Some camping tips will make your adventures so much more comfortable … others will actually keep you healthy! If you think mosquitoes, flies and bugs just come with the territory when camping? Think again! We know how to keep bugs away while camping so you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors and we’re sharing our tips with you!
5 Tips To Keep Flies, Mosquitoes And Bugs Away From Your Campsite
Don’t forget, it is important to control pests for your comfort as well as health and your personal safety while camping!
#1. Moisture & Dirt Elimination To Keep Mosquitoes & Flies Away While Camping
People are surprised when I say, “Stay Dry!” in response to their question of how to keep mosquitoes away while camping. Mosquitoes, flies and other bugs are attracted to wet and dirty environments.
Before you even set up camp, you can help to minimize the attraction of bugs by choosing a camp location that is dry. Try to avoid areas with standing water like ponds and puddles.
How to keep flies away starts with a clean and dry campsite. Here are a few DO’s and DON’T’s:
- DON’T: leave open food around your site.
- DO: dispose of food waste in a container you can close like this Collapsible Garbage Can With Zipper Lid.
- DO: wash your dishes and cookware immediately after use.
Some Odors Attract Bugs And Others Repel Them
We do as much boondocking as possible … and our favorite place is camping in National Forests … which has some drawbacks including grazing cattle.
When you are wondering how to keep flies away from you … let them hang out with the cows!
We avoid setting up near the grazing cattle because the flies, mosquitoes and other bugs swarm to them!
#2. Odors That Keep Bugs Away While Camping
If you have a camping mosquito who wants to join your party, here are a few smelly options you might want to try.
Clothing, Gear And Body Scent Elimination Kits
Some bugs are attracted to scents associated with bodies and hygiene products … you smell bad, the bugs like it … you smell good, the bugs like it … you don’t smell at all, you like it!
You don’t have to be a hunter to use a Clothing, Gear And Body Scent Elimination Kit. This system contains laundry bombs, dryer sheets, biodegradable wash towels, body soap, shampoo and more!
You can actually eliminate scents from clothing, gear and your body with this stuff that is gentle on humans and the environment.
Most people know mosquitoes hate citronella candles; did you also know they have an aversion to herbs like lavender, mint, lemon balm and sage? Personally, I like using jarred candles that have a nice scent I enjoy … but, the mosquitoes hate!
This one is with natural soy wax and citronella based ingredients and a special blend of essential oils including lemongrass and peppermint. This candle should be used outdoors and burns for over 80 hours.
In addition to candles, you can use tiki torches to burn Citronella Tiki Torch Fuel to deter critters. This particular brand doesn’t contain any hazardous chemicals that are listed under the US Clean-Water Act or California Prop. 65. The mixture produces less smoke and soot as compared to other fuel options.
Sage Bundle Smudge Sticks
Love campfires as much as you hate bugs? One of my favorite options for how to keep mosquitoes away incorporates one of my favorite camping activities … tending the campfire!
When you throw Sage Smudge Sticks into your campfire they produce scents that deter the pesky bugs.
It is important to not attract them in the first place, but, you’ll need to continue to use these devices to keep mosquitoes away while camping through the duration of your trip.
Dang, that means we need to have another campfire! LOL
Mosquito Repellent Coils
Oh, don’t we love good old Citronella Mosquito Repellent Coils?!?!
They have been around forever … because they work!
Each coil burns 5-7 hours and has a range of up to 10 feet.
The one thing I don’t love about these things … they almost look like toys to young kids so do some “Don’t touch this” training if you have little ones camping with you.
The Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller is a DEET-free mosquito repellent for camping and other outdoor activities.
It uses a fuel cartridge to heat a repellent mat that releases allethrin … a synthetic copy of the natural repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers!
You will get a 15-foot protection zone that provides 12 hours of relief from this lightweight, cordless and portable device.
#3. Spray Barriers That Keep Bugs Away While Camping
Creating an invisible barrier is a popular way to keep bugs away while camping.
DEET Insect Repellent
You can use a spray directly on your body and clothing or you can spray the surrounding air.
DEET has a bit of controversy associated with it; even though some environmental agencies have determined it is safe, there is not absolute consensus on the matter.
Products that contain it, like Ben’s 100% DEET Mosquito/Insect Repellent, are very effective.
If you want to make your own natural recipe, you can spray white vinegar or apple cider vinegar around your campsite and on your clothes.
Essential Oil Bug Spray
If using DEET is not your thing … you may prefer a gentler alternative on your body. Essential oils are well-liked by people who want to avoid a DEET-based product.
DIY Essential Oil Bug Spray
If you want to make your own essential oil bug spray mixture, here’s a basic recipe.
DIY Essential Oil Bug Spray
- 1 Spray bottle
- 1/2 cup of natural witch hazel
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol
- 12 drops essential oil (any oil with an aroma that deters bugs, see note below)
- Mix the ingredients into a spray bottle.
- Shake to combine.
- Spray around your campsite and on your clothes.
