11 Best Bug Repellents for Camping In 2024

Camping outdoors is a great way to take a break from your daily routine and rejuvenate. However, a problem that bugs a lot of new campers is, well, the bugs. Veteran campers tend to carry the best bug repellents for camping and other outdoor adventures, which can protect your body from mosquito bites and other insects while you’re in the embrace of nature.

It’s crucial to shield yourself with the right mosquito repellent lotion, oil, cream, or spray when camping. Here, we discuss about a wide variety of effective and high-performance bug repellents that will protect you from annoying and dangerous pests and make your vacation much more enjoyable.

In This Article

Types of Repellents

Before buying bug repellents, learn about the various types of repellents available in the market. They come in three basic types:

  1. Natural repellents: They are free from chemicals and are mostly made with natural ingredients like essential oils that are safe to use.
  1. Bands or bracelets: They are one of the safest repellents as you don’t have to apply on your skin. Just wear a band around your wrist or ankle to protect yourself from bugs.
  1. DEET repellents: They are widely used repellents in the United States and are known to be effective.

11 Best Bug Repellents For Camping Of 2024

1. Best Easy-To-Use:Thermacell Cambridge Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield Lantern

Thermacell offers one of the top-rated and portable outdoor camping devices to keep mosquitoes at bay. The lantern-shaped device has been evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its effectiveness and safety. Unlike bug sprays that could be harmful to your eyes, this device does not emit anything. The easy-to-use device repels mosquitoes and creates a 15-foot protection zone, offering efficient outdoor protection from bugs and insects. Its beautiful construction provides ambient light.

Product Dimensions: 4.75"L x 5"W x 7.1"H | Item Weight: 1 Pounds | Material: Durable | Color: Black

Pros

  • Easy to use and effective
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Provides light along with mosquito protection
  • Odor-free
  • Long-lasting
  • No spraying
  • Comes with a 12-hour fuel cartridge

Cons

  • Expensive refills

My Personal Experience

"This lantern is a reliable companion for evenings spent outdoors as it keeps mosquitos at bay without blanketing the area in bright light. Its top, however, requires careful handling as it gets warm. Nonetheless, the peace and comfort it brings are worth that minor issue."


2. Best Fragrance-Free:Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent

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4.3

The trusted wearable bug repellent from Sawyer Products is best suited for camping. Sawyer assures its non-greasy formula keeps different kinds of bugs away and enables you to enjoy bug-free camping. Reviewed by Consumer Reports as the Fisherman’s Formula, it is an effective and safe solution against biting insects. Check out this YouTuber’s review of this camping insect repellent for more details.

Item Weight: 4.9 ounces | Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 8 inches.

Pros

  • Non-greasy application
  • Fragrance-free
  • Repels disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes
  • Provides over 12 hours of protection
  • Doesn’t harm synthetics and plastic coatings

Cons

  • May not be effective

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Impressed by this spray’s performance, I have made it my permanent travel companion, especially when I go places with humid climates. Its spray mechanism could have been better, but its clean, almost scentless formula is gentle on my skin and excellent at repelling bugs."


3. Best Long-Lasting Protection:OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent

Created for outdoor camping, this specialized spray repellent is formulated with 25% DEET. This camping essential comes in a pack of two spray bottles that repel mosquitoes that carry Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya viruses. Apply this bug repellent on long camping trips for protection against biting flies, ticks, gnats, mosquitoes, and chiggers.

Product Dimensions: 1.81 x 3.63 x 6.4 inches | Weight: 12.63 Ounces

Pros

  • Non-oily
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Safe for adults and kids
  • Pleasant smell
  • Doesn’t spoil clothes

Cons

  • Aerosol may not spray the product out conveniently
Our Reviewer's Experience

"Unlike my older spray, this one does not leave a greasy residue or overwhelming chemical smell. It worked wonders both when I was inside the house and outside during peak mosquito season. However, I used to reply after every few hours to ensure foolproof protection."

protip_icon Quick tip
Reapply the repellant spray or cream multiple times throughout the day to keep harmful insects and pests at bay. You should also spray your pant cuffs, footwear, socks, and shoulders to stay safe from creepy crawlies and flies.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Over 27,129 satisfied customers have left positive reviews about the product on Amazon.

