TOP 15 Best Bug and Mosquito Repellents for Camping Reviewed 2020

A camping trip is about the fun, the outdoors, and the campfire until you have a swarm of insects buzzing around your tent.

Mosquitoes and bugs in general can be annoying, let alone the stingy, itchy bites.

But, with the best mosquito repellent, you can keep them at bay and enjoy your camping experience.

Before my camping trip, I searched for the best mosquito repellents for camping in 2020 and found quite a number. Also, I learned a few things to keep in mind when buying one and compiled down below to help you too.

TOP 15 Best Mosquito Repellents for Camping 2020

Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks

Review: Murphy’s Naturals have changed the game when it comes to making natural insect control products. These sticks, for example, provide a balance between effectiveness and safety.

It is fascinating to know that natural products can be effective at controlling insects and even killing them. These sticks are concentrated with powerful essential oils that keep mosquitoes and bugs away for up to 2.5 hours.

The all-natural ingredients include rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, bamboo, and cedarwood.

Pros

  • High concentration to repel.
  • A light, refreshing scent.
  • Comes as a pack of 12 sticks.
  • All-natural formulation.

Cons

  • The sticks do not provide long-lasting protection.

Takeaway

Do you prefer natural repellents to chemical formulations? This Murphy’s natural repellent sticks could work for you.

However, you might need to keep lighting them to repel bugs for a more extended period.

Sawyer Products Picaridin Insect Repellent

Review: This particular repellent comes in a more potent formulation to control insects, including mosquitoes, flies, etc.

It comes as a lotion that is safe to apply to your skin for long-lasting protection. On average, it should provide up to 14 hours against mosquitoes and up 8 hours against flies, chiggers, and gnats.

If you are planning a camping trip with kids, this one will work well. It is fragrance-free and applies just like regular body lotion.

With the 20% Picaridin, the repellent is more effective than most sprays on the market.

Pros

  • Ideal for outdoor adventures.
  • Easy to apply and rub.
  • Non-greasy formula that dries quickly.
  • Top-rated option.

Cons

  • Might need a lot in highly-infested areas.

Takeaway

From applying easily to keeping mosquitoes and other insects away, this repellent is one of the best. It is suitable for use in the outdoors and does not irritate the skin, hence ideal for everyone.

W4W Portable Mosquito Coil and Incense Burner

Review: The mosquito repellent pack provides the best value for your money. It comes with a coil holder, mosquito coil, and an incense burner, all practical for keeping mosquitoes away.

Is it suitable for camping, though?

You can hang the coil with the holder or lay it flat on a surface to repel mosquitoes. Say, for example, if you are camping, you can hang the coil holder right at your camping tent door to repel mosquitoes.

The coil is designed to burn slowly and provide protection for up to 7 hours. The design protects the coil from weather elements and allows it to burn slowly, releasing the right amount of smoke.

Pros

  • Easy to put together and use.
  • The tray holds ashes.
  • Versatile for any condition or environment.
  • High-quality, fire-retardant glass fiber nets.

Cons

  • Strong scent.

Takeaway

If you can stand the odor of mosquito repellent coils, you should not have a problem with this one. It is super convenient to carry with you and pop it out to use when you need to.

Sawyer Products Permethrin Insect Repellent

Review: I do not like applying repellents on my skin mainly because I dislike the scents and the formulations. I found this repellent that I can use on my clothes, camping tent, or gear to repel insects. How cool?

So, the repellent comes in a Permethrin formula that effectively repels mosquitoes, including those responsible for the Zika Virus. It comes in a handy, convenient spray bottle that makes it easy to apply on clothes and tents.

The best part is that it is odorless, so you do not have to struggle taking in strong scents. And, just in case you are worried about it staining your clothes or surfaces, no need to worry.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Can treat up to 8 garments.
  • Effective against various insects.
  • Ideal for hunting, camping, etc.

Cons

  • Can be messy to apply.

Takeaway

The spray bottle is not the best for easy application, but the formulation does the job effectively.

If you are looking for the best insect repellent for camping, I bet this would work well against most insects.

Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Balm

Review: Another repellent from Murphy’s, but this time a balm, can be an excellent choice for regular use. Even though I dislike lotions, I can give this a chance; solely because it is made of all-natural ingredients.

