Tips and advice

Are mosquito bites an inevitable part of camping?


Don’t let spiders, mosquitoes and other biting insects spoil your time in the great outdoors.

Whether you’re AB positive or O negative, in summertime mosquitoes love the blood that flows in your veins. Everyone in Quebec has been bitten at least once in his or her life, and we all agree that there’s nothing more irritating than being attacked by these little flying bloodsuckers. They bite, it swells, it itches, you scratch and they bite again!

In fact, many people refuse to go camping for fear of being eaten alive by mosquitoes. It’s nice to commune with Mother Nature once you’ve set up your temporary home in the woods. But let’s be honest: some tiny creatures are a bit too fond of your sensitive skin. A camping trip can quickly turn into a camping nightmare when you’re awakened by buzzing mosquitoes or find other creepy-crawlies hiding in your sleeping bag. Here are some tips for avoiding mosquito bites while camping, so you can spend quality time with your family and friends.

Location, location, location

Generally speaking, the proper location is crucial for a successful camping trip. When choosing your site, think about whether mosquitoes will like it, too. If you pitch your tent or park your RV just when the bugs are hungriest and in the heart of a conifer stand, between late June and early August, you may well attract some bloodthirsty visitors. At that time of year, you’re best to choose a site in an area with mainly deciduous trees.

Once you’ve picked a site, you have to think about where to pitch your tent. Keep away from ponds of stagnant water, hydro poles, rotting logs and outhouses. Insects love spots like those and they’ll race to your tent like kids in a candy store. Choose a spot that gets a nice breeze, as that will keep the mosquitoes away. Lighting your campfire before dusk will also help make the evening more pleasant, because mosquitoes hate smoke.

Your tent

Before you head out on your trip, it’s essential to inspect your tent. Insects can get through the smallest holes and tears. Make sure that the zippers are working properly and don’t leave any gaps.

When you enter and leave your tent frequently, it makes it easier for bugs to get inside. Lay a tarp or blanket outside, where you can take your boots off more easily and leave them there. Once you’re ready to get inside, turn off your flashlight or headlamp – the light attracts insects. And needless to say, never leave the tent flap open longer than necessary.

Mosquito defence

Sometimes, alas, despite all your efforts, some of these warriors will be ready to give their all just to sample the liquid gold in your veins. That’s why it’s best to bring along some anti-mosquito weapons when you go camping.

It’s important to choose the right kind of repellent. It will be your best defence against the army of fearless insects determined to attack you in the middle of the night. At that point you’re allowed to turn on your headlamp, as getting insect repellent in your eyes can ruin your whole trip.

You should also have other products on hand to keep insects away, like citronella candles. But remember to NEVER spray insect repellent inside the tent and NEVER light candles inside.

Lastly, some campers recommend hanging some garlic or onions outside your tent. This will certainly drive insects away, and maybe even Dracula, but you run the risk of attracting unwanted animal visitors looking for a meal inside your tent.

Now go camping!

Don’t let spiders and mosquitoes and other biting insects spoil your time in the great outdoors. Wear light-coloured pants and long-sleeved shirts, and follow the above advice. You’ll see, you’ll have a great time. Happy camping! 


The original French version of this article was taken from the blog on the Semaine québécoise du camping website.

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