Keep Bugs Away When Camping: No More Pesky Pests!

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Enjoy your time outdoors without getting bitten by pesky bugs. Follow these 9 tips to keep bugs away when camping

enjoy a bug free campsite with this guide on how to keep bugs away when camping

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Nothing can ruin a camping trip faster than swarms of buzzing insects!

The sound alone is enough to drive you crazy, and getting bit by a mosquito or wasp hurts pretty bad too!

Although it might seem impossible to bugs away from your campsite completely, there are simple strategies and tips that can help reduce their presence.

Read on to learn how to keep bugs away while camping so you can enjoy your time outside.

9 Tips To Keep Bugs Away When Camping

Avoid Camping Near Standing Water

Mosquitoes, which can carry dangerous diseases like malaria and dengue fever, breed in standing water sources. Avoid setting up camp near ponds, streams or marshes where mosquitoes are more likely to be plentiful. To avoid camping by water sources altogether, travel away from any visible signs of it on the landscape or look for sites that have been rated as dry and not located close to bodies of water. You should also keep an eye out for rainwater collection points when reserving your campsites; these may be breeding grounds for insects so choose wisely.

Dress Appropriately

When going camping, it is important to dress appropriately in order to prevent bug bites. Wear light-colored clothes with long pants and sleeves so that bugs congregate on the outside of your clothing.

Light colors also make it easier for you to spot an insect if one lands on you while out in the woods. Stick to lighter fabrics like cotton or linen, as they will be cooler and more breathable than heavier materials like wool or denim.

One great way to keep insects away while camping is by wearing insect-resistant clothing. These clothes are made from a variety of materials, such as polyester, cotton and even bamboo, that are designed to protect the skin from insects like mosquitoes and ticks, and are often pre-treated with permethrin.

Use Permethrin Treatments

Permethrin treatments are an effective way of keeping bugs away from your camping gear. This odorless insecticide is safe to use and can be applied to clothes, backpacks, tents and other items that may come into contact with insects. Not only does it deter pests such as ticks and mosquitoes but the treatment also lasts for several weeks after its application.

When using permethrin treatments on clothing or gear, make sure to read the directions carefully before applying them. It’s best to spray these products in a well-ventilated area and avoid contact with skin or eyes while spraying them. To ensure long-lasting protection against insects, re-treat your clothing and outdoor gear every 2-3 weeks during peak mosquito season.

Use Natural Bug Repellents

Keep bugs away from Your campsite with natural bug repellents. These include white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and sage. I found that spraying these liquids or rubbing them onto my skin could help deter insects from coming near me. Not only were these repellents effective but also affordable and easy to find in most stores or online.

I also discovered that using essential oil-based bug sprays can be an excellent alternative for those who would prefer not to use synthetic chemical insect repellents. Essential oils such as citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender, and marigolds have been known to have pest-repelling properties due to their strong odor. Simply adding some drops of these oils into water and spray it around your campsite can create an effective barrier against bugs.

Another natural way to keep bugs away when camping is to put dryer sheets in your tent and even in the pockets of your clothes. They repel bugs and help you smelling fresh, which is an added bonus!

Last but not least is Citronella, which is a natural bug repellent that helps keep mosquitoes and other insects away from your campsite. It’s made of the leaves and stems of the lemongrass plant, which emits a pleasant citrusy scent.

Use Insect Repellents

If you’re looking to keep bugs away while camping, consider using insect repellents. These products can be applied directly onto the skin and clothing for protection from pests like mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and gnats. Look for a product that contains DEET (N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) as an active ingredient for maximum effectiveness. Be sure to apply the repellent evenly across exposed skin surfaces!

Create A Smokey Atmosphere

Creating a smokey atmosphere by starting a small fire can be an effective way to keep bugs away when camping. Not only will it help emit smoke, but it also provides you with warmth and light which helps discourage insects from nearby. Also, who doesn’t love a good campfire?!

