10 Best Things to Repel Mosquitoes While Camping

Camping is a fun and exciting experience. However, when the mosquitoes start to invade your campsite, you’ll be the cause of the itchy bites. Also, the buzzing will keep you awake, spoiling the fun of the outdoor adventure. As you catch up on the last few days of the camping season, we listed here the best thing to repel mosquitoes.

3M Ultrathon
Insect Repellent
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OFF! Deep Woods
Dry Aerosol
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Skymore Citronella
Bracelet Kit
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Murphy’s Mosquito
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Candle Charisma
Citronella Tealights
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Will a campfire repel the mosquitoes?

It actually depends on what you burn on the fire. If you’re using typical firewood, then the campfire doesn’t have any repellent effect. In fact, it produces more carbon dioxide, which may attract mosquitoes.

Aside from that, most campers gather around the fire, making the CO2 more concentrated on a single area.

One thing that you can do to make the campfire a giant mosquito repellent is to burn essential oils. Slather the wood with citronella, lavender, cinnamon, and other oils with insect repellent effects.

If you don’t want to waste such amount of essential oil, you can use neem leaves. Let the fresh leaves burn on the fire. Moreover, the oils and extracts from these are natural mosquito repellents.

Things that attract mosquitoes to a campsite

Mosquitoes are everywhere, but they are more prominent on campsites. These places are packed with people producing lots of CO2 and are walking blood sources. Also, campers possess the following attractants that make them easy pickings for mosquitoes:


Sweat is one of the leading mosquito magnets. In addition, each of us produces a different scent, often associated with sweating. In addition, the higher the lactic acid in your sweat is, the tastier you appear on these insects.

Aside from being the cue of mosquitoes, these insects can also use your sweat as a source of hydration. Also, your sweat keeps your body warm, another factor that pulls mosquitoes to humans.

➡️Body heat and movement

Imagine mosquitoes as heat sensors. When their eyes meet your body, they will detect you as a potential host. And to confirm, they will approach your skin and feed on your blood.

Also, this may sound surprising, but moving also increases your chances of being bitten by mosquitoes. The reason here is that movement increases your body heat and it also makes you sweat.

➡️Perfumes and fragrances

Contrary to some beliefs, mosquitoes aren’t just attracted to stinky stuff. Even some fragrances are appealing to these insects. Some scents are known to be attractive for mosquitoes.

One thing you should know is that all mosquitoes feed on nectar to survive. However, since female mosquitoes need to reproduce, they have to suck blood.

With this, it’s said that fragrances that sugary scents are more appealing to mosquitoes. Besides, if you’re camping, there’s no need to slather yourself with perfumes.

➡️Carbon dioxide

Heat and carbon dioxide come hand in hand. Also, both are produced by the body. Also, CO2 is the cue mosquitoes use to spot a potential host.

Moreover, CO2 is the main attractant of mosquitoes while you’re sleeping. Since you’re immobile, the CO2 production is concentrated within your sleeping quarters. This is the reason why you should use screen rooms in your tent when camping.


Again, mosquitoes need moisture to reproduce and survive. Depending on the component of the urine, it may actually invite the insects to join your campsite.

➡️Dirty clothes

Your dirty clothes are filled with sweat and other smell that mosquitoes will find appealing. To prove this, hang a sweaty shirt during the night and check after a few minutes. Chances are there will be a few mosquitoes clinging on it.

Also, the attractant effect will be stronger if your clothes are dark in color.

Best thing to repel mosquitoes while camping

The summer season is also the top mosquito season. This is why campsites are mired with various bloodsucking insects. And to protect your skin from the bites and possible communicable diseases, you should use some of these repellent methods.

➡️Trap the mosquitoes

If you’re looking for an inexpensive solution to the mosquito problem, your best bet is mosquito traps. These are either battery or propane-powered devices that mimic the CO2 production of a host.

Once the mosquito enters the device, it will be trapped in the container. Soon enough, the insects will die of dehydration and starvation.

These traps are excellent diversions so your skin will be safe from the bites. Also, these devices can cover more ground than coils alone. In fact, you can run it all day as long as the power source hasn’t run out yet. For large campsites, several traps will be ideal.

However, if you don’t have the budget for the fancy units, you can make a DIY trap. Here’s a quick guide for an economical campsite mosquito trap: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Plastic-Bottle-Mosquito-Trap

For the DIY trap to function well, you have to place several units around your tent.

