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Proven Ways to Repel Bugs When Camping

It’s a beautiful time of year to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. But while you may have been looking forward to a family camping trip or backpacking, there are some pesky bugs that might be just as excited about your arrival. These little creatures can ruin a good time in many ways, from making it uncomfortable for you, your family, and friends by biting into exposed skin, to spoiling food supplies by infesting them with their eggs or larvae, to stinging any animal around them which then feels the effects through your campsite. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can keep these bugs away

8 Tips for Keeping Bugs Away While Camping

1. Staying Clean

One of the easiest ways to prevent bugs is to keep yourself clean on your journey, especially after sweating. If you’re not into the idea of carrying around anything extra on your journey, then try using some towelettes or wipes with bug-repelling ingredients like citronella oils. These will help keep bugs away while you travel and do other activities, and you can throw them away after using them, so you don’t have to carry them around the whole time!

Sweat attracts these creatures more than you might think, so not only should you make sure to wash off really well after exercising or spending time in nature, but it’s best not to wear the same clothes over long periods of time. This is especially important when backpacking or camping in very warm climates, where you may be sweating more. 

2. Use Insect Repellent Sprays

For any time you spend out in nature, it’s best to bring along your favorite type of insect repellent, depending on what kinds of bugs are most common where you’re camping. For example, if the woods have lots of mosquitos that might carry diseases, then do your research and choose a repellent that will give you the best chance of not being bitten.

Be aware, however, that most bug repellents are designed to last longer than your average sunscreen or perfume. If a mere squirt bottle isn’t enough to keep these buggers away, then try using bug repellent sprays (that don’t harm the environment). These sprays usually contain a strong fragrance that startles bugs and keeps them away. Some research has shown that citronella can actually repel some bug species better than DEET (a common ingredient in insect repellents), so it might be worth trying if you already have some of this on hand.

3. Essential Oils

Essential oils are made by taking plants or flowers and distilling them into tiny, concentrated amounts that have a much stronger scent than the original plant. Lavender is commonly used in repelling bugs, but you can also try other options like lemongrass oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, neem oil, patchouli oil, or citronella.

Citronella is considered the best natural pest control by many, which is why this ingredient is most commonly found in pest repellent products. Combined with other ingredients like aloe vera gel or witch hazel to help it spread well, you can make your own bug spray using one of these oils.

4. Bug Repellent Candles

There are also bug repellent candles that you can purchase, which provide even more protection. They’re usually made of citronella oil, just like some repellent sprays, and light up an area with their strong aroma. These are especially useful if you have to set up your campsite right near some bushes or other habitats. Citronella candles are another great way to keep bugs away!

They can be especially useful in keeping mosquitoes away because it mimics the smell of other insects that they prey on. They have scented candles with citronella oil mixed into them, which is then burned to keep bugs at bay. Not only do citronella candles work for camping or backpacking trips, but you can even use one as a mosquito repellent at home.

5. DIY Bug Spray Recipes with Oil

There are a number of DIY recipes online that you can try with oils to make your own bug spray. A simple recipe is just a mixture of 20 drops of citronella oil with two teaspoons of witch hazel and water – use this mixture as your bug spray. Another good one is the addition of 10 drops each of lavender, peppermint, and cedarwood oils with witch hazel and water.

Some people prefer to use simple aloe vera gel as the base for their bug spray recipes instead of witch hazel, so this might be a good way to save money on ingredients. One last recipe with citronella oil is also great: two teaspoons each of rosewater and witch hazel, 15 drops of citronella oil, and one teaspoon of vegetable glycerin can help repel mosquitoes.

6. Keep Food Sealed

Another important thing to remember is that the more food you have open, the more likely it is for bugs to find you and feast on them! Be sure to keep your camping food sealed in bags or containers at all times when backpacking or camping, this includes not just trail mix but cooked meats, bread, and any other snacks you have on hand. Store your food the best way you can! Even if you’re tempted to share your trail mix with the chipmunk who keeps hanging around, try throwing him a granola bar instead!

7. Keep Everything Dry

Bugs also love moist areas, so be sure that everything is completely dry before having a snack or laying down your sleeping bag. This means that you should shake out any towels or other supplies before using them. You can even keep a small travel towel in your car to shake things off when you’re exploring the outdoors! 

8. Check Your Equipment

Finally, another way bugs find you is by crawling into your camping or backpacking equipment and then making their home there on your journey. Make sure you check all of your gear before using it, if not the first time, at least after a rainstorm! This includes wiping off any food wrappers as well as checking for any kind of eggs or larvae that may have been left behind by some stowaway bugs, like ticks. if you have a camping checklist this will be easy


You can use a variety of methods to keep bugs away from your campsite while you’re enjoying the great outdoors. From DIY recipes with oils, citronella candles, and repellent wipes to keeping everything in its place – it’s important not only for comfort but also for safety!  This means that if any gear or food is left out overnight, it’ll be even more likely for mosquitoes to find their way inside and bite unsuspecting campers. So follow these tips next time you go camping, so you don’t have to deal with pesky bug bites all weekend long!

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