Pitch Without the Itch: How to Avoid Bugs When Camping

How to Avoid Bugs When CampingInsects love me.  It’s all to do with smell.  They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we breathe out and the lactic acid in our sweat.  This explains why I am so irresistible to horseflies during a hot climb.  After a week of back-packing I used to count more than 40 bites which I scratched for the rest of the summer and have the scars to prove it.  Here are some tips on how to avoid bugs when camping which worked for me.

Where to Camp

There are less biting insects on higher ground because it tends to be un-sheltered and breezy.   Low-lying campsites in fields or near water will be fully booked by horseflies and midges. For more tips on where not to set up your tent read the article “Tips to Prevent Mosquitoes”.

What to Wear

I know it’s a shame in summer, but if you’re like me, you’ll leave your tee shirt and shorts at home and opt instead for lightweight trousers, which can be tucked into socks, and a light long-sleeved top.  That way you can enjoy your supper without being one.

What to Buy

I have found over the years that commercial repellents protect only the skin I have actually treated and do not prevent the insects from landing for a trial bite.  I needed a substance which threw them off the scent altogether.  A few years ago I walked with a friend who had smeared herself with citronella hand-wash.  She insisted it was the midge (mosquito) equivalent of a cloak of invisibility.  I thought, at the time, they were just ignoring her because I was tastier.

Citronella is a natural oil from lemon grasses and smells very pleasant, which is why it’s used in so many products.  I now take a soap for my morning wash, a spray for day-time top-up, and a scented candle for extra defense during the high-risk evenings.  I would love to report that I have the perfect solution, but the little blighters are too clever.  However, by protecting myself on all fronts, I have reduced my itchy hotspots to single figures and can concentrate on where I’m walking, rather than where I’m scratching.

If you know of some more strategies and techniques on how to avoid bugs when camping we would love to hear from you! Please share your expertise in the comment box below.

Author: Kay Ellis

Edited By: CampTrip.com

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4 responses to "Pitch Without the Itch: How to Avoid Bugs When Camping"

  • Lavender oil not only smells great but makes a good bug repellant.

  • Kaitlyn says:

    Excellent tip! Thank you!

  • dave stewart says:

    I spent 2 months up in Northern Alaska on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. One of the worst places for bugs in the world. We were camping out just off the river in a region that was filled with mosquito breeding ponds.
    My entire body was covered with clothing for most of the trip. I found a good head net that was really nice to have and was essential. We ended up setting up a really nice base camp tent and used that for periods to take off our gear and get away from the bugs.

  • i really enjoy this post, thank you for information, Love 🙂

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