➡️Light some candles

Do the mosquitoes buzz on your ear during dinner? Instead of losing your mind, you only have to light a few citronella candles. It’s because the calming scent of lemongrass is repulsive to mosquitoes. After a few minutes of lighting up the candles, you will notice that the mosquitoes have flown away.

You can also use lavender candles and other types infused with essential oil. The science here is simple: you use the flame of the candle to diffuse the oil. In this case, the essential oil is blended on the candle wax.

In case you only have typical candlesticks, you can inject it with citronella to mimic the function of commercially available citrus candles.

If candles aren’t your thing, you can also add citronella oil on your kerosene lamp. This will provide the same burning effect.

Aside from repelling the mosquitoes, you also get to deodorize your campsite. Just a reminder: NEVER light citronella candles inside your tent!

➡️Use mosquito coils

Mosquito coils are popular among campers and probably the best thing to repel mosquitoes outdoors. Since it can repel and kill mosquitoes, it hits two birds with one stone. Also, each coil can burn for up to 7 hours. However, if you prefer using mosquito sticks, you’ll only have protection for up 2.5 hours.

Mosquito coils are made from a small percentage of pyrethrin and other non-active chemicals used to make the mixture harden. As the coil smolders, the pyrethrins are released. Although most coils smell smoky, some versions are infused with a citrus smell, even lavender or cherry blossom scents.

Mosquito coils are perfect for outdoor use since it emits smoke. However, avoid placing this too close on your tent since the smoldering tip can burn the material and even cause a small fire.

For maximum protection against mosquitoes, place the coils at least 10 feet apart. However, coils become less effective in windy areas. Also, you have to keep the coils dry. Otherwise, it will not light up.

➡️Choose light colors

Mosquitoes love the color black and blue. Also, dark-colored clothes retain heat when struck by sunlight. When this happens, you’ll tend to sweat more; thus, you become more attractive to the insects.

You can avoid the extra bites by wearing fresh clothes with lighter colors like khaki or white. In addition, light-colored clothes are more comfortable to wear if you’re out for some camping activities during the day.

Anyway, switching to light-colored clothes isn’t a guarantee that your skin will be bite-free 100%. You still have to practice other repellent methods to drive the mosquitoes away.

➡️Apply a strong skin repellent

If you want the best thing to repel mosquitoes, nothing beats applying a skin insect repellent. Usually, it will come in the form of a lotion or spray infused with natural or synthetic chemicals that mosquitoes find repulsive.

Most commercial insect repellents can last for hours. Below, we reviewed the 3M insect repellent lotion, which can give up to 11 hours of protection for each application. With this, you’ll have peace of mind while seizing all the fun of camping.

However, you should still check the compatibility of the ingredients to your skin type. Those who have very sensitive skin will have mild irritations when using synthetic ingredients live pyrethrins or DEET. Anyway, if you don’t have any history of such irritations, any repellent will do.

In addition, the most effective repellents have a citrus scent. Aside from the active ingredients, this strong smell will also help repel the insects like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and bed bugs.

➡️Love mint like you mean it

While camping, it will help to obsess with everything minty. Use mint toothpaste, melt mint candies on your mouth, use a mint-based repellent spray, or crush a few mint leaves and sprinkle it around your tent. Again, mosquitoes hate the strong smell of mint, which will keep them away from your skin.

If you can’t get real mint leaves, you can use a mint mouthwash to spray around your tent. This will help reduce the presence of mosquitoes around your camp. Still, this will only last for a few hours. You’re better off using mint oil diluted in a small amount of water.

If ever you get tired of mint, you can switch to eucalyptus. However, you shouldn’t apply eucalyptus oil directly to the skin. This essential oil is potent and can cause skin irritations.

Another good alternative to mint and eucalyptus is peppermint. If you want, you can even blend them or mix other oils to achieve the scent that you want.

➡️Wear repellent bracelets

Another famous mosquito repellent on campsites is repellent bracelets. These are rubber or fabric bracelets infused with citronella and other active ingredients. As you wear it on your wrist, these chemicals are released slowly. The bracelet then creates a repellent radius around your body which reduces the bites.

You can also hang these bracelets on your tent, chair, and other spots on your camping site. Below, we reviewed an insect repellent bracelet that you can bring on the camp. For utmost protection, we recommend that you purchase a pack. It’s affordable and you can have enough supply for the entire week.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge that some may experience irritations while wearing bracelets. In this case, you should consider options with natural ingredients instead of synthetic pyrethrins.

Also, insect repellent bracelets are only effective for a few days. Also, you should seal the unused pieces to keep the repellency intact. If you soak the bracelet repeatedly during camping, it will lose its effects faster.