The balm comes in a DEET-free formula and consists of essential oils that repel away insects. It has beeswax, castor oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and cedarwood oil. All these ingredients are safe to use on the skin; therefore, ideal for kids.

I also love the packaging of the repellent, which makes it ideal for travel. You can easily carry the balm tin in your pocket, backpack, or purse and apply when you need to.

Pros

  • A high-quality essential oil blend.
  • Light scent.
  • Safe and natural formulation.
  • Pocket size.

Cons

  • The dense texture needs constant rubbing.

Takeaway

The heavy texture is quite a downside, but if you do not mind rubbing it on your skin continuously, it should work just fine.

The fact that it is all-natural is a great selling point for natural product enthusiasts.

Coleman DEET Insect Repellent Spray

Review: I love repellent spray for how easy they are to apply. I do not need to rub anything, and the coverage is always better than using lotions.

If this is what you like, the Coleman Insect Repellent should be top of your list.

It comes in an aerosol can that is easy to spray on any surface. On this note, it works well for camping and repels ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, flies, and gnats.

What’s more? It offers up to 10 hours of protection against insects.

Pros

  • Withstands water.
  • Low-odor formulation.
  • A little goes a long way.
  • Long-lasting protection.

Cons

  • Greasy on the skin.

Takeaway

The best mosquito spray for camping, this repellent is easy to use on the skin. The formula is a little greasy immediately after spraying but dries down quickly.

OFF Deep Woods Mosquito Repellent

Review: Planning a camping trip? I bet you will need a supply of insect repellent deep in the woods. And, because we are out here looking for deals, I had to include this 4-pack mosquito repellent spray.

It comes as a concentrated formulation with 25% DEET to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay. It provides long-lasting protection and keeps you safe from mosquitoes that may carry Zika, Dengue, or West Nile viruses.

I am yet to try it, but the formula looks like something I would love. And, it dries down quickly, so you do not have to worry about an oily effect on your skin.

Pros

  • Provides excellent value for money.
  • Ideal for a group of campers.
  • Repels most insects found in the woods.
  • Easy to spray.

Cons

  • Strong scent.

Takeaway

A money-saving option, this repellent is an excellent choice if you are going camping as a group.

The fact that it repels most insects makes it the best bug repellent for campsite use. The scent might be a turn-off, but you can compromise on that with the protection it provides.

Repel Plant-Based Insect Repellent

Review: I like discovering natural products more so plant-based ones. I found this highly-rated plant-based repellent and had to include it on this list. There must be something that gives it so much popularity among other natural repellents.

What is in the formula?

It is made of oil from lemon eucalyptus that is known for keeping insects away. It is DEET-free and all-natural, therefore safe to use on the skin. Additionally, it has a refreshing citrusy scent, so you do not have to put up with chemical bug smells.

The formula is mild but effective at repelling mosquitoes for hours.

Pros

  • All-natural safe formulation.
  • Non-greasy and non-sticky.
  • Easy to use.
  • Small-pocket size.

Cons

  • The smell might be too intense for some people.

Takeaway

For the price and the value you get with this repellent, it is worth a try. If you have a sensitive nose, however, you might find the scent too strong and offensive.

Sallyeander No-Bite-Me Natural Bug Repellent

Review: Repellents work to keep bugs away, but what happens if one sneaks in and bites? Mmmh, itch, and curse that the repellent did not work? I got a solution for that; this repellent from Sallyeander.

It works as a 2-in-1 formula to prevent bites and as an after-bite treatment. It is a must-have if you are camping and intend to spend most of your hours outdoors.

I like that it has all-natural ingredients including mint, lemongrass, rosemary, clove, thyme, etc. The blend of 16 essential oils keeps bugs away without harming your skin. The repellent provides up to 4 hours of protection.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic formula.
  • Provides relief after bites.
  • Easy to apply and blend in.
  • Safe to use on children.

Cons

  • Strong scent.

Takeaway

You can keep this in your backpack as a top-up on other repellents you carry. On its own, it works well to repel bugs and provides relief after bites, which is a plus.

You might have to put up with the smell, especially if you are sensitive to strong scents.

