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Bug Free Camping: How To Keep Bugs Away While Sleeping Outside

Bug free camping

Are you excited to embark on a camping adventure but dread being harassed by bugs? Maybe if you knew how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside you’d be more excited. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here we share some valuable tips on enjoying bug free camping in the great outdoors without having to deal with unwanted guests, and no we don’t mean your grumpy granny!

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Camping is a wonderful way to unwind, connect with nature and escape your busy, everyday life, while enjoying quieter, natural areas. you wouldn’t normally visit. However, the presence of bugs can quickly turn a peaceful camping retreat into a nightmare. Whether you’re dealing with mosquitoes, ants, or spiders, these tiny critters can cause discomfort, occasional alarm and hysterics – especially with the more squeamish amongst us – and completely ruin your fun at the campsite.

Before embarking on your road trip adventure, you want to plan how to achieve a comfortable home from home at the campsite, including dealing with bugs that might be there. Crawlers like ticks, flies and mosquitoes, can turn a peaceful outdoor retreat into an uncomfortable experience. And as you don’t want your camping buddies, or your best diggie friend, to get infested with fleas, it’s a good thing to have a plan of action to help make your camping trip bug-free so there’s plenty of room left for fun.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep pests at bay and ensure a bug-free camping experience. From choosing the right campsite to setting up a bug-repellent perimeter, we will guide you through the best practices to keep those pesky insects you don’t want in your immediate camping area, at a distance.

So, if you’re ready to enjoy the great outdoors without the hassle of bugs, keep reading and discover our top tips for bug-free camping. Say goodbye to itchy bug bites and hello to a hassle-free adventure in nature!

How to Keep Bugs Away While Sleeping Outside

When camping, one of the biggest concerns is keeping bugs away while you sleep. Nothing ruins a good night’s sleep like being constantly bothered by mosquitoes or other crawling critters. Here are some tips to help you sleep peacefully in your tent:

  1. Choose the right sleeping gear: Invest in a high-quality tent with a fine mesh screen to keep bugs out. Make sure all zippers and nets are in good condition to prevent any gaps where bugs can enter. Also, consider using a camping hammock with an attached bug net for an elevated sleeping experience. It adds to the fun and helps you stay clear of that pesky ant nest!
  2. Use mosquito nets and bug repellents: If you prefer sleeping under the stars or in a hammock, you can use a mosquito net to create a protective barrier. Apply bug repellents containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin to keep bugs at bay, especially if they like you! Or you can borrow my husband, who always attracts biters so I go untouched! Not much fun for him but I love it!
  3. Keep your sleeping area clean: Before settling down for the night, make sure your sleeping area is clear of any debris or food scraps that may attract bugs during the night. It is also a great idea to close up the tent before it gets dark and shake out your sleeping bag or bedding to remove any insects that may have crawled in during the day while it was open.

To understand how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside, you need to know what’s crawling around in the area you plan to visit, get the right sleeping gear, use nets and repellents and keep your sleeping area clean of anything that might attract unwelcome guests. Then you’ll have a great night under the stars without any interruptions, leaving you with a night to remember for all the right reasons!

Find Well-Maintained Camping Grounds For Bug Free Sleep

Bugs like murky, and bushy places to thrive and multiply which is why prioritizing camping areas in the right condition is important. Bugs love old piles of leaves and blocked drains! So the management of an area by the campsite owner of local authorities needs to be active. Then, if they spot a problem they can hire pest control experts before it gets out of control.

For instance, in Stamford, CT, these professionals conduct thorough inspections of the campsite, identifying potential breeding grounds and entry points for pests. They can then implement targeted treatments to eliminate existing infestations and prevent future pest problems. A company majoring in pest control in Stamford, CT will also know the prevalent pests in the area and the best eradication methods. They’ll also use modern, efficient methods when doing their projects.

bug free camping in comfort - How to Keep Bugs Away While Sleeping Outside

Common Bugs to Watch Out for While Camping And Sleeping Outside

When camping, it’s important to know about common bugs you may find in different regions. Understanding their habits and behaviours can help you prepare and prevent unwanted encounters. Here are some common bugs:

  1. Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are notorious for their itchy bites and (in some countries) ability to transmit diseases such as malaria and West Nile virus. They are most active during dawn and dusk, so take extra precautions at these times. Use mosquito repellents, wear long sleeves and pants, and consider using mosquito coils or citronella candles to create a mosquito-free zone around your campsite.
  2. Ticks: Ticks are small arachnids that can transmit Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. They are commonly found in wooded and grassy areas, so be cautious when hiking or walking through tall grass. Wear long pants and tuck them into your socks, use tick repellents, and perform thorough tick checks on yourself and your companions (including your dog) after spending time outdoors.
  3. Ants: Ants are often attracted to food and can quickly become a nuisance in your campsite. Keep food stored in sealed containers or coolers to prevent ants from getting to it. If you notice an ant trail leading to your camp, sprinkle some baby powder or draw a line with chalk to disrupt their pheromone trail and deter them from entering your camping area.
  4. Spiders: While most spiders are harmless, some species can deliver painful bites and, let’s face it, most of us hate them. To minimize spiders, inspect your camping gear and shake out any spiders or webs before use. Keep your tent zipped up at all times and avoid leaving shoes or clothing outside where spiders may seek shelter. If you want to sleep under the stars then please refer to the section sharing how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside.

