8 Best Mosquito Repellants for Campsites in 2023: Reviews & Top Picks
When you’re camping, mosquitoes and other biting bugs can be a serious menace. This leads you to find out that there are dozens of different mosquito repellents with confusing ingredient names. Fortunately, we’ve reviewed and compiled a list of the most effective mosquito repellents you can order today. Let’s check them out so you can decide which will come with you on your next camping trip.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Coleman 100 Max 100% DEET Insect Repellent Spray||
|Best Value||Repel Insect Pump Spray||
|Premium Choice||Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent||
|Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Pump Spray||
|Repel Permethrin Clothing And Gear Insect Repellent||
The 8 Best Mosquito Repellants for Campsites
1. Coleman 100 Max 100% DEET Insect Repellent Spray – Best Overall
|Active ingredients||100% DEET|
This low-odor 100% DEET formula from Coleman proves to be the best overall bug spray on our list, providing up to 10 hours of waterproof protection from disease-carrying mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, biting fleas, gnats, and more. It’s rather straightforward to use and coats your skin evenly for all-over protection. The chemical odor is pretty strong, but research continues to show that DEET is the most effective way to repel mosquitoes and other insect pests. Another important note is that the formula is somewhat thick and greasy.
- 100% DEET formula for strong, long-lasting protection
- Repels mosquitoes, chiggers, biting fleas, ticks, gnats, and more
- Spreads evenly
- Easy-to-use spray bottle
- Thick and greasy
- Strong chemical scent
- Not suitable for use on children under 2
2. Repel Insect Pump Spray – Best Value
|Active ingredients||98.11% DEET|
This travel-sized bug repellant from Repel is perfect for your budget and your smallest backpack compartments. It’s formulated with 98.11% DEET, which is incredibly powerful at deterring mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, biting fleas, gnats, and other common pests. The formula is thick and greasy, which isn’t ideal, but a small amount covers a lot of skin. Unlike other DEET-heavy repellants, Repel doesn’t have a strong chemical odor. As a bonus, it’s a pump spray bottle, which means it can be transported on international flights. Overall, this is the best mosquito repellent for the money.
- Powerful DEET protection
- Repels disease-carrying mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, gnats, biting fleas, and more
- Only need to use a small amount
- Thick and greasy
- Not suitable for use on children under 2
3. Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent – Premium Choice
|Active ingredients||20% picaridin|
If you’d prefer to avoid greasy DEET, Sawyer’s 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent offers similar levels of protection without the greasy skin feel. Picaridin repels mosquitoes and biting flies like DEET but is more effective against gnats and no-see-um flies. It also protects against disease-carrying bugs like ticks and chiggers, making this a great choice in any outdoorsy environment. Best of all, picaridin isn’t a toxic chemical and is safe to use on children. That’s not all, though. Picaridin sprays are great to use on tents, nets, and other outdoor gear to provide extra bug protection.
- Not greasy like DEET
- Repels mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, chiggers, and more
- Great at repelling biting flies like no-see-ums
- Less effective for mosquitoes and ticks
4. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Pump Spray
|Active ingredients||Lemon oil, eucalyptus oil|
If you prefer to stay away from chemicals and seek a more natural bug repellent solution, check out Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Pump Spray. It takes advantage of bugs’ dislike of lemon and eucalyptus essential oils to keep them away from you. The solution isn’t 100% foolproof, but it’s pretty effective at keeping away disease carriers like mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, biting flies, and similar pests. As a bonus, this formula isn’t thick and greasy like DEET, and it smells great to boot. However, it doesn’t last as long as chemical bug sprays.
- Lemon and eucalyptus oils repel most outdoor pests like mosquitoes and ticks
- Smells great
- Thin, non-greasy formula
- Not as effective as DEET or other chemicals
- Doesn’t last as long as chemical bug sprays
5. Repel Permethrin Clothing And Gear Insect Repellent
Not designed for skin, this permethrin aerosol spray repellent is designed to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects from your clothing, tent, and other fabric gear. It’s extremely effective, killing any bug that comes into contact with the treated area. Unfortunately, this spray isn’t suitable for areas with thick bug coverage because they’ll still directly fly onto your skin. One other downside is that you have to spray your clothes and items several hours in advance before it becomes effective. However, this is a very powerful tool for controlling ticks on your clothing and cloth gear, like tents and bags.
