Camping, mosquito repellent. These three words often blend together like the protons, electrons and neutrons in the oxygen we inhale deeply when we arrive at the campsite and make contact with nature.
Camping is usually a highly rewarding moment of relaxation and openness to nature. The contact with nature, with the earth, the bark of the trees, and their colorful leaves transform and soothe us, of course.
Mosquitoes tend to proliferate with heat and humidity, and campers is a favorite target.
I am being chased; if there are several people, the mosquitoes will go after me. And they make me horrible welts, which I won’t show in the post because it’s disgusting, but if you allow me to tell you a little bit about what has worked the most and the least for me to keep these little guys away.
Of course, it is impossible to avoid them 100%, but it is possible to reduce their incidence or make it more difficult for them.
What is The Easiest Way to Repel Mosquitoes?
There are many industrial products and procedures to repel mosquitoes, but using homemade and easily available elements, even in remote areas, can be very simple.
For example, citrus and cloves, garlic and tea, or citronella.
Obviously, this first option of homemade repellent includes another latent one: getting an industrial repellent, usually in aerosol or cream form, to apply on the skin (be careful with the eyes!).
It should be clarified that repellents may have natural ingredients (citrodiol) or not (chemical compounds) and that, in any case, it is always advisable to check their use in pregnant women and children.
In my case, currently, in the van, we have the typical plug-in, and outside, we use citronella candles. I have also used the bracelet, an ultrasonic device that I carried on my keychain and in Buenos Aires I use OFF, the best aerosol repellent I have ever tried.
The bad thing is that I have not been able to get it in another country.
Choose a Dry Camping Site
Like everything else, the context conditions the phenomenon. Mosquitoes proliferate in humid places (their larvae are aquatic). Therefore, choosing a dry camping site can significantly reduce their presence.
To make the right choice, it is advisable to check that there are no wells with stagnant water or pools nearby and that the soil is dry both where the tent is pitched and in the surrounding areas.
Before the pharmaceutical industry produced products for everything, popular ingenuity solved everyday problems with elements that were close at hand. Thus, essential oils have always been an ally in the fight against mosquitoes.
Water, alcohol and essential oils of citronella (the most popular), blue eucalyptus, lavender, lemon thyme, geranium or lemon are proven to be effective in repelling insects.
In addition to keeping mosquitoes away, it is worth adding that, in case we like any of the aromas (surely yes, it is a matter of trying), we can enjoy a feeling of relaxation due to the fragrance of the element in question.
- Read: What to bring for cooking on a camping trip
- Read: What to take on a camper van trip
- Read: First-time camper or motorhome travel tips
Mosquito Nets for Camping
Tents or gazebos are essential to maintain that minimal but necessary division between indoors and outdoors to be in contact with nature but not outdoors. In that sense, having a screen or mosquito net is a great advantage.
The screen or mosquito net allows two fundamental elements to enter your tent, air and light, while at the same time preventing the entry of insects of all kinds, including mosquitoes.
Eliminate Stagnant Water
Stagnant water can be conducive to the gestation of mosquito larvae, which are aquatic and take advantage of the humidity to grow.
A good practice to avoid this type of insect is to check for stagnant water and, if found, remove it.
With this simple procedure, we can prevent mosquitoes from proliferating and, along with that, prevent the diseases they can transmit and the discomfort they usually cause.
When it comes to avoiding mosquitoes, one option to consider is repellent bracelets. Generally and mostly composed of natural aromatic substances (such as citronella), the bracelets can be useful in repelling mosquitoes.
Its use is very simple, and it is enough to put the bracelet on the body, generally on the wrists.
However, it should be noted that its general use serves in a relative and limited way, given its punctual localization in one extremity or another (arms or legs). For this reason, its use is recommended as partial and complementary rather than exclusive.
In addition, special care should be taken about their components, especially if biocides are used instead of natural substances.
Finally, special care should be taken for travelers going to areas endemic to mosquito-borne diseases (such as dengue, malaria, Zika, etc.), as the bracelet does not prevent transmission in any way.
Another good practice to keep insects away is to carry a mosquito exterminator. Those designed to operate outdoors can be great camping companions.
Insect exterminators function as a light (attracting insects) and an internal electric circuit (electrocuting the insects by attracting them). It may be a bit blunt, but they are certainly effective artifacts.
In general, it is a wire mesh that conducts electricity at high voltage and is coated with materials that insulate it from us but allow light to pass through so that insects can approach its center.
For campsites, it is best to find those wireless models which, once charged, work with some autonomy and allow us to make our outdoor life really free of insects.
Long Sleeve Shirts
In addition to repelling, depending on the climate and location, a valid option is to insulate. In this case, the skin of insects, through clothing, covers it properly. A long-sleeved shirt, in this sense, can be very useful.
Of course, there are different materials of shirts that can serve the different needs of the weather (cooler, thicker), and that, at the same time, will protect us from insect bites.
Lighting a Campfire
Fire and smoke repel mosquitoes, so every time we light a fire, we use a natural repellent.
In addition to connecting us with nature and serving as food or comfort in case of cool weather or cool nights, the fire will allow us to gather around it and tell stories, as since time immemorial, safe from bites.
