8 Ways to Not Let Bugs Ruin Your Camping Trip

You’ve done the legwork for a perfect camping trip. The gear has been packed, the food has been thoughtfully planned out, and you know that there will be plenty of activities to keep you busy from dawn to dusk.

And then, they show up: the camping crashers that nobody invited. Bugs.

You might not be able to make them totally disappear, but there are ways to encourage pesky bugs to steer clear from your camping trip. Read on for 8 ways to get bugs to buzz off on your camping trip.

Kookoo for Coconut
Not only is coconut practically the official smell of summer, but it’s also said to be a natural bug repellant. Use coconut soap to wash yourself, and finish up by rubbing coconut oil into your skin. Bugs should steer clear, and your skin will be gloriously soft.

Be Smell-less
Aside from a little coconut, you should aim to smell like nothing at all. Bugs love our fragrant perfumes, colognes, shampoos, shaving creams, deodorant… the list goes on. Opt for unscented products to blend into the environment as well as possible.

Go Long
On a hot summer’s day, the last thing you want to wear are long sleeves and long pants. If you’re going to be in a bug-infested area (like near stagnant water—I’m looking at you, mosquitoes), covering your arms and legs is a must for avoiding bites.

Go to your favorite outdoor outfitter and make the investment in a light, loose-fitting, long sleeved top and a pair of full-length pants. Well-made clothing constructed with the right materials will feel as good as wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Time It Wisely
Know what time of year the bugs are worst in your area. Avoid camping right after a storm, which is when mosquito larvae often hatch. Aim to choose a site that is dry and far from stagnant water. The further you set up camp from bug-popular areas, the better your chances of keeping the bugs at bay.

Channel Your Inner Vampire Slayer
Garlic is said to drive away vampires—and bugs, too! Many people swear that garlic steers bugs away from them. It doesn’t hurt to try, so why not add a few extra cloves of garlic to your dinner!

Clean Up
Bugs love dirty things, so avoid tempting them towards your campsite by keeping it spic and span. That means cleaning your dishes immediately after cooking and eating, properly storing and disposing of food trimmings, and cleaning down the cooking and eating areas thoroughly and frequently.

The Great DEET Debate
Products with DEET keep the bugs away, but at a cost: not everyone is keen on putting the chemical directly onto their skin. One possible solution: spray DEET products on things other than your skin, like on your clothes, hat, and even your shelter.

Play With Light
Bugs typically like light, but aren’t so fond of fire. Lighting a campfire will help encourage the bugs to leave you alone—but of course, don’t leave a lit campfire unattended.

At the same time, be careful about using your flashlight: having the light on inside your tent with the door unzipped will almost certainly result in a sleepless night with bugs buzzing in your ear.

As a bonus idea, you could also invest in a sort of outdoor screen room. Not only does it keep those pesky blood suckers out, it also doubles as a rain shelter.

by Magee Walker