Thermacell Cambridge Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield Lantern
Best Easy-To-Use
Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent
Best Fragrance-Free
OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent
Best Long-Lasting Protection
Dimensions 4.75"L x 5"W x 7.1"H 2 x 2 x 8 inches. 1.81 x 3.63 x 6.4 inches
Weight 1 Pounds 4.9 ounces-
Material Durable--
Color Black--
Weight-- 12.63 Ounces
Rating
Reviews13,8101,70827,129
Price$29.0$10.83$9.98

4. Best Waterproof:Cliganic 10 Pack Mosquito Repellent Bracelets

Cliganic’s mosquito repellent bracelet is a blend of essential oils. Best suited for those who are allergic to chemical odors, this effective mosquito-repellent bracelet is made with natural plant citronella, geraniol, and lemongrass oils. The tried-and-tested bands are stretchable, of universal size, and DEET free. They naturally keep the bugs away and offer pest prevention for camping. These best-selling bracelets are wrapped in separate resealable bags and come with a 90-day warranty, offering guaranteed outdoor bug control.

Item Weight: 4.2 ounces | Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.3 x 4.5 inches

Pros

  • Stretchable and easy to wear
  • Wrapped in separate packs to keep them fresh
  • Waterproof design
  • Can be worn on the wrist or ankle
  • Fits adults as well as kids
  • Plant-based active ingredients

Cons

  • Taller people may need to wear two bands for effectiveness

Our Reviewer's Experience

"My evening strolls have been much more pleasant since I started wearing these mosquito-repellent bracelets. Unlike traditional sprays, they don't even let out any odors. Also, the individual packages are a boon for portability."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

About 13,016 reviewers on Amazon have given their seal of approval to the product.

5. Best Non-Greasy:Mosquito Guard Kids Repellent Bands/Bracelets

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4.1

A pack of 20 individually packed bands made with citronella, geraniol, and lemongrass oils, the Mosquito Guard DEET-free repellent bands effectively keep mosquitoes away while camping. These trusted insect barriers for camping are non-toxic and can protect your children from annoying mosquito bites when they play outdoors.

Product Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 2 inches | Weight: 7.37 Ounces

Pros

  • Comfortable to wear, stretchable
  • Can be worn around wrists and ankles
  • Non-greasy, non-oily
  • Fragrance-free
  • A good fit for kids and adults

Cons

  • May not be effective for long
Our Reviewer's Experience

"The insect-repellent bands have been a practical solution for enjoying summer evenings outdoors. Even the kids don't mind wearing them as their colors are charming. And although chemical-free, each bracelet lasts a good few days."

protip_icon Quick tip
Oils such as clove, eucalyptus, citronella, patchouli, catnip, peppermint, and more are the most effective for repelling bugs and mosquitoes. So, look for repellants with these ingredients for effective results.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 7,098 reviews on Amazon, this product is a winner.

6. Best Lightweight:Repel 100 Insect Repellent, Pump Spray

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4.4

Repel pump spray contains 98.11% DEET and effectively keeps away fleas, gnats, ticks, and other insects that can spoil your outdoor adventure. With close to 100% DEET, this insect repellent spray provides good protection from different types of insects.

Item Weight: 1 ounces | Product Dimensions: 4.13 x 1.13 x 6.75 inches.

Pros

  • Provides up to ten hours of protection
  • Compact, travel-friendly pump spray
  • Protection from mosquitoes causing Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, etc.
  • Lightweight and handy

Cons

  • May stain clothes
  • May have a strong scent

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I carried it on my recent camping trip, and a few spritzes were enough to keep me bite-free for hoursWhile it goes on smoothly, it takes a moment to dry. Still, its potency has made it a dependable choice for me."