➡️Use dryer sheets

If you don’t have the budget to purchase expensive repellents, you can simply stash a box of dryer sheets from the laundry. These are effective in repelling the mosquitoes by placing one on your pocket or hanging it around or inside your tent.

Aside from mosquitoes, dryer sheets also repel fungus gnats, weevils, German cockroaches, and mites. Still, studies are yet to provide solid proof to its repellency. It’s not the best thing to repel mosquitoes, but it surely works to some extent.

Nevertheless, many campers and homeowners have proven the use of dryer sheets in warding off biting insects. Thanks to the linalool content of dryer sheets.

Linalool is a compound commonly found in essential oils like lavender, cinnamon oil, and other citrus oils. The linalool substance is also found on scented dryer sheets like Bounce, Gain, and Snuggle.

As much as dryer sheets will work in keeping the mosquitoes away, avoid putting it directly on your skin. Since it’s used in the wash, dryer sheets contain potent substances that will cause irritation.

➡️Diffuse your essential oils

Essential oils are liquid gold when it comes to insect repellency and extermination. These natural oils don’t just make your tent smell good; it will also keep the insects and other biting pests off your spot.

One of the best examples here is citronella oil. This is a common ingredient among insect sprays, mosquito sticks, and other repellent products. In addition, the strong scent of citronella suffocates mosquitoes and helps mask your CO2 emission and the odor of your skin.

Meanwhile, the likes of lavender oil, cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil, mint oil, and more are also effective in driving blood-sucking insects.

You don’t need to bring an oil diffuser on your campsite. As an alternative, you can mix the essential oil to your kerosene lamp so it will be diffused without the need to power up an electronic diffuser.

If you’re starting a campfire, spritz essential oils on the wood. This will give the campsite a nice whiff while guarding everyone from the threat of mosquitoes.

➡️Use tents with screen rooms

Screen rooms are useful so you can ventilate your tent without exposing it to the open. Also, this will keep the mosquitoes away if you want to take an afternoon nap while letting the breeze in.

Some tents come with a built-in screen room. If yours don’t have one, you can purchase an insect mesh and create your own door mesh. You can attach this to your tent, so you no longer have to invest in a new model.

If you’re willing to go extreme, you can purchase a wearable mosquito net. You can put it on at night or during the day. However, this will impede your movement, and honestly, it’s not something you’d wish to wear during a hot summer day.

Mosquito Repellent Camping Essentials

If you’re packing for a camping weekend, make sure that you bring any or some of these:

3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent

best thing to repel mosquitoes

If there’s one repellent we strongly recommend it’s the 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent. This is a repellent lotion that will keep mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas, deer flies, ticks, gnats, and biting flies. Each application of this 3M repellent will give you lasting protection for up to 12 hours.

The best part here is that this lotion is splash-proof. This means that you’ll get equal protection even if you got soaked in the rain or if your camping activities require you to swim.

The 3M Ultrathon lotion has a unique slow-release formula that gives you longer protection than other repellents. It’s the best thing to repel mosquitoes without the need to spray insecticides around.

Such a repellent level is possible through the 34.34% DEET content of this lotion. That’s more than what you can find on most insect repellent nowadays. Nevertheless, it doesn’t harm the skin, but you’d have to deal with a little stickiness.

In addition, this product is made for military use so the deployed troops will be shielded against malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, and other diseases brought by mosquitoes. That’s added guarantee for 3M’s protection.

✔️Protection lasts for up to 12 hours
✔️Splash-proof protection
✔️Contains 34.34% DEET
❌A bit sticky to the feeling

OFF! Deep Woods Dry

best thing to repel mosquitoes

If you’re not a fan of lotion repellents, you can consider the OFF! Deep Woods Dry Aerosol Spray. It’s easier to apply plus it dries faster than lotion. Overall, this OFF! Insect repellent is made of 25% DEET that can repel mosquitoes, flies, ticks, gnats, and other biting insects.

Each application of the OFF! Deep Woods spray will last for about 8 hours. Also, what we like the most about this product is its powder dry formula. It’s not sticky or greasy, plus you can spray it in a sweeping motion to cover as much skin as possible within minutes.

Aside from applying this to your skin, you can also spray this on your clothes, tent, and towels. Just make sure that you hold it at least 8 inches away for better application,

Overall, OFF! Deep Woods spray is perfect for families since it’s safe to use on kids. However, when applying it to children, spray the formula on your hands and rub it on their bodies. Avoid spraying it directly to the skin of children.