Invest in Quality Bug Repellent

These chemicals can deter bugs, helping you to stay comfortable throughout the trip. Everyone prefers different things so research widely on the favorite products among campers and, most importantly, focus on the ingredients. Those containing picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil, and DEET are known to be effective in dealing with a wide range of insects, but this depends on your preference for your skin type, etc. Before heading to outdoor activities or at night, give a good smear to all the exposed skin.

We recommend ‘Avon Skin So Soft’, a cosmetic dry oil spray product with the added benefit of repelling unwanted bugs when outside.

It is also wise to carry different forms of repellants like mosquito coils and citronella. Alternatively, you can use the above product to help make your campsite a bug-free zone by spraying it around your perimeter. You’ll spend quality time relaxing around the bonfire or enjoying your meals together without the dreaded buzz from unwanted guests.

Natural Bug Repellents for Camping

If you prefer to use natural bug repellents instead of chemical-based options, there are several effective alternatives available. These natural remedies can help keep bugs away while minimizing the use of potentially harmful substances, especially if you have sensitive skin. Here are some natural bug repellents for camping:

  1. Essential oils: Many essential oils have insect-repellent properties. Citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and lavender are known to repel mosquitoes and other bugs. Mix a few drops of your preferred essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, and apply it to your skin or clothing. You can also create a spray by diluting essential oils in water and spraying it around your campsite.
  2. Herbal repellents: Certain herbs, such as basil, mint, and rosemary, have natural bug-repellent properties. Rubbing crushed leaves on your skin or placing fresh herbs around your campsite can help deter bugs. You can also make a herbal mix by boiling these herbs in water, straining the liquid, and using it as a spray.
  3. Citrus peels: The strong scent of citrus fruits can repel bugs. Save your orange or lemon peels and rub them on your skin or place them around your campsite. Alternatively, boil the peels in water to create a citrus-infused spray.
  4. Smoke and fire: Smoke and the scent of burning wood can deter bugs. Build a campfire and let the smoke create a barrier around your campsite. Additionally, consider using bug-repellent incense sticks or mosquito coils to keep bugs at bay.
  5. Avon Skin So Soft: Although not 100% natural, this kinder cosmetic dry oil spray product has limited chemicals and the added benefit of repelling unwanted bugs when outside.

These natural bug repellents provide a safer and eco-friendly alternative for those who prefer to avoid chemical-based products. Experiment with different options to find what works best for you and your camping environment.

Essential Camping Gear to Keep Bugs Away

In addition to bug repellents, several essential camping gear items can help keep bugs away from your campsite. These tools and accessories are designed to create a bug-free environment and improve your overall camping experience. Here are some essential camping gear items for how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside:

  1. Bug zappers and traps: Bug zappers use ultraviolet light to attract and electrocute flying insects. Hanging a bug zapper near your campsite can significantly reduce the number of bugs bothering you. Additionally, bug traps or sticky pads can be placed around your campsite to catch crawling insects.
  2. Pop-up screen rooms: Pop-up screen rooms provide a comfortable and bug-free area for outdoor dining or relaxation. These portable structures are enclosed with fine mesh screens that keep bugs out while allowing fresh air in. They are easy to set up and take down, making them a convenient option for bug-free camping.
  3. Head nets and bug jackets: If you’re anything like us then you will hate having bugs around your face when venturing into areas with swarms of mosquitoes or other flying insects. This is when you need to consider using a head net or bug jacket. These protective gear items cover your face and body, preventing bugs from coming in contact with your skin.
  4. Permethrin-treated clothing and gear: Permethrin is a synthetic chemical that repels and kills insects on contact. Treating your clothing, tents, sleeping bags, and other gear with permethrin can provide long-lasting bug protection. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and reapplication, and be careful about how it comes into contact with your skin or you might disrupt your natural skin biome.

When understanding how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside, it’s important to use what suits your specific needs (especially if you have sensitive skin) and to understand the local camping conditions of your campsite.

Preparing Bug-Free Meals While Camping

Bugs can quickly become a nuisance when preparing and enjoying meals at your campsite. Here are some tips to ensure you can cook and dine without unwanted guests:

  1. Keep food properly stored: Proper food storage is crucial when camping to prevent bugs (and bears!) from being attracted to your campsite. Seal all food in airtight containers or coolers to keep all unwanted guests out. Also avoid leaving food out for extended periods and clean up any spills or food scraps, especially crumbs.
  2. Use bug-proof food covers: When cooking or dining outdoors, use food covers or mesh screens to protect your meals from bugs. These covers can be placed over dishes or food containers to keep bugs away while still allowing air circulation.
  3. Use natural repellents: Certain herbs and spices can act as natural bug repellents. Using ingredients like garlic, chilli peppers, and rosemary into your meals can help deter bugs. Also, consider using citronella candles or torches around your dining area to create a bug-free zone.
  4. Clean up thoroughly: After every meal, clean up your cooking area, dining table and utensils. Dispose of food waste properly and wash your cooking and eating equipment with biodegradable soap. Keeping a clean campsite reduces the chances of attracting bugs and is how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside.

