We’ve all been there: You’re tent camping outside, and you go to sleep in your tent only to wake up the next morning with a bug bite. It might seem like a small issue—after all, how can bugs get inside of your tent? Yet, if they do manage to find their way into your space then it is very likely that they will also find their way onto you! To keep this from happening, here are 13 tips for how to keep bugs out of tent to try on your next camping trip!
If you’re ready to start planning your next outdoor adventure, make sure that bugs are the last thing on your mind. Be prepared by using these simple tips for keeping insects out of a tent and off of you when camping. Not only will this keep you safe from pests, but it’ll also help keep them away from any food or supplies in the campsite too!
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Because female mosquitoes are attracted to human sweat, you’ll want to try and stay as dry as possible by wearing quick-drying, natural fibers like cotton or wool, as well as some high-quality DEET bug spray.
If you are looking for a more natural deterrent, this guide will help you find tons of bug repellent strategies that don’t require harsh chemicals.
Additionally, we’ve got all the resources you need to plan an epic camping trip, so grab your camping planner below!
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How to keep bugs out of tent when camping
Where to set up your tent
The most important tip for keeping bugs out of your tent when camping is to choose an appropriate tent location. Camping near any water will mean that there is a higher chance of insects being around—and the worst ones too!
Avoid camping near ponds and lakes or any standing water. Ponds are often inhabited by mosquito larvae at night which means you will be sharing your space with them!
Instead, avoid this insect breeding ground and try to find a high-up, dry area to set up your tent. Mosquitos and bugs are less likely to be active at night on the tops of hills. If you are camping in high altitudes, check out this guide for preventing altitude sickness.
Camping in a windy place is another tip for keeping bugs away from your tent because bugs have difficulty flying in windy weather conditions.
Additionally, mosquitos and other bugs use carbon dioxide as a guide to finding their victims, so try not to have your tent pitched near any bush, shrubbery, tall grasses, or dense vegetation because this creates an ideal hiding place for pesky insects!
Keep the tent door closed at all times
Keeping the tent door closed at all times will help keep bugs away. Be sure to only go in and out of your tent when absolutely necessary, to avoid bugs from accidentally entering your tent with you!
When you leave your camping site for a walk, a day hike, or any other activity, make sure that you zip up your tent before leaving. This will prevent insects from getting into the open door and making their way onto your sleeping bag.
The tent door and windows should always be closed when not in use. This might be difficult if you are camping with kids, but it is well worth the effort!
Make sure the tent zipper is at the top of the door
You already know to always keep your tent door closed, but make sure to also keep the zipper at the top of the door rather than towards the ground.
Bugs, especially mosquitoes, can easily get in through the bottom of a tent door. Keeping it zipped at the top will not only keep out bugs but also rain if you live in an area that experiences precipitation occasionally!
Plus, keeping the zipper at the top of the tent makes it easier to open and close the door- no need to bend over every time you need to get inside!
If you are camping with dogs, this will also prevent your dog from running in and out of the tent, which can let bugs in!
Use a mesh screen on windows and doors
Another way to keep bugs out of tent when camping is to use a mesh screen on windows and doors. The mesh screen will allow fresh air into your tent and help keep it bug-free!
Using a mesh screen will also help keep your tent cool when it is hot outside. Proper ventilation in a tent will also keep moisture out, which means no mold and mildew in your tent.
If you do not have a mesh screen, try hanging some fine-weave cloth or mosquito netting above the entrance to your tent. Any extra barrier you can add will help prevent bugs from entering your tent!
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Hang a mosquito net over your tent
Along with hanging a mesh screen over doors and windows, you can also consider hanging a mosquito net over your entire tent. This will keep bugs from getting in the tent and biting you while you sleep.
You can also buy screen rooms to put your tent inside. This adds another barrier that insects would have to get through in order to get into your tent, making it much more difficult!
Additionally, consider a screen room that has flooring. Many bugs enter your tent from the grasses, so this will keep bugs from crawling in through the bottom of your tent.
Make sure there is no food lying around
When trying to repel bugs and other insects, you should ensure there is no food lying around. Food and trash bins left out can attract bugs and insects that will then get into your tent.
You should also make sure you clean up any trash left around from cooking and eating. Be sure to bring trash bins or trash bags inside your car or to the dumpster as soon as possible. Bugs are attracted to food smells, so if there is a lot of leftover garbage it can attract them as well. Looking for some new camping meals? Check out our guide!
Food should also be kept away to deter other wild animals like bears from rummaging through your campsite!
If you can, put food into a locked bear box or inside your car. You can also store food in air-tight bags or containers so bugs are not attracted to your tent or campsite. Read more about camping organization tips here!