- Permethrin kills and repels ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects
- Provides 24 hours of protection on clothing and fabrics
- Especially effective at repelling and killing ticks
- Can’t be used on your skin
- Requires supplementary spray for skin coverage
- Needs to dry
6. Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller
This non-spray bug repellent solution is a handy device that sprays allethrin in a 15-foot radius around itself, repelling and killing mosquitoes, biting flies, and other airborne biting bugs. It’s not that useful for ticks, though. The Thermacell Repeller uses mats and fuel to run, so you’ll have to stock up on them for extended trips. Because it creates a pocket of bug-repellent air, you can’t use it on the go. However, hunters and campers everywhere can find a use for this gadget.
- Repels flying insects within 15 feet
- No spraying required
- Runs as long as it has fuel
- Isn’t effective against ticks or crawling bugs
- Requires refills to stay running
7. Cliganic Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
|Active ingredients||citronella, geraniol oil, lemongrass oil|
Although not as effective as a DEET spray, citronella bracelets like these can be very useful for keeping mosquitoes away on the go or for kids. Citronella, geraniol oil, and lemongrass oil are known to repel flying insects like mosquitoes, biting gnats, and other flies. Sadly, they won’t repel ticks or actually kill bugs. For kids who won’t sit still for bug spray or people on the go, these bracelets are a great supplementary bug repellent device.
- No spraying required
- Ideal for children
- Keeps bugs away from you in a limited radius
- Not as effective as bug sprays
- Doesn’t kill bugs
8. 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion
|Active ingredients||34.34% DEET|
This lotion is a full-fledged bug repellent with 34.34% DEET, meaning it’ll feel a bit greasy, but the product will spread evenly. Ultrathon will repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, gnats, and other biting bugs. The lotion formula is easy to spread on areas that spray struggles to reach, like the back of your neck and around your face. You can use this lotion as your main bug repellent of choice, but it might be tedious to apply all over your arms and legs. Regardless, Ultrathon’s DEET content makes it a force to be reckoned with.
- Easy to apply to your face, neck, and other areas that sprays can’t reach
- DEET repels most biting insects including mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks
- Travel-sized container
- Hard to cover your whole body
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Mosquito Repellants for Campsites
It can be hard to decide between three different products that all claim to do the same thing. However, with mosquito repellents, there are multiple ways to accomplish your task. Different methods of administration and different active ingredients affect how well you’ll keep bugs away. Let’s dive into how these will affect your camping trip.
The most popular types of bug repellents are aerosol sprays and pump sprays, which are the most convenient ways to repel bugs while camping. Permethrin can be useful as an extra layer of protection on your clothes, tent, and fabric gear. If you really want to be thorough, you can have everyone put on a citronella bracelet too. Lotion is another convenient method of repelling bugs, allowing you to cover your face and back of the neck.
The best ingredient for repelling mosquitoes is definitely DEET, but formulas with DEET are thick and greasy on the skin. Picaridin is a new type of repellent that offers similar mosquito protection but without the greasy feel.
Citronella is known to repel mosquitoes, but not as effectively as DEET or other chemicals. Essential oils are thought to repel mosquitoes and may work in areas with light bug populations but won’t stand up to lots of bugs.
What to Be Wary About
While the idea of a natural insect repellent sounds great, these products typically contain essential oils, such as citronella, peppermint, and cedar, and claim to ward off mosquitoes, including those carrying the Zika virus. However, tests show that these ingredients are not effective 1 for long-term results.
Mosquitoes are a serious bummer when you’re camping or hiking, but they don’t have to be. There are various products you can use to keep the bugs away while you’re having fun in the wilderness, like the Coleman 100 Max 100% DEET Insect Repellent Spray. If you’re on a budget or traveling abroad, the Repel Insect Pump Spray is both effective and practical. Either way, you can mix and match various products on this list to protect yourself from itchy mosquito bites and disease.
See also: Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Review: Pros, Cons, FAQ & Verdict
Featured Image Credit: encierro, Shutterstock
- 1 A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
- 2 The 8 Best Mosquito Repellants for Campsites
- 2.1 1. Coleman 100 Max 100% DEET Insect Repellent Spray – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Repel Insect Pump Spray – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Pump Spray
- 2.5 5. Repel Permethrin Clothing And Gear Insect Repellent
- 2.6 6. Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller
- 2.7 7. Cliganic Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
- 2.8 8. 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion
- 3 Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Mosquito Repellants for Campsites
- 4 Conclusion