Citronella Candles Mosquito Repellent

Review: If you love scented candles and would love to carry some to your next camping expedition, these Citronella ones are a viable choice. They have a delicious lemongrass scent and work to repel mosquitoes both indoors and outdoors.

They come in a mild yet effective formulation to keep mosquitoes away. The candles come as jars with tight-fitting lids, making them easy to carry and pack. On this note, you can pack a few jars in your camping luggage to use when needed.

Value for money? They burn slowly, so they last a long time.

Pros

  • They come in a pack of four.
  • Applicable in different areas.
  • Effective at repelling mosquitoes.
  • A light, sweet scent.

Cons

  • Not suitable for a large area.

Takeaway

The candles are great if you are looking for a vibrant feel while keeping the mosquitoes away. You might need to light a few jars at a time, especially in large spaces.

Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion

Review: It is crucial to keep a tub of mosquito repellent in your hand luggage or backpack. If you predict the presence of mosquitoes in the new environment, this repellent lotion can come in handy.

It comes in a light formulation, just like regular body lotion, for easy application.

The repellent contains 34.34% DEET, known for its superior action against insects. It repels mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, chiggers, deer flies, and gnats.

It is small, but a little goes a long way. Surprisingly, it can protect for up to 12 hours with a single application.

Pros

  • Effective at repelling mosquitoes.
  • Small, pocket-size.
  • Long-lasting protection.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Might leave a sticky residue.

Takeaway

A small, easy-to-pack repellent that will keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay. It is an ideal repellant to carry in your pocket and slather on your skin when the need arises.

It might leave a sticky residue, but rubbing it in more might help.

Ranger Ready Insect Repellent

Review: A small spray bottle of repellent might just be what you need on that camping trip. This small one from Ranger Ready can come in handy to protect you from stings and bites from insects.

It has 20% picaridin as the active ingredient. It is known for its strength and potency as far as repelling insects goes. On this note, it keeps them at bay, protecting against bites for up 12 hours.

It is super safe to use, and since it comes in a spray bottle, a little goes a long way. You can use it for kids and not worry about any health risks.

Pros

  • Dries quickly after application.
  • Small, convenient bottle.
  • Multipurpose for repelling most insects.
  • Safe and effective formulation.

Cons

  • A little oily.
  • A strong scent.

Takeaway

Relatively new on the market, but it looks like it has the potential to keep bugs away. The bottle is simple to use, and the formula is effective. Although oily, the repellent is easy to apply on the skin.

Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Cones

Review: Murphy’s repellents have dominated this list but, they have something to write home about. These cones are another option if you are considering a plant-based, DEET-free repellent.

One tube comes with 36 cones and a ceramic dish to set the cones in place. They are great for camping, and you can set a few cones around the campsite to repel mosquitoes.

How about the formula?

It is an all-natural formula containing plant-based ingredients to ensure safety all through. The cones consist of rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, bamboo, and cedarwood oils. This blend of essential oils irritates bugs keeping them away from your tent.

Pros

  • Refreshing scent.
  • Highly-concentrate.
  • Effective and practical.
  • Excellent value for money.

Cons

  • The cones burn anything under them.

Takeaway

These cones are a great alternative if you are not about using sprays, lotions, or creams as repellents.

You only need to set one in place and stay free from mosquitoes and other insects. Just makes sure you use the ceramic bowl as the cones can burn the surface under.

Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller

Review: The best bug repellent for camping should cover a significant distance to ensure the area around the tents is free from insects.

This portable repellent should be one of your considerations for long-lasting protection.

It is easier to use than sprays, lotions, and coils. It comes with a switch on the front that you can turn on and a button to start the heat source.

The olive green exterior gives it the attractive design yet blends in nicely with the surrounding. It is an excellent repellent for camping, hunting, or fishing.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable.
  • DEET-free.
  • Scent-free.
  • 15-foot protection.

Cons

  • Needs refilling every few hours.

Takeaway

The repellent is ideal for your camping trip; it is easy to use and effective at repelling mosquitoes.

However, it needs refills every few hours, especially in areas with many mosquitoes and other insects.

W4W Mosquito Repellent Coils

Review: I cannot dismiss the good ole mosquito coils. There is something about the burning and the release of fumes that keep mosquitoes away. And, since they have worked for a long time, you should always have a pack with you.