7. Best Low-Odor:Coleman 100 Max 100% DEET Insect Repellent Spray

Coleman offers a 100% DEET insect repellent spray. It is best suited for camping and hiking with a promise of long-lasting protection. This spray works as your effective outdoor insect defense while camping. You can stay protected from various viruses using this reliable insect repellent.

Item Weight: 4.6 ounces | Product Dimensions: 2.75 x 2.75 x 8.55 inches.

Pros

  • Lasts up to ten hours
  • Withstands sweat and water
  • Low-odor
  • Uniform application
  • Effective protection against bugs

Cons

  • May ruin clothes, shoes, or sunglasses
  • May feel sticky

Our Tester's Experience

"The slight chemical smell aside, this spray has been the perfect find for my outdoor adventures. I was amazed it worked on all kinds of bugs, including flees and deer flies. All in all, it has proven to be a versatile and effective insect repeller."


8. Best Travel-Friendly:Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Balm

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4.3
Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Balm Image: Murphys Naturals

Murphy’s natural mosquito repellent is made of olive, lemongrass, castor oils, and various other non-chemical ingredients. A handy pack, this effective mosquito repellent is easy to apply and best suited for camping. With this plant-based, DEET-free balm, you can protect your body from pesky mosquito bites when out camping or hiking.

Product Dimensions: 2.75 x 2.75 x 1 inches | Weight: 2.88 Ounces

Pros

  • Contains no harmful chemicals
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Travel-friendly pack
  • Non-greasy, non-oily
  • Good for adults and kids
  • Lasts long

Cons

  • Application may feel tedious
  • Tin packaging may not be convenient

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I have had a positive experience regardless of whether I applied this balm during outdoor grilling or trekking trips. Its DEET-free formula is gentle on my skin, and its subtle scent is lovely. I did find it a bit pricey, but a small amount goes a long way, making it cost-effective."


9. Best Chemical-Free: Black+Decker Bug Zapper

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4
Black+Decker Bug Zapper Image: Black+decker

Keep your campsite or garden bug-free with this portable, lightweight bug zapper by Black+Decker. The zapper is high-voltage and quite powerful because it easily attracts mosquitoes, flies, wasps, and more, killing them instantly. Appreciated by reviewers, this bug control device will cover up to one acre of land, and collect the bugs on a removable tray to prevent them from littering the floor. Additionally, the UV light is non-toxic and kills the bugs in a humane manner during the day or night.

Material: Metal | Color: Black | Item Weight: 4.44 pounds | Product Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 28 inches

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Clog-proof design
  • Cleaning brush is included
  • Long-lasting performance

Cons

  • Zapper may make a low buzzing sound if used for long
  • Bulbs may need replacement after six months

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Setting up this nifty thing was a breeze, and it has done a remarkable job of reducing the insect population in my house. Besides, its frame feels solid, and the electrical mechanism has made it hassle-free to keep my home from turning into their breeding ground."


10. Best Eco-Friendly:La Fresh Mosquito Repellent Wipes

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4.2
La Fresh Mosquito Repellent Wipes Image: Lafresh

With this natural mosquito repellent for camping, you can keep yourself protected from bugs, mosquitoes, and insects. It comes in a pack of 50 wipes made of natural oils that are individually packed for effectiveness. These are non-toxic, DEET-free mosquito wipes with 99.8% repellence against mosquitoes. The camping insect deterrents have been tested and come as handy protection against mosquitoes.

Number of Items: 50 Count (Pack of 1)

Pros

  • 100% natural
  • Eco-friendly
  • Gentle on babies
  • Easy to carry
  • Long-lasting formula
  • Sweat-resistant

Cons

  • May have a strong scent

Our Reviewer's Experience

"These mosquito-repellent wipes have become a staple in my bag as they are the only pest-repellent my kid likes to use. They even have a light peppermint scent that he enjoys. Some may find them oily, but they work well for our needs."


11. Best Recyclable Packaging:Badger- Anti-Bug Shake & Spray

This pack of two natural bug sprays offers the best way to protect yourself when hunting, fishing, or camping. Made of pure essential oils, this time-tested spray bug repellent is free from synthetic chemicals.