Check for any holes or openings in your tent
Always check for holes, tears, or openings in your tent. Even if it is a brand new tent, you want to give it a quick look over!
Many insects, especially mosquitos and ticks, can find their way into the smallest of openings. Make sure to check how well your tent is stitched together as a little hole might turn into a big one over time.
If you have discovered that there are some small openings in your tent, you want to make sure that you patch them up. If the holes are small it is easy to do this with some seam sealer or tent tape, but if there are bigger tears in your tent then you might need a new one!
Use citronella or other bug repellents in your tent
Another easy way to keep bugs out of tent when camping is to use citronella. Citronella is a plant that has been shown to be effective at keeping mosquitos and other flying insects away from humans. You can use citronella candles or even torches made with oil of lemon eucalyptus to keep bugs out of your tent when camping outside.
Place candles or insect repellent coils outside of your tent to help keep bugs away. You can place them on a foldable table or picnic table around your tent.
Never use candles with an open flame in your tent. Instead, opt for bug repelling diffusers or bug repelling bracelets. If bugs do happen to get into your tent, they will be less likely to approach you if you are wearing DEET sprays, which means fewer bug bites!
Avoid bright lights during the nighttime hours
Bright lights and artificial light sources are known to attract insects, so avoid using lights as much as possible after dark. If you are using a phone or other device, try lowering the brightness to avoid drawing them in.
If you need to use a light, consider using a headlamp or flashlight that emits red light, as this has been shown to be the least attractive color for insects.
Turn off any artificial light as quickly as possible after you are done using them to help repel insects from your area. Consider using a campfire for lighting instead of a flashlight or headlamp, as bugs are less attracted to the light created by fire, and the smoke can help repel insects.
Use lavender essential oils to repel mosquitoes
Lavender is one of the best natural insect repellents that can easily deter insects from entering your tent. Use a diffuser to release lavender essential oils into the air and let it spread inside of your tent. This is a great option if you have sensitive skin or don’t want to use harsh chemicals or traditional bug spray.
You can also add some drops of lavender oil on your pillow, around your sleeping bag, or place a few drops around areas where insects tend to hang out in order to keep these pesky bugs away from you when camping outdoors.
Another way how you can use lavender for this purpose is by mixing it with water, rubbing alcohol, and natural witch hazel in a spray bottle. Then – when needed – simply spritz this mix around your tent to keep mosquitoes away. This is an awesome natural insect repellent that really works!
It’s also possible to make lavender oil-based candles that are meant specifically for repelling insects. To do so you can fill up an old jar or glass with melted paraffin wax, add five drops of lavender oil and light it up.
Spray a mixture of water and vinegar around the perimeter of your tent to keep bugs away
Another one of our favorite natural bug deterrents is made with a mixture of water and vinegar. Simply mix equal parts of the two together and spray it around your tent, or better yet – on yourself. Mosquitoes don’t like the smell of vinegar, so those annoying insects will stay away from your tent and away from you!
Tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar are other natural bug repellents known to help create a bug-free camping experience using as few harsh chemicals as possible. Simply mix a few drops of tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar with water and spray it around the perimeter of your tent, or put a few tablespoons in a spritzer bottle to keep at your campsite.
Use a fan to get rid of flying pests
Another way to bug proof your tent from nasty insects is to use a fan. Not only will this help keep you cool in the summer months, but bugs have a difficult time flying in the air when there is a fan running. Turn on a small battery-operated fan, and it will create an airflow that bugs do not like, keeping them away from your tent.
Put a fan inside or tent, or even on the outside of your tent to help bug proof your tent. This is another one of our favorite natural repellents because it uses no chemicals, and requires little to no effort!
Store gear outside of your tent
Camping gear can easily attract bugs into your tent. To avoid this, store all of your gear outside of the tent to keep them away from your sleeping area. This is especially important when you are camping in an area with lots of blood-sucking insects like mosquitos or ticks.
Bugs can easily be tracked into your tent when they latch onto your camping gear. This is especially true with clothing and shoes, so be sure to leave these items outside of your tent when possible.
Additionally, never leave toiletries inside your tent, as bugs and other wild animals are attracted to the smell. Store these inside your car when possible or in an air-tight container.
You can always store clothing and other items in a large plastic container if you want to keep them in your tent without worrying about ruining your bug proof area! Read more about organizing camping gear here.
It’s a fact of life that bugs find their way into tents, but with these simple steps, you can have peace of mind when it comes to your camping experience. We hope that these tips gave you a few things to help create a better camping trip for you and your family or friends!
Don’t forget to grab your camping planner to help you plan the best camping trip possible!