These come as a pack of 12 coils and 6 coil stands, giving you the best value. Each coil is designed to burn for 5 to 7 hours, providing you hours of protection against mosquito bites.

More to this, one coil covers up to 10 feet, so you will need just a few to use at your campsite and keep bugs away.

Pros

  • Easy to light and burn.
  • Long-lasting protection.
  • Come with stands for easy use.

Cons

  • Only suitable for an enclosed area.

Takeaway

A few coils, and you do not have to worry about buzzing mosquitoes.

However, if you use them in an enclosed area, you get the best protection, say inside your camping tent. Therefore, you need to be careful about burning them.

Buying Guide to the Best Mosquito & Bug Repellents for Camping

Mosquitos and bug repellent can be a by-the-way when planning your camping trip. But, just like you pack your camping hammock, you should never leave home without a repellent. On this note, you should find practical and effective ones to keep the bugs away.

Here are essential factors you should keep in mind.

hiker applying mosquito repellent on his leg in tropical forest

Types of Repellents

Mosquito and bug repellents come in different types owing to the mode of application. The most common ones are sprays, topical lotions, oils, candles, and sticks.

Most people prefer using lotions and creams as they believe they repel better on the skin.

Others prefer sprays since they are easy to apply. Also, a little does a long way, and you do not have to keep reapplying.

Coils, candles, and sticks work well in repelling mosquitoes and other insects in a confined area. By burning, these release fumes that keep bugs away.

They are useful, but not all provide long-lasting protection. A tip when using this is to add on other types of repellents for effectiveness.

The Ingredients

What active ingredient is in the repellent you choose? Are the ingredients all-natural or chemical?

Check the description of the repellents you like to ascertain if the ingredients are sufficient to repel insects.

Some of the active ingredients in chemical-based formulas are picaridin, DEET, and Permethrin. These are used in various percentages, so a higher percentage of the active ingredient indicates higher potency of the repellent.

On the other hand, natural ones use essential oils, herbs, and incense as the main ingredients. Common ones are rosemary, lemongrass, citronella, peppermint, thyme, etc.

Both natural and chemical-based formulas work, but the effectiveness varies from one brand to another.

Outdoor Conditions

Where are you going camping? If you are camping in a mosquito-prevalent area, you might need a highly-concentrated repellent.

For example, if you are camping up in the mountains, you are most likely to find bugs. Be ready with an insect repellent and do not forget to pack a bear spray as well.

Camping in winter? Stay away from repellents that may not put up with the elements. Examples are coils, sticks, and candles. Instead, choose topical repellents and sprays.

backpacker standing on top of mountain during golden hours

FAQs

How do I keep bugs from my campsite?

It is advisable to have an insect repellent with you. This could be a spray, lotion, or coil.

Depending on where you are camping, a high-quality repellent should keep bugs away and protect you from bites.

A good idea would be to have more than one repellent with you. That way, you can layer up and use more if necessary. It does not hurt to have extra protection with you, especially when you do not know what to expect.

What is the best bug repellent for camping?

Bug repellents work differently for everyone. What might be best for you might be irritating to your friend. The idea is to find a repellent that you can stand. For example, if you dislike lotions, you might want to try sprays and assess how they work.

As long as you find a repellent with superior active ingredients and a known track record, you should be okay with it.

What can you spray to keep bugs away?

You can use DIY solutions such as vinegar/water to keep bugs away. But, if you are camping, this might not be the best method of keeping bugs out.

On this note, I recommend getting a proven bug repellent to use when camping. That way, you do not have prior preparations to do when the need to use a repellent arises.

How do I keep bugs out of my tent?

Even with a repellent, you might find a few naughty bugs in your tent. A tip is to go in and out of your tent as little as possible. Before you enter your tent, brush off any bugs hanging out the door.

Also, insects are drawn to light, so keeping your tent’s interior as dark as possible will keep them out. Only use your flashlight when necessary and keep the door closed at all times.

Summary

It is clear that a mosquito and bug repellent is a must-have when camping. With an effective one, you will get to enjoy your camping trip and worry less about bites and stings.

I hope this was helpful and you now have an idea of which repellent you should pack on your next trip. Leave me a comment and let me know which one you like or prefer.