unscented cleaning and personal care products to reduce your chances of being bitten.
You could also try to avoid exercise and drinking alcohol at dawn and dusk – the busiest time for mosquitoes.
Drinking raises your body temperature and metabolic rate while exercising releases lactic acid. All of these things will attract mosquitoes!
#6. Herbal Repellents
You can use many household essential oils to create your own bug repellent spray. Good herbs to use include thyme, eucalyptus, sage, lemongrass, rosemary, lavender, mint, basil, and cloves.
These can be sprayed directly onto your skin and are likely to be less reactive than traditional bug repellents.
To make your own spray, mix 10-20 drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, half a cup of water, and half a cup of witch hazel. Shake well before every application and then spritz to your heart’s content.
#7. Metofluthrin Diffuser
This is a diffuser that you simply place around your tent. The diffusers release a chemical pesticide called metofluthrin into the air, providing up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitoes and other insects.
They are between 84 and 100% effective as a bug repellent, and this can be improved by placing a fan behind the diffusers.
#8. Light a Campfire
Insects are not a fan of smoke or fire, therefore a campfire is a good and convenient way to keep your environment mosquito-free.
Campfires are a staple part of any camping trip, whether you are telling stories, playing music, or roasting marshmallows around them.
Take great care to light and maintain your campfire responsibly. Never leave a fire burning and always check that your campsite allows fires.
#9. Camp Away from Bodies of Water
Large and stagnating bodies of water are a perfect environment for mosquitoes to live and socialize in.
Try to find a spot to pitch your tent that is away from ponds, swamps, and lakes. If possible, look for a campsite on high ground.
#10. Don’t Use too Much Light
Insects are attracted to light. Where possible, try to reduce the time you are using torches and lanterns as these will encourage mosquitoes to come near to you.
Try to keep lights inside your tent extinguished when opening the doors to the tent to further prevent insects from entering.
#11. Purchase a High-Quality Tent
Good quality tents are likely to come with many inbuilt features designed to protect you against bugs and wildlife. Usually, you can purchase a mosquito net as an additional feature.
You may also consider getting a screened enclosure so that you can sit outside without being bitten!
It should go without saying, but if you do not want mosquitoes to get into your tent, you should keep the doors and screens zipped up at all times.