Natural Way to Keep Bugs Away When Camping

natural way to keep bugs away when camping

When you go camping, you will find insects around you.

Most bugs won’t bother you, but insects like mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, flies, bees, and ants can be a big headache for people while camping.

Not only the stings of insects but also the buzzing sound is so irritating for some people.

But don’t let these little animals frighten you from an unforgettable vacation. There are many ways you can keep bugs away while camping. 

Though there are many ways to remain safe from these insects which are written below but most classic and natural way to keep bugs away when camping is to use DEET (diethyltoluamide) bug sprays and creams. 

I have added other natural bug repellents on my list, but it’s a better idea to bring some bug spray if all else fails.

19 Best Natual Ways to Keep Bugs Away When Camping

 Use below natural repellent for bugs when camping

  1. Essential oils
  2. Clothing
  3. Coils and lanterns
  4. Ignite a fire
  5. Throw sage on the fire
  6. High and dry campsite
  7. Bracelets
  8. Screen rooms
  9. Vinegar
  10. Onions
  11. Never use scented hygiene products
  12. Candles
  13. Herbs
  14. Garlic
  15. Using coffee grounds to kill mosquito larvae
  16. Keep your campsite neat
  17. Bug zappers
  18. Electronic bug repellers
  19. Lower light

Let’s go through each method.


1. Essential Oils

Essential oils are one of the best options that you must have to keep the bugs away while camping.

Suppose you want to avoid the strong chemical sprays in traditional bug sprays. In that case, essential oils are the best natural substitute.

Many essential oils have bug-repulsing characteristics.

You can apply essential oils directly to your skin or spray them on your clothing.

15 essential oils that repel bugs include:

  1. Geranium
  2. Catnip
  3. Sage
  4. Cedarwood
  5. Eucalyptus
  6. Thyme
  7. Clove
  8. Citronella
  9. Basil
  10. Mint
  11. Lavender
  12. Cajeput
  13. Tea Tree
  14. Rosemary
  15. Lemongrass

Mix these or few of them which are easily available in a spray bottle and a big spoon of rubbing alcohol, half a cup of natural witch hazel and half a cup of water. 

Give your bottle fair shake before spraying, as the oil and water mixture always tend to separate. 

2. Insect Repellent Clothing

You must be sure to wear long sleeves and pants, especially in the morning and evening to avoid getting insects bites during these peak times. Even with this added protection, mosquitoes are sometimes able to bite through clothing. 

That’s where insect-repellent clothing comes in handy. 

A few outdoor companies sell clothing infused with insect repellent in the fabric, allowing you to avoid sticky sprays and creams with the same useful results.

Another tip is to stop wearing dark clothes, mostly blue. One study has found that mosquitoes were especially attracted to the colour blue.

Khaki or green clothing are better choices.

3. Mosquito Coils and Lanterns


Mosquito coils and lanterns is another best way to keep the bugs at bay while you’re camping. Mosquito coils are ideal for keeping those pests away.

I recommend that you place a few coils around your campsite. They effectively keep the mosquitos away, and each coil will burn for five to seven hours.

4. Start a fire

One of the easiest ways to keep the bugs away from your campsite is to start a fire. Flies, mosquitos, and other bugs never like the smoke that the fire produces. If you want your campfire extra Smokey, throw a couple of damp twigs on it.

5. Sage in the Campfire

Little stick of sage will release a scent that is so effective at repelling insects that you may not need any other protection like chemical sprays. It remains on your clothing too, so you have some extra protection.

6. Look For A High And Dry Campsite

You will find a lot of bugs at any camp. But most of them won’t bother you. As I have discussed, the most annoying pest is the nasty mosquito.

Finding a high and dry campsite is one thing you can do to avoid mosquitos. 

If you’re trying to avoid mosquitos, then you should be careful not to set up camp near places that are wet like bogs and swamps’. Choose preferably someplace high. The further you are from areas where water stands, the better.

7. Bug Repellent Bracelets

If you can’t bear spraying or applying anything to your body or clothing, then a bug-repelling bracelet is an ideal option.

 One can wear bracelets on your wrist or, if you prefer, fasten it to something near your camp.

It emits bug-repelling chemicals into the air around you, creating a shield.

8. Screen rooms and Netting

If you’re desperately in need of a place free from bugs, you may want to consider bringing a screen room or mosquito netting. A screen room is a large tent or canopy with screened-in walls that let you see outside, allow the cool breezes to blow through and keep unwanted pests out. 

