Mosquitoes can be a huge nuisance when camping.
They bite and leave itchy welts and can even carry diseases like West Nile Virus and Malaria.
Luckily, we have a simple, two-pronged approach to effectively control these pests.
So, let’s look at how to get rid of mosquitoes in a tent and keep them away from your campsite so you can enjoy a mosquito-free camping trip!
How to Keep Mosquitoes Away While Camping
The best way to get rid of mosquitoes in a tent is not to let them in the tent, to begin with! In other words, it starts with prevention.
So, we will first cover how to keep mosquitoes away from your campsite, then dive into what to do if they get into your tent.
Related: How to Keep Bugs Out of a Tent
Use the Right Camping Gear
Using the proper camping gear is extremely important in keeping mosquitoes and other bugs away and out of your tent.
We recommend the following:
- A quality tent free from tears or holes in the fabric or mesh (which can allow mosquitoes and bugs to enter).
- A mosquito tent, which is essentially a screened enclosure, is an optional yet effective way to provide a mosquito-free living space while camping.
- If hammock camping is more your speed, invest in a good bug net to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects.
Keep Your Tent Doors Zipped Shut
The absolute number one rule to keep mosquitoes, and any bugs really, out of your tent is to keep it sealed.
Only open your tent doors when needed, and immediately shut them behind you.
Of course, this is easier said than done when camping with children, so periodically review this rule with your kids and remind them every time they enter and leave the tent.
Choose the Right Campsite
Your campsite can make or break your camping experience, especially when it comes to mosquitoes.
One way to avoid mosquitoes is by staying on high ground away from thick vegetation and stagnant water sources, like lakes and ponds.
Wear Protective Clothes
Protective clothing won’t keep mosquitoes away from your campsite, but it can keep them away from your skin!
Keep the following in mind when choosing your clothes to wear camping:
- Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothes, so stick with lighter colors.
- Long-sleeve t-shirts and pants are a great way to protect yourself from mosquito bites. However, if you’re worried about the heat, look for lightweight, breathable clothes.
- Another interesting option is clothing with insect repellent built-in. Insect Shield, for example, creates bug-repellent clothing that is EPA registered and approved for the whole family. You can even send them your clothes, and they will apply their bug-repellent to them.
- And if you’ll be camping in a highly-concentrated mosquito area, it might not hurt to pack along a head net.
Don’t Physically Attract Mosquitoes
Unfortunately, your genes might make you more attractive to mosquitoes, one study shows.
Whether this is you or not, don’t make the problem worse by wearing perfumes, colognes, and other scents with floral notes.
Lotions and creams with lactic acid will also attract mosquitoes.
And speaking of lactic acid, our sweat contains it, so you may want to refrain from working out or intense physical exertion when camping. I know this can be hard ( I love to hike when I camp, and I sweat profusely), so if possible, shower after exercising to wash off the sweat and mosquito attracting lactic acid.
Avoid drinking alcohol during peak mosquito times, which is usually from dawn to dusk. Though the reason is not exactly known (at this time), drinking alcohol will increase the chances of mosquitoes landing on your skin.
Use Mosquito Repellent
Mosquito repellents are a must-have on any camping trip.
Tip: If using a spray or lotion-based bug repellent, make sure it’s waterproof, as most repellents will wash off as you sweat or swim. Plus, waterproof products will typically last longer in-between applications.
With products including sprays, lotions, citronella candles, essential oils, thermacell devices, and more, you should be able to find a mosquito repellent that works for you, if not multiple.
Make a Campfire
Making a campfire is almost a given when camping. It provides heat, a light source, a way to cook food (smores…yum!), and it’s just a great centerpiece for sitting around and chatting.
But, a campfire is also great for deterring mosquitoes and other bugs as they typically hate fire and smoke.
Use Flashlights and Lanterns Sparingly
Bugs don’t seem to like fire, but they are attracted to other light sources, namely artificial light.
Eliminating artificial light can be tough to do at night when you need to see, but one effective tip is to keep the lights off when you enter and exit the tent to keep the skeeters and other bugs out.
How to Get Rid Of Mosquitoes in a Tent
Once you’ve effectively protected your campground (and tent), we can now get rid of any mosquitoes that made their way into your tent.
To kill mosquitoes in a tent, some options include:
- The first, and most time-consuming option, is to use a fly swatter and kill any mosquitoes that make their way into your tent.
- Activating a Thermacell mosquito repellent device inside your tent while you’re away is an effective hands-off approach to kill mosquitos within a 20ft radius. Check out our guide to the best mosquito repellent devices for camping for more effective options.
- Spraying a little bug spray in your tent will effectively kill the skeeters and any other insects. However, you may want to remove your gear first if you don’t want to get the spray all over it.
- Lastly, you could burn a mosquito coil in your tent. Make sure the coil is placed on a fireproof surface and is supervised. I recommend using this method when you are out of the tent for a while.
Discouraging mosquitoes from swarming your campsite and killing any that make it in your tent will effectively prevent mosquito bites while camping and help you enjoy a mosquito-free camping trip!