✔️A powder-dry formula that’s not greasy
✔️Protection lasts for hours
✔️Safe for kids
❌Not splash-proof

Skymore Citronella Bracelet Kit

best thing to repel mosquitoes

Another repellent you can consider is the Skymore Citronella Bracelet Kit. Each pack has 12 bracelets with 5 different colors – all of which are infused with citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender extracts.

Each piece is made from comfortable fiber that even kids can wear. Also, each one lasts for long, so you no longer have to spray or apply any skin repellent.

One pack is enough to cover your family for days. Also, if you’re camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, the Skymore citronella bracelets are a must-have.

Also, this bracelet is adjustable to fit small to medium-sized wrists. It also has a nice scent so your kids will enjoy wearing one.

If you’re camping, you can also hang one on your tent’s entrance and other areas of your campsite.

PRO TIP: To make this last long, seal it back to the container at night and wear it again once you’re exiting your tent in the morning. Also, make sure that your tent is sealed so no mosquitoes can enter.

✔️Each bracelet lasts for days
✔️Safe and fit for kids
✔️Emits a nice smell
❌None so far

Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks

If you’re more of a mosquito coil person who doesn’t want a smoky smell, we recommend the Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks. These are made from a blend of citronella, rosemary, peppermint, cedarwood, and lemongrass. When you light one, it will release the mosquito-repelling effect while giving your campsite a nice odor.

Take note that each stick burns for 2.5 hours. If you want to secure your spot, you can plant the sticks on the ground after lighting it up. Also, make sure that you stay close for at least 3 feet to the burning sticks to enjoy the best protection against mosquitoes.

Again, avoid placing a lit stick near your tent or any flammable material. Overall, this is the perfect solution for mosquitoes during dinner or when gathering around the campfire.

Each tube of Murphy’s Mosquito sticks contains 12 pieces. You can even pack multiple tubes for long camping.

For the best protection against mosquitoes, place each piece 4 feet apart.

✔️Made from natural ingredients
✔️Gives a nice scent and protective effect
✔️A great alternative to mosquito coils
❌Burns faster than a coil

Candle Charisma Citronella Tealights

If you’re dining on your campsite, you can light some of the Candle Charisma Citronella Tealights. These are candles infused with citronella plant. So when you light one, the repellent effect will be diffused. Aside from that, it will also sanitize your campsite.

This pack comes with 50 candles where each one burns for up to 4 hours. It’s perfect for outdoor use during camping. If you went home with unused candles, you could also light it indoors to repel biting insects.

Aside from repelling the mosquitoes, this also gives a cozy vibe if lit at home. You can also use this on your backyard, patio, and porch. It’s the best thing to repel mosquitoes in style.

If you’re worried about starting a fire, the good news is that this candle floats on water. You can light some and place it in a metal basin filled with water.

✔️Contains natural citronella
✔️Each piece burns for up to 4 hours
✔️Floats in water
❌You should watch for flammable material around

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What scent keeps mosquitoes away?

A: You’ll never go wrong with citronella. This citrusy scent is tried and tested to drive the mosquitoes away together with other biting insects.

Q: How do you protect yourself from insects while camping?

A: Insect repellent sprays and lotion provide immediate relief from the buzzing mosquitoes. Aside from that, taking a bath before bedtime and using aromatic repellents also help.

Q: Do campfires keep mosquitoes away?

A: Yes and no. If you’re burning typical firewood, you might attract mosquitoes than repel them. The key here is to burn the right thing. You can add sage, neem leaves, or essential oils to the campfire to make it a large mosquito repellent fire

Q: What is the best mosquito repellent for camping?

A: The likes of 3M Ultrathon Mosquito Repellent, OFF! Deep Woods Dry Aerosol Spray, and Skymore Insect Repellent Bracelets are ideal for keeping mosquitoes away. You can also try Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks as well as the Hyoola Citronella Tealights.

Final words

Finding the best thing to repel mosquitoes during camping will save you from itchy bites and possible diseases. It doesn’t have to be expensive. This is why we recommend the 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion. It lasts for up to 12 hours, plus it’s guaranteed to be splash-proof.

Since camping outdoors will expose you to various elements, you shouldn’t just prepare for mosquitoes. You should also mind the bugs, roaches, and wild animals that may come roaming around.

To ensure that you’ll enjoy your camping weekends, you can also follow some of our practical tips here. It’s easy to follow and it will help you prepare for your camping weekend.

Do you have something to add? Let us know below in the comment section!