Tips for Avoiding Bug Bites and Stings

Even with the best prevention, bugs can still occasionally find a way to bite or sting. Here are some additional tips for avoiding that while camping:

  1. Wear campsite-appropriate clothing: When spending time outdoors in insect-dense areas, wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes. Tucking your pants into your socks provides an extra layer of protection against ticks and crawling insects.
  2. Avoid scented products: Perfumes, lotions, and scented soaps can attract bugs. Opt for unscented personal care products while camping to minimize the chances of getting bitten. The exception to the rule here is using ‘Avon Skin So Soft’, a cosmetic dry oil spray product with the added benefit of repelling unwanted bugs when outside, because of its citronella smell.
  3. Stay away from stagnant water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and you can get some of the nastiest bites when staying nearby. So avoid camping near ponds, marshes, or other areas with standing water. Use bug repellents and consider setting up your campsite on higher ground with more breeze and away from potential breeding sites.
  4. Be cautious around nests and hives: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid disturbing insect nests or hives. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects can become aggressive when their nests are threatened. And if you’ve ever had ants in your pants, you’ll know why it’s wise to check for ants nests too!
  5. Know your allergies: If you have known allergies to insect bites or stings, be sure to carry the necessary medication, such as an epinephrine auto-injector. Inform your camping companions about your allergies and educate them on how to respond in case of an emergency. Also, keep local emergency numbers handy for your stay.

Dealing with Mosquitoes and Ticks While Camping

Mosquitoes and ticks are two of the most common bugs that can annoy you and your camping companions, and transmit diseases while at the campsite. Here are some specific tips for dealing with these pesky unwanted creatures:


  • As already mentioned, avoid camping in areas with high mosquito populations, such as near swamps or stagnant water sources.
  • Use mosquito nets around your sleeping area and consider investing in a tent with a built-in mosquito net.
  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers your arms and legs, and tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Use mosquito repellents suitable for your skin type and follow the instructions for regular application and reapplication.
  • Use mosquito coils, citronella candles, or portable mosquito traps to create a mosquito-free zone around your campsite.


  • All of the above, plus, perform thorough tick checks on yourself, your companions, and your pets after spending time outdoors.
  • Remove ticks promptly and properly using fine-tipped tweezers, grasping the tick close to the skin and pulling straight out.
  • Consider treating your clothing, gear, and camping equipment with permethrin for added protection against ticks.

Choose Your Site Wisely

The location you pick considerably influences how exposed or prone you’ll be to pest attacks. For example, choosing an area away from stagnant water sources like ponds, dams, or marshes. Depending on the geographical landscape of the area, look for a breezy and dry site away from foliage. The time of year also dramatically influences the population of bugs and how likely you are to encounter them, so do your homework before you set off on your trip. In the middle of the warmer months, the numbers tend to be at the highest, but as temperatures lower, the populations will subside. Feel free to get some insights from another camper on the dominant types of bugs in the area you plan to stay.

These bug free camping tips are designed to help you understand how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside giving you a night to remember for the right reasons!

Keep Your Campsite Clean For A Restful Camp

Bugs and rodents are highly attracted to food scraps and trash. Therefore, it’s an excellent idea to keep yourself organized so that there won’t be spills or disposal of food remains around the campsite. Instead, have airtight food containers for keeping your food supplies and leftovers.

Also, have enough trash receptacles to keep all your garbage. Consider the length of your camping trip and choose the right size bins. What out also for the spills since they too can attract crawlers. For instance, sugary liquids can be great attractors of ants.

Enjoying a Bug-Free Camping Experience

Camping is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in nature and unwind from the stresses of daily life. By using the tips shared here on how to keep bugs away while sleeping outside, you can ensure a bug-free camping experience and fully enjoy your time in the great outdoors.

From keeping bugs away while sleeping to using natural bug repellents and essential camping gear, there are numerous ways to minimize the presence of unwanted guests. Remember to be aware of common bugs in your camping area and take appropriate precautions to avoid bites or stings. And remember that keeping a pest-free zone starts with keeping your site clean and picking the best camping areas, so take your time with this when you arrive at the campsite.

Whether you’re exploring the wilderness, relaxing by a lake, or hiking through scenic trails, a bug-free camping adventure awaits. Embrace the beauty of nature without the hassle of bugs, and create unforgettable memories in the great outdoors. Happy camping!

Finally, if you have any product recommendations for bug free camping, please add them to the comments section below. We’d love to hear about what you’ve found that works.

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