Product Dimensions: 2.76 x 7.31 x 1.38 inches | Weight: 9.6 Ounces

Pros

  • Safe and effective
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Packaging can be recycled
  • Provides over three hours of protection
  • Plant-based active ingredients

Cons

  • May have a strong smell
  • Bottle may leak

Our Reviewer's Experience

"The DEET-free formula is the first thing that appealed to me. It's reassuring that it is safe for the kids, though the essential oil scent took some time to get used to. Yet, it's been a dependable find when considering its natural formula and price."


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose The Right Bug Repellent For Camping?

Here are the essential features to look for in a bug repellent for camping.

  1. Outdoor conditions: You must select a repellent that suits the climatic conditions or camping activity. The harsher the conditions, the stronger the repellent should be. Choose waterproof repellents when traveling to wet or snowy areas.
  1. Ingredients: The active ingredient DEET is the best choice if you stay longer in harsher environments. If the outdoor activity is around 5-6 hours, then go for repellents that contain natural oils.
  1. Size: The ideal size would depend upon the duration of your camp. Smaller size repellents are best suited for two-three days camp. You may require more quantity if the camp lasts longer than one week.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which types of repellents are most effective?

DEET is the most effective bug repellent. There are several products in the market with variable DEET quantities ranging from 5% to 100%. The longer the protection you need, the higher the concentration of DEET in the product should be. But while using DEET, proper precautions must be taken, especially when around children.

2. Can I use insect repellents on kids and pets?

There are specially formulated insect repellents for kids as well as pets. While buying mosquito repellent for kids, avoid products with a higher concentration of DEET. When you buy for cats, do not pick repellents that contain Permethrin.

3. Should I use insect repellent on the skin or clothes?

Many repellents are for skin application, while some are meant for use on clothes. Check the instructions on how to use it before trying.

4. Are DEET-based mosquito repellents safe for children?

Mosquito repellents with DEET have been tested for kids. They have been found safe for kids older than two months. However, extra care must be taken when using products with DEET, especially when children are around. Always use repellents with lower DEET concentration. Products beyond 30% DEET concentration should be avoided for children. Avoid using products with DEET more than once in a day.

5. What is the alternative to DEET-based repellents?

DEET-based repellents are known to be most effective. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are the best alternatives to DEET. Picaridin is a synthetic repellent that is safe to use for kids above two months of age. Repellents made from lemon eucalyptus oil are natural and can repel insects for up to six hours.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Our writers and reviewers have analyzed many bug repellents in-depth before preparing this list for you. We have picked the above products due to their easy usage, long-lasting effect, and compact designs. We have tailored the list to include repellent creams, sprays, and lights, along with their pros and cons and detailed features. There is also a buying guide with the necessary information to make your choice easier.

The Bottom Line

Camping is a great outdoor activity that brings you closer to nature. To ensure you have a pleasant camping experience sans the mosquito and insect bites, you must invest in the best bug repellents for camping. Made of high-quality, potent active ingredients that take down even the most rebellious bugs, these repellents are campsite essentials. However, before choosing the ideal formula, ensure it works even in harsh climates and is water-repellent, like the Coleman 100 Max 100% DEET Insect Repellent Spray. Also, ensure it is long-lasting like the OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent and has an odor-free formula like the Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.

Infographic: Dos And Don’ts Of Using Bug Repellents

A bug repellent is helpful during trips and picnics, letting you enjoy the outdoors without being bothered by insects and bugs. Check out the infographic below to learn about various precautions you should take when using bug repellents. This will help you use the repellent safely.

Precautions To Take When Using Bug Repellents (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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Daniel Espada

Daniel EspadaAdventurer

Daniel Espada is the founder of geardventure.com. He is himself a certified scuba diver and an adventurer. Being an engineer, Daniel utilizes his technical knowledge and love for the outdoors to inspire his readers to go out there and enjoy life.read full bio