How to Keep Ticks Away While Camping (7 Pro Tips)

Bugs and insects are simply a part of camping. And most bugs, while annoying, are harmless.

And then there are ticks.

Ticks are not only annoying, but they can also carry Lyme Disease and other blood-borne diseases.

So, let’s learn how to keep ticks away while camping with these 7 effective tips.

How to Avoid Ticks When Camping

To avoid ticks and keep them away from you and your pets, it really comes down to taking strong preventative actions. And these start before you even leave for your camping trip, leading us into tip #1…

1. Be Prepared

Ticks are most active from April to September when the weather is warmer. So, it’s imperative during these times to plan ahead and call the park staff (or check the park website) to get the latest tick information. Often parks will post tick alerts and have a good idea of the safest places to camp.

And you’ll want to prepare a simple tick kit in the event a tick does latch on to you, a fellow camper, or a pet. Your tick kit should include:

  • Tweezers
  • Rubbing alcohol and/or antiseptic ointment

Remove ticks immediately with the tweezers and use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the bite. An immediate trip to urgent care is highly recommended, as well, to limit the possibility of Lyme Disease (especially if you start to notice a rash or fever-like symptoms).

2. Keep Away From Tall Grass

Ticks prefer to live in long grass and bushy areas, waiting for somebody to brush up against them so they can latch on.

So, to avoid ticks while hiking, stick to dirt trails as often as possible. On seldom used hiking trails, where the vegetation has grown over and onto the main path, exercise extreme caution.

When setting up your campsite, pitch your tent on a dirt area, away from thick grass and vegetation. Clear off any weeds, dead leaf piles, etc., from your campground before pitching your tent. And keep your tent closed at all times unless entering and exiting to keep ticks out of it.

3. Dress Appropriately

Dressing for tick prevention is one of the best ways to avoid tick bites altogether. And there are several tips to get the most protective benefits from your clothing:

  • Wear long, loose-fitting clothes: Long, loose fabrics will help protect you from ticks and mosquitoes, keep you cool, and, as a bonus, provide some protection from the sun.
  • Wear light-colored clothes: Ticks are easier to spot when your clothes are light-colored. Plus, light-colored garments will help keep you cool when camping in warmer weather.
  • Tuck your clothes in: Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks when hiking, especially through tall grassy areas. You can also secure your socks and tucked-in cuffs with a layer of duct tape. Ticks crawl unnoticed and are excellent at finding bare skin through even the smallest openings in your clothes.
  • Cover your head: Wear a hat, bandana, hood, etc., to keep your hair completely covered.
  • Tick repellent gear: You can buy clothes that are pre-treated with a tick repellent chemical. Or treat your own clothes with a tick repellent spray containing permethrin which is designed for clothing and camping gear.
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4. Use Tick Repellent

Tick repellent sprays and lotions can provide hours of protection and can be highly effective at keeping ticks, bugs, spiders, and other pests away when used in conjunction with the other methods mentioned here.

Several tick repellents are available, some containing either DEET, picaridin, or natural repellents using essential oils, like lemon eucalyptus and oregano oil (which studies show ticks hate the most).

If you’re looking for a Deet-free bug spray, Ben’s Tick Repellent Spray contains 20% picaridin, lasts for up to 12 hours, and doesn’t leave a sticky feeling on your skin.

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A more natural alternative is Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray. This product is Deet free and is plant-based, using all-natural ingredients.

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5. Pet Protection

If you’re taking your pet dog, cat, or any furry friend camping with you, make sure they wear a tick collar and are kept on a leash to avoid running into areas where ticks may hide. Be sure to check them regularly for ticks hiding in their fur.

And keep in mind, tick repellents for humans may not be safe for dogs. Before going on your trip, consult with your veterinarian for suggestions and products to safely keep ticks off dogs while camping.

6. Check Yourself Often

Check your entire body, your fellow campers, as well as your pets, for ticks regularly while camping.

If you don’t have anybody who can check you, use a mirror to thoroughly check yourself everywhere – scalp, ears, every little crevice… everywhere!

7. Post Camping Clean-up

Ticks can be carried into your car after camping or even into your house as they like to hide unnoticed on your clothes. To prevent this:

  • Do a thorough tick check on your clothing and gear (tent, sleeping bags, pillows, etc.) before getting back in your car or vehicle.
  • Tumble dry your clothes on a high-heat setting right when you get home. Then wash all of your clothes and other camping gear per their recommended washing instructions.

What Is the Best Way to Repel Ticks?

The best way to repel ticks is to apply multiple tick prevention methods – plan ahead and be aware of tick alerts, stay away from tall grassy areas, dress appropriately, use a tick repellent, and protect your pets. Together, these will minimize risk and potentially prevent tick bites altogether.

With a little prevention, you can have a safe, fun, and tick-free camping trip!

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