- Read: What to pack for camping
Citrus Fruits, Garlic, and Onion
Just as there are phenomena (such as light) that attract mosquitoes, there are also things that repel them and, good news, they are natural and easily found. For example, citrus fruits, garlic and onions.
We have already mentioned the power of lemon to repel mosquitoes. Well, we can also use other citrus fruits and follow some homemade recipes to keep them away.
For example, we can cut in half an orange (or lemon or any citrus fruit) and fix it inside some aromatic cloves. Thus, we will obtain a small natural portable repellent.
However, there is also the possibility of consuming some foods that, by altering some behaviors of our organism (sweat, odor), such as garlic and onion, will deter mosquitoes from approaching our skin.
Indeed, our body can also be, properly nourished, a repellent or, better, an unattractive and even unpleasant prey for mosquitoes. By releasing allicin through the pores, garlic and onion will keep us safe.
Turning Off the Lights
We know that one of the main attraction poles for mosquitoes (and insects in general) are lights, so turning them off is one of the first instincts you have if you want a place free of their buzzing.
Turning off the lights, of course, has its inevitable consequence: darkness. However, the only way to enable us to see is not to rely on an electric light. As mentioned above, campfires or mosquito exterminators can be useful for this purpose.
Mosquito repellents or pesticides are tools as effective as they are worthy of being applied with certain basic precautions.
First of all, it is important to distinguish between the use of personal repellents (which can even be used cosmetically) and those for environmental use (more suitable for indoor than outdoor use).
As for those for personal use, it is sufficient not to apply it on wounds or in the eyes and to carefully read the instructions for use (especially for pregnant women and children, who often have to opt for special variables for them).
As for environmental products, whether in the form of tablets, coils or aerosols, in liquids to evaporate or to light in torches, it is important to always keep them out of the reach of children, follow the instructions for use and maintain hygiene after using the product.
In addition, it is always advisable to keep the rooms ventilated, not to cover this type of devices and to keep a prudent distance from them to not breathe directly on them (special attention for people with allergies or respiratory conditions).
Vinegar spray is another effective repellent, properly mixed with water or alcohol and some scent (citronella or eucalyptus, for example). In general, 1/3, 1/3 and about 10 drops of these respective ingredients and we will have a diffuser ready.
Like apple cider vinegar as a food, vinegar spray repels mosquitoes by its particular odor. It may be less elegant for those with an exquisite sense of smell, but for a natural and open environment, it can be an excellent solution.
Insect Repellent Candles
Candles: light, fire, smoke. If we also combine these factors with the uniqueness of being made of citronella, for example (to name the most easily available), we will have an element that is at once elegant, exquisite, and effective to keep insects away.
A candle always adds a magical touch to any moment, anywhere. Create an atmosphere. If, in addition, it cleans it of mosquitoes, then double merit for this resource. A must-have.
Electronic Insect Repellents
Electronic or ultrasonic insect repellents are based on the emission of sounds inaudible to humans, which, however, can be effective for mosquitoes (or other insects or animals).
The problem with opting for this solution (which is hypothetically faultless) is to find the right device that works and whose sound is both correctly configured and not adapted to the tolerance of insects.
On the other hand, it is also worth mentioning that it is advisable to check the intensity of the ultrasonic frequencies emitted by the device to avoid possible damages derived from excess in that sense.
In my case, I have tried several and in the end, at night, with the silence, you end up hearing the beep. Now in the van, we have the typical plug-in mosquito repellent and it is what works best for us inside the van and the candles outside.
Keep the Area Clean
As in any kitchen or campground or house, cleanliness in the camp is essential to keep insects (mosquitoes, but also flies and other animals) away from our tent.
Remember that everything that is food, leftover food or drink, humidity, waste and heat will inevitably attract them. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a methodical and regular cleaning after each meal or similar moment.
Clean store, clean air, clean environment. Simple as a cycle of nature.
What Scent Will Keep Insects Away?
Citronella, but also lavender, rosemary, mint and lemon are some of the aromas or scents that will keep mosquitoes away (at least partially).
Having a natural (plant) or artificial (diffuser) element to emit these aromas can undoubtedly be a very effective complementary resource to keep our territory free of mosquitoes.
When is the Best Time to Go Camping?
In general, the subject of the best time to go camping can be a matter of debate subject to the personal tastes of each traveler, but we can say with peace of mind that fall and spring are great times to go camping.
The reason for these seasons is that having just started or just averaged; they usually offer mild temperatures without reaching the heat or cold peaks of the seasons that precede or precede them.
Such temperatures will allow (obviously, depending on the region) to travel relatively light and enjoy the outdoors without making contact with nature an act of abnegation and sacrifice.
They also tend to be times of less rainfall and, in the case of the sierras and mountains, to configure really colorful landscapes and beautiful postcards.
It is always advisable to carry travel insurance, even more so if we plan to be in contact with nature (which is beautiful and relaxing, of course, until it occurs to you to prove otherwise).
Travel insurance that provides 24-hour care will allow us to truly relax, knowing that we are covered for any possible bad step that, of course, we do not plan to take (but how reassuring to know that, if we do take it, it will not be serious).
If you need travel insurance, ask for a quote here. You have a 5% discount.
Plan Your Camping Trip
- Healthy meals for camping
- Tips for traveling by camper van or motorhome
- Essentials to take on a van or motorhome trip
- How to Heat a tent in Cold Weather
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Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.