Essential oils that tend to deter bugs include:
- Citrus fruits
Did you know some bracelets are made with essential oils that can effectively repel mosquitoes? They come in all sorts of colors and fit kids and adults!
Insect foggers are used to spray barriers. They immediately clear large areas of mosquitoes and flies around camp.
Although effective, how to keep mosquitoes away with insect foggers is not usually easy while camping because most foggers are electric requiring a normal household plug and long extension cord … items not easily accessible on camping trips.
If you think fogging is a good option for you, consider this Propane Insect Fogger which is powered using camping propane that comes in cylinders (either tall-14.1 oz. or short-16.4 oz. canisters) rather than electric … making this unit super portable and easy to use in remote locations.
Did you ever think killing flies and bugs could actually be FUN? Probably not!
The Bug-A-Salt uses regular table salt to eliminate bugs by spraying it in a shotgun pattern to eliminate bugs on the first shot … well … depending on the aim of the shooter!
The gun is a fun way for adults to win the battle over bugs! This gadget is not intended to be used by kids.
Would you be surprised if I told you these bug shooting contraptions to keep bugs away are some of the most popular camping gifts for men? I’m thinking, you’re not too surprised! LOL
#4. Physical Barriers That Keep Bugs Away While Camping
Sometimes the bugs are so ferocious that an invisible deterrent won’t be enough to stay bug-free and a physical barrier is the only thing that will keep bugs away while camping.
Most gear has gaps … which means mosquitoes, flies and bugs can find their way in to tents and RVs … do your best to keep tents zipped and RVs screened throughout your trip so you don’t have to deal with trying to chase the insects out.
Screen Food Cover Tents
On the food front, there is nothing more unappetizing than watching a legion of flies having a party on the food you are ready to eat!
So my answer of how to keep flies away from campsite food is using bug nets, like Mesh Screen Food Covers to cover individual foods that are set on your picnic table.
Magnetic Screen House
If you want to keep flies away from the food and the people while they are eating it … screen rooms, like a Tailgaterz Magnetic Screen House, make effective outdoor fly control rooms.
You can also cover your body with long sleeve shirts and pants.
Try to keep your neck and head protected with head nets, like a Coghlan’s No-See-Um Head Net … it is designed to be worn over a hat or other head gear.
Caps & Screens For RV Openings
If you are camping in an RV, make sure you cover any access points where bugs can enter.
Create a barrier that allows airflow but prevents bugs from entering and nesting.
Camco Flying Insect Screens protect furnace vents and Camco No Insect Bumper Caps protect bumpers (where most RVers store their dump hoses.)
Disposable outdoor hanging fly traps are a popular method to lure flies away from your campsite. An attractant bait has a scent that brings the flies to the trap where they enter through a cap and drown in water. These things smell so you’ll want to hang them at least 20 feet away from living spaces.
#5. Light And Electricity To Keep Bugs Away While Camping
Did you know you can use lights and electricity to deter pests?
Mosquito Repellent LED Camping Lantern
The best mosquito repellent for camping could possibly be the ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Pest Control Outdoor And Cordless Camping Lantern because it is a functional piece of camping gear that also happens to keep mosquitoes away from the surrounding area!
It has a 15-foot by 15-foot zone of protection. Do you also want to know how to keep flies away? If you guessed … use this lantern … you are correct! It silently repels mosquitos, black flies and other flying/biting insects!
On the lighter side (get it, “light”-er), this camping lantern is lightweight, cordless and portable. It has eight LED lights and is powered by four AAA batteries.
Electric Bug Zapper Racket
After the sun goes down, bugs tend to be attracted to lights so try to stay darker than the campsite next door … LOL!
But seriously, try to keep the light level low and consider using an Electric Bug Zapper Racket to swat bugs that invade your campsite.
Not only are zapper rackets effective, they can be a fun “game” with competitive campers keeping score!
Mosquito Repellent Yellow Light Lamp
This Ryno Tuff LED Light Remote Control Camping Lantern is one of the most awesome camping lights that was designed to deal with the issue of how to keep mosquitoes and flies away from campsites!
There are 5 settings on this lantern … one of the best is the insect-enemy yellow bulb making the light practically invisible to most insects … including mosquitoes! It does not attract bugs like standard bulbs do!!!
As a “normal” camping lantern, the highest setting shines an ultrabright white light … 150 lumens strong. On the lowest setting the battery life will last over 300 hours … on brightest white light setting it will last over 4 hours … and can be fully recharged in less than 4 hours!
Another cool feature of this lantern is the IR remote control that can operate the lantern up to 30 feet away! The lantern and casing are 100% waterproof and dustproof too!
More Camping Tips & Awesome Meals
These lights that keep bugs away are great but there are times you need a specific light for a specific task. Our campsite lights post has some really cool ideas for multi-purpose/multi-powered camping lights.
You won’t forget to pack your bug spray or any other gear if you use our camping checklist when you pack!
Food Ingredients That Keep Bugs Away
Don’t forget, bugs hate the smell of garlic and onions so make sure you are cooking and eating recipes that include those ingredients!