5 Tips for Beating Mosquitoes

camping inside red tent

Few things can ruin an outdoor adventure the way mosquitoes can. Luckily, there are easy ways to keep yourself, your gear, and your pets protected from mosquitoes. 

I’m sharing my top five tips for beating mosquitoes in the outdoors. 

After all, I wouldn’t want you to be that person slapping away at themselves while everyone around them is blissfully immune to the onslaught of biting buggers turning you into an itchy mess. 

1. Use Screens & Nets to Keep Mosquitoes Out

QuickSet by Clam Screen Shelter
Image by Clam Outdoors

A screened-in room is a perfect refuge from mosquitoes when dining or lounging outdoors. Whether you’re camping in a ground tent, rooftop tent, or RV, a screened-in room keeps you outdoors, but safe from biting mosquitoes. 

Be sure to keep windows and doors to tents and RVs closed unless you have bug screens installed. And, if you do have windows and entryways with bug screens, check them for holes before heading out on your adventure. 

If a screen shelter doesn’t fit your activity, consider a mosquito head net. Most are lightweight and easy to pack. You don’t lose anything by putting it in your mosquito fighting arsenal. Should you encounter a swarm of mosquitoes, you’ll be glad to have it as an option. Some even come pre-treated with insect repellent. 

2. Build a Campfire to Repel Mosquitoes

Campfires can help deter mosquitoes
Image by Matt Whitacre from Unsplash

If you’ve ever wondered why people build campfires outdoors, even when it’s warm, wonder no more. Campfires actually help keep mosquitoes at bay. There is disagreement about whether or not smoke keeps mosquitoes away or not. Nonetheless, campfires work for many people looking to have a good time outdoors without worrying about these blood-sucking pests. 

One thing I can say with certainty is that adding herbs that naturally repel mosquitoes to your campfire does make your campfire a sure way to beat the skeeters. Try lavender, citronella, or sage. Peppermint is also a good option. 

3. Use a Mosquito Repellent on Exposed Skin

Sawyer Picaridin can be applied as a lotion to repel mosquitoes
Image by Sawyer

There are many mosquito repellent sprays and lotions you can use to slather some bug protection onto exposed skin. As a general rule, you want to be sure to cover up with long sleeves and pants. However, this isn’t always an option, and even if you do, you’ll still have some exposed skin. 

One of my favorite repellents is Sawyer’s Picaridin Insect Repellent Lotion. It feels and smells more like sunblock than bug repellent, which is always nice. It’s not sticky or greasy and it lasts the whole day since it works for 14 hours.

It’s very effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay. You can literally see mosquitoes hover over your skin, unable to land as if there was an impenetrable force field blocking them. And, I guess, in a sense, there is after applying this lotion. 

4. Try Portable Mosquito Repellents

Thermacell makes various portable mosquito repellents
Image by Thermacell

If you’re not a fan of slathering on your mosquito repellent, you may enjoy a portable mosquito repellent. Rather than putting anything directly onto your skin, you’re instead creating a mosquito-free zone around you.

One multi-purpose product that does this is Thermacell’s Scout Lantern. It’s a handy camp lantern but uses small butane cartridges and repellent coated mats to create a 15’ x 15’ area of protection. 

Thermacell, well-loved when it comes to fighting mosquitoes, also makes more compact and lighter versions without a lantern.

You might also want to try a mosquito repellent wristband or a clip-on repellent.

5. Treat Your Gear

Sawyer Permethrin is an insect repellent for gear and clothing
Image by Sawyer

Mosquitoes can be pretty determined to take a bite out of you. If your clothing is lightweight, they can still bite you through the fabric. 

For an added layer of protection treat all of your gear ahead of time with a permethrin repellent. My favorite is Sawyer’s Permethrin Insect Repellent Treatment. You simply spray your tents, gear, and clothing ahead of your adventure, lightly soaking the items, and then let them dry for two to four hours (the four-hour wait time is for those of you in humid areas). 

Sawyer’s Permethrin treatment will protect gear for up to six weeks, and in the case of clothing, up to six washes. It’s also great to keep ticks and mosquitoes off your dog. And, it also repels many other types of nasty insects. 

Bonus Tip

Finally, you’ll want to remember that many other insects besides mosquitoes hang out outdoors. It would be a shame to have done everything to keep mosquitoes at bay only to invite the rest of the bug world in as you go to sleep.

Remember to use a red light to see when you go climbing into your RV or tent for the night! If you’re an RVer, you’ll want to flick off the lights inside. For both RVers and tent campers, be sure to choose a lantern, headlamp, or flashlight that has a red light setting. 

You’re all set to spend your time enjoying the outdoors, rather than googling what would happen if scientists got rid of all mosquitoes.

What tips and tricks do you use to keep the mosquitoes at bay? Leave a comment below to share your best mosquito fighting tips.


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