Gather some firewood and build a campfire, but always make sure to stick to the regulations of your campsite or campground in terms of fire-building and safety.

Store Food In Airtight Containers

Keeping food and drinks in airtight containers is a must for keeping bugs away when camping. This will stop the attraction of any wandering pests that may be searching for food.

Make sure to bring along the right supplies for your trip such as plastic tupperware, mason jars, or coolers with lids to store all of your meals and snacks. Additionally, try to keep opened foods sealed tight while they are not being consumed as well!

Cover Your Tent

Covering your tent when camping is an effective way to keep bugs away, especially mosquitoes. I always make sure that my tent is properly covered with a tarp or sheet before settling in for the night.

This helps keep out any flying insects, as well as leaves and twigs which can also be bothersome. Additionally, you should check your tent often for small holes, tears, or other openings so that pests can’t find their way inside.

Use Mosquito Nets

Mosquito nets are a great way to keep insects away from you and your pets while camping. They provide an extra layer of protection against bugs like mosquitoes and can be easily set up in any tent. Mosquito nets come in various sizes, so they’re perfect for both small tents or large family-sized ones. The netting is usually treated with an insecticide to repel bugs even more, making them a great choice if you expect lots of mosquitoes on your camping trip!

Related: How To Keep Snakes Away When Camping

What Attracts Bugs When Camping?

Standing water, food waste, and light are all potential attractants for bugs when camping.

Standing Water

Standing water is a major attractor of bugs while camping. Mosquitoes are especially drawn to pools of standing water, so it’s best to avoid areas with any existing bodies of water or low-lying damp ground.

If you do happen upon open water like ponds or lakes, be sure to keep your campers away from the shoreline and always have mosquito repellent on hand. Additionally, take extra care not to leave behind any containers that might collect rainwater as this can also become a breeding ground for pests.

Food Waste

When camping, it’s important to be mindful of food waste as this can attract nearby bugs. Anything that is edible and left out will most likely be swarmed by unwanted insects.

To prevent this, ensure that all food scraps are disposed of properly in sealed containers or bags. Additionally, store any remaining food items in airtight containers or coolers and keep them away from your campsite when not in use.


Light is one of the biggest attractants for bugs when camping, especially at night. Mosquitoes and other insects are strongly attracted to light sources, so it’s important to keep these areas dark while camping.

I recommend bringing dim or battery powered lights that can be shaded if necessary. If lighting a fire, consider using sticks or thick branches to create less light and keep the area darker.

Additionally, keeping your tent closed during nighttime hours can help keep out any unwelcome bug visitors.

How To Keep Pets Safe From Bugs When Camping

Utilizing methods such as mosquito collars & pet-safe bug sprays help to keep your beloved furry companions safe from pesky insects while camping.

Mosquito Collars

Mosquito collars are an effective way to protect your pet from insect bites while camping. These collars are lightweight, adjustable and often come in a variety of sizes to fit any type of animal. They’re also infused with long-lasting mosquito repellent, which means you don’t have to continually spray your pet throughout the trip. Additionally, these types of collars are safe for both cats and dogs and can be used for other outdoor activities as well!

Pet-Safe Bug Sprays

When camping, insect repellents can be essential to keeping your outings pleasant and bug-free. There are pet-safe bug sprays that are formulated with natural ingredients like citronella and lemongrass, which are non-toxic and safe to use on pets.

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Camping is a fun, rewarding activity for families, but it can be ruined by pesky bugs. Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself and your family safe from insects while you’re camping. By avoiding standing water, using natural and store-bought repellents, dressing appropriately, and caring for your pet appropriately, you can ensure that your camping adventure is enjoyable and bug-free! Have fun out there!

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Thomas Coleman

Thomas is a lifelong camping, fishing, and outdoor enthusiast! He is proud to be an Eagle Scout and treasures every moment he gets to spend with mother nature. He has been camping in 14 states, 3 countries, and 2 continents. When not blogging about camping and the outdoors, he enjoys photography, playing guitar, and traveling with his wife.