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 repellants for camping and other outdoor adventures, which can protect you from mosquito bites and other insects while you’re in the embrace of nature.
It’s crucial to shield yourself with the right oil, lotion, cream, or spray when camping. Here, we discuss some of the most effective bug repellants that will protect you from annoying and dangerous pests and make your vacation much more enjoyable.
Types of Repellents
Before buying bug repellents, learn about the various types of repellents available in the market. They come in three basic types:
- Natural repellents: They are free from chemicals and are mostly made with natural ingredients like essential oils that are safe to use.
- Bands or bracelets: They are 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.
- DEET repellents: They are widely used repellents in the United States and are known to be effective.
11 Best Bug Repellents For Camping Of 2023
Thermacell offers one of the best portable outdoor camping devices to repel mosquitoes. The lantern-shaped device had 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 open flames. The easy-to-use device repels mosquitoes by creating 15-foot protection. Its attractive construction provides ambient light.
- Easy to use and effective
- Lightweight and portable
- Provides light along with mosquito protection
- No spraying
- Expensive refills
The wearable bug repellent from Sawyer Products is best suited for camping. Sawyer assures its non-greasy formula keeps different kinds of bugs away. 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 the product if you require more details.
- Non-greasy application
- Repels disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes
- Lasts for up to 12 hours
- Doesn’t harm synthetics and plastics
- May not be effective
Created for outdoor camping, this spray repellent is formulated with 25% DEET. It comes in a pack of two bottles effective in repelling 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.
- Long-lasting protection
- Safe for adults and kids
- Pleasant smell
- Doesn’t spoil clothes
- Aerosol may not spray the product out conveniently
Cliganic’s mosquito repellent bracelet is a blend of essential oils. Best suited for those who are allergic to chemical odor, this repellent bracelet is made with natural plant citronella, geraniol, and lemongrass oils. The bands are stretchable, of universal size, and DEET free. They naturally keep the bugs away when camping. These bracelets are wrapped in separate resealable bags and come with 90 days warranty.
- Stretchable and easy to wear
- Separate pack to maintain the freshness
- Waterproof design
- Can be worn on the wrist or ankle
- Fits adults as well as kids
- Taller people may need to wear two bands for effectiveness
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. They are non-toxic and can protect your children from deadly mosquito bites when they play outdoors.
- Comfortable to wear, stretchable
- Can be worn around wrists and ankles
- Non-greasy, non-oily
- A good fit for kids and adults
- May not be effective for long
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 bug repellent provides complete protection from all types of insects
- Protection up to 10 hours
- Compact, travel-friendly pump spray
- Protection from mosquitoes causing Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, etc.
- Lightweight and handy
- May stain clothes
- May have a strong scent
Coleman offers a 100% DEET insect repellent spray. It is best suited for camping and hiking with a promise of long-lasting protection. You can stay protected from various viruses using this insect repellent.
- Lasts up to 10 hours
- Withstands perspiration and water
- Uniform application
- Effective protection against bugs
- May ruin clothes, shoes, or sunglasses
- May feel sticky
Murphy’s natural repellent is made of olive, lemongrass, castor oils, and various other non-chemical ingredients. A handy pack, this repellent is easy to apply and best suited for camping. With this plant-based, DEET-free balm, you can protect yourself from the pesky mosquitoes.
- Contains no harmful chemicals
- Pleasant fragrance
- Travel-friendly pack
- Non-greasy, non-oily
- Good for adults and kids
- Lasts long
- Application may feel tedious
- Tin packaging may not be convenient
The ‘Bug Zapper’ from BroElec is smartly designed as a tent light with three different modes to keep your family protected from bugs. The mosquitoes will surely get a shock of their life when they come anywhere near the ‘Bug Zapper.’ It comes with a rechargeable battery that promises lighting time of up to 24 hours and mosquito killer function time of up to 30 hours.
- Can be used as a bug zapper or tent light or both
- EPA registered
- Noiseless, chemical-free design
- Has three brightness levels
- Long-lasting battery
- Waterproof construction
- Comes with a hook to hang
- Compact and handy
- Requires regular cleaning
With this natural bug repellent for camping, you can be 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. It comes as handy protection against mosquitoes.
- 100% natural
- Gentle on babies
- Easy to carry
- Long-lasting formula
- May have a strong scent
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 spray bug repellent is free from synthetic chemicals.
- Safe and effective
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Packaging can be recycled
- Protects for three hours
- May have a strong smell
- Bottle may leak
How To Choose The Right Bug Repellent For Camping?
Here are the essential features to look for in a bug repellent for camping.
- Outdoor conditions: You must select a repellent that suits the climatic conditions or camping activity. Harsher the conditions, stronger must be the repellent. Choose waterproof repellents when traveling to wet or snowy areas.
- Ingredients: DEET is the best choice if you stay longer in harsher environs. If the outdoor activity is around 5-6 hours, then go for repellents that contain natural oils.
- 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.
Why Trust MomJunction?
We 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 made the list versatile by including 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.
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 should be the concentration of DEET in the product. 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. Do you use insect repellent on 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.
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 repellants for camping. Made of potent ingredients that take down even the most rebellious bugs, these repellants are campsite essentials. However, before choosing the ideal formula, ensure it works even in harsh climates and is water-repellent. Also, ensure it lasts you your entire camping duration.