How To Repel Mosquitoes While Camping

A camping trip is unlike anything else as families experience the great outdoors. For many, camping is an ideal way to unwind from the pressures of modern life.

Camping enables families to reconnect with one another and is a very affordable way to escape and have fun.

However, once you venture into the realm of nature, you’re in the domain of insects and bugs. While there are many, most of these are not harmful to humans, although they can be a pest.

mosquito on a leaf

Among the worst is the mosquito, and when this bite you, you can face more than the itchy bumps female mosquitoes leave behind.

You can find your camping trip ruined by mosquito bites. Although using our guide, you can find the best ways to prevent these pesky mosquitoes from ruining your trip.

By the end of our guide, you can learn more than how to keep bugs away from yourself; you can learn how to keep mosquitoes away while camping and the best bug repellent or methods to prevent them from attacking as you sit around the campfire drinking beer. (Find the Best 14 Person Tent)

Besides this, rather than using commercial chemical bug sprays that smell and can be hazardous, you can find a natural alternative that is more suited for when children are around.

What Smells Do Mosquitoes Hate the Most?

Mosquitoes can be drawn to things like scent, light, heat, and humidity. Besides this, some species can detect carbon dioxide from more than 100ft away from your camp.

While bug zappers work, this means the mosquitoes are around you, and if you want to keep repel insects before they get too close, you can use natural repellents where mosquitoes hate the smell.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Lemon Eucalyptus oil can be an effective mosquito repellent. Use 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil with ten parts sunflower oil or natural witch hazel to keep mosquitoes away for up to three hours.

Essential oils comprising catnip oil, lavender oil, geranium essential oil, Cedarwood essential oil, and basil oil are all suitable alternatives or additions.

Thyme Oil

For repelling malarial mosquitoes, thyme oil is a great natural mosquito repellent of many natural oils with over 90% effectiveness.

Toss dried thyme leaves on your campfire and becomes 85% mosquito-free for 60 to 90 minutes. Also, you can mix 4 drops of thyme oil and a teaspoon of olive or jojoba oil.

Burning sage can also have the same effect and has been proven as one of the best natural methods to keep pesky critters and mosquitoes away while camping over a large area. (Read Pros And Cons Of Yurt Living)


Citronella oil delivers one of the most effective essential oils. To make it easy to use, you can light citronella candles. A citronella candle shouldn’t, however, be used inside your tent.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil good as an insect repellent and soothing mosquito bites. It is effective against mosquitoes, bush flies, ticks, and midges.

Most of these oils or many more can be added to a spray bottle to make the best bug repellent for camping. Add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, half a cup of natural witch hazel, and half a cup of water to your spray. Shake well before spraying,

How Do I Keep Mosquitos Away from My Campsite?

Besides the above natural substances in the above bug sprays to keep pesky bugs at bay. When you set off on your next camping trip, there is more you can do to repel bugs.

Here is a handful of things you can do to keep pesky insects from approaching too close. Many of the techniques here have bug repelling properties, yet you use them without too much effort.

Eat Food Mosquitoes Hate

Mosquitoes and other insects hate the smells of certain foods. However, to us, they are the perfect combination when grilling on the BBQ or campfire. (Learn the Best Camping Activities At Night)

Besides onions and garlic, you can find tiny insects that hate the smell of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Rubbing garlic or citrus peel on your skin or clothes can keep mosquitoes away.

Tent Zippers

Keep your tent zipped up all the time.

Pick the Right Campsite

Female mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water. So, make sure your camp is a good way from water sources to avoid bug bites.

Screen Rooms on Tents

Many tents come with screen rooms. You can use these in the day to relax or for kids to play, or you can use mosquito netting to make your own haven and DIY screen room to enjoy cool air at night.

However, mosquito nets mean the insects are in the vicinity, and you would need another method to keep them away.

Bug Repellent Bracelets

If you are one camper who doesn’t like bug spray on themselves as you get sticky, bug repellent bracelets work by releasing repelling chemicals into the air around the wearer.

You can avoid bugs around you by placing these around your camp or in your tent rather than wearing them all the time.


If you can stand a strong scent, it doesn’t mean mosquitoes can. Rub your body with vinegar, or rub it on surfaces close to you, such as your picnic table, as the smell repels mosquitoes.

Metofluthrin Diffusers

Nothing needs to be applied for keeping mosquitoes at bay, or you don’t need to use a spray bottle. Metofluthrin Diffusers offer mosquito protection for up to 12 hours and offer protection from 84 to 100 percent.

What is the Best Mosquito Repellent for Camping?

Here you can find an overview of a few things to keep many bugs away from you and your campsite.

Traditional Bug Sprays and Creams

The bug sprays or creams you can purchase are effective, although some may irritate your skin. Deet is a common ingredient for many insect repellent.

Bug Repelling Diffusers

On the market, you can find large bug-repellent manufacturers selling diffusers that emit pesticides called metofluthrin. For overnight protection, these can be ideal as they last 12 hours. Some diffusers include battery-operated fans to disperse the chemical around small areas.

Clothes That Cover You

Mosquitoes are most active during the dawn and dusk hours. At these times, wear long sleeves and pants to help stop bug bites. You should note, even if you wear long sleeve shirts, some mosquitoes can bite through the fabric. You can also find insect-repellent clothing where they are infused with insect repellent.

You can, however, do this yourself with your DIY natural bug spray or natural bug repellents. One tip you may not know is not to dark clothing colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue. (Read our Guide to Camping in A Pickup Truck Bed)

clean campsite

Keep a Clean Campsite

There is more reason to go for no trace camping than to keep the area free of rubbish. A clean campsite is easier for repelling mosquitoes and bugs than a dirty one. While bugs hate certain smells, once you have an untidy campsite, there is a lot to attract bugs after a free meal.

  • Properly dispose of, or store food in a large plastic container with a secure lid.
  • Don’t leave garbage in the open or let it accumulate; instead, dispose of it as soon as possible in a designated trash receptacle.
  • As soon as you arrive at your campsite, wipe down the table, as well as after each meal. (Both white vinegar or citrus-based cleaners for repelling mosquitoes)
  • After eating, wash dishes immediately.
  • Make sure no traces of food are left when you leave your campsite or when you go to bed.
  • If you have any coffee grounds, drop these in areas with stagnant water. It isn’t a mosquito repellant; it stops the eggs of camping bugs such as mosquitoes from hatching.
  • Avoid using white or bluish lighting as mosquitoes can see ultraviolet light and are attracted to them, hence the reason they attract mosquitoes and are used in bug zappers.

open tent zipper

Tent Zips

Once you are inside your tent, the sound of a mosquito or other bugs is horrible. If you can’t deter mosquitoes then, be sure your zippers are always closed. It may not stop all getting in, yet if they need to deal with a screen room before getting into your tent, it could be enough to fend them off.

If you’re in desperate need of a bug-free refuge, consider taking a screen room or mosquito netting with you. A screen room is a wide tent or canopy with screened-in walls that allow you to see outside while still allowing for cool breezes and keeping unwanted pests out.

You can also build your own screen room by attaching mosquito netting to poles or trees nearby. While these approaches require a little more time, they could be the ideal solution for those allergic to the sight or sound of bugs.

It is possible to take other plants along and dot these around your campsite or at least your tent. Mint Eucalyptus Lavender Citronella Rosemary Sage can be small and not take much room among your camping gear.

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