You can also make your screen room by mounting mosquito netting either onto poles or to nearby trees. 

Although these methods take a little more effort, they may be a perfect solution for those who can’t stand bugs’ sight.

9. Vinegar

If you don’t want to put dangerous chemicals like DEET on your skin, there are some relatively easy natural bug repellents that you can use. 

One of those is vinegar. One of the best tricks you can do to keep the bugs away from your tent is to spray some vinegar around your surroundings. Bugs dislike the smell of it, so you can sleep well, knowing that the insects will remain far from it. Before you leave for your camping trip, fill a couple of spray bottles with vinegar, and you are good to go.

The only downside of using vinegar is its pungent smell can sometimes be too much for humans. If you are camping with people who are sensitive to smells, then be careful not to spray too much.

10. Rub Yourself with Onions

Speaking of natural bug repellents, another option you have is to use onions.

 To stay safe from bugs, you have to rub onion juice on your exposed skin. The onions work the same way as the vinegar works.

11. Don’t Use Scented Hygiene Products

Although you don’t have to go unwashed for the entirety of your camping trip, the use of hygiene products or toiletries that are overly fragrant may draw some uninvited guests. It turns out, the bugs like the fragrance of some of these items as much as you do. That’s why it’s better to avoid perfumed things like:

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Aftershave
  • Deodorant
  • Haircare products
  • Colognes, body sprays and perfumes

12. Bug Repellent Candles

If you’re looking for more lighting that keeps the insects and bugs away, it doesn’t get better than the citronella candle.

The smell these pungent candle lights produce will keep bugs far away from you.

They are an excellent source of light and will help to keep your site bug free as well.

13. Herbs

You can also use fresh and dried herbs to keep the bugs away. There are several options, but some of the most effective herbs are sage, rosemary, eucalyptus and mint.

There are two ways to use these plants to detract bugs from coming around. 

  1. Burn them in your campfire, as the smoke and the scent combined will drive away from the bugs. 
  2. Rub it in on your skin for a quick, natural bug-repelling solution.

14. Eat Garlic and Onions

Onions, garlic and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are right foods to keep handy while you’re camping. Bugs can’t stand the smell of these potent food items.

15. Throw grounded Coffee on Stagnant Water

You can do one thing to kill all of the eggs in water before they hatch. Throw coffee grounds on the water. Yes, really.

Not only will the coffee grounds kill the mosquito larvae, but it will also provide beneficial nitrogen to the plant life.

16. Keep Your Campsite Clean

A clean campsite is a safe campsite. 

Bugs and other wild animals love the smell of your food and are looking for an opportunity to grab a snack. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your campsite as clean as possible. 

Open containers of food and unwashed dishes left unattended or overnight are just an open invitation for these creatures. Here are some things to keep in mind which will help keep things neat and tidy:

  • Properly dispose of or store food in a large plastic container with a secure lid immediately after use
  • Don’t leave trash uncovered or let it accumulate, and dispose it at a designated trash receptacle as soon as possible
  • Wipe down your campsite’s table as soon as you arrive and after each meal
  • Wash any dishes right after you finish eating.
  • Before you leave your camp or go to sleep, make sure no food traces are left behind.

17. Use a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers are another option you can have to repel the bugs while you’re camping. They work by attracting insects with ultraviolet light. When the bugs go near the zapper, they get met with a high-voltage electric current that kills them. You will often hear a loud “Zzzap” every time this happens.

 It’s not unusual for bug zappers to kill more than 10,000 bugs in a single night. Bug zappers work the best on bugs that are most attracted to ultraviolet light.

18. Electronic Bug Repellers

Electronic bug repellers can also be useful for some bugs. These ultrasonic devices work by high-frequency emitting sounds that bother pests. Ultrasonic devices are popular with some people, mainly because they are so easy to use. These designs vary by frequency, rate, and intensity. They also vary in how well they work.

19. Limit The Light

Many insects are attracted to the light, so if you want to keep them away from your campsite, you need to reduce the lamp or light you use.


In this article, I have shared all about the Natural ways to get rid of bugs while camping.

You can’t completely get rid of the bugs on your camping trip, but you can keep them away from your campsite!

In my opinion, the most natural way to keep bugs away when camping is to use Bugs spray and cream.

I hope these tips will help make your camping experience better, and keep the bugs away.

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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