How to Keep Mosquitoes Away While Camping?
The best mosquito repellent for camping is proven to provide hours of relief from pesky mosquitoes that like to invade your skin while out camping and enjoying the great outdoors. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns it is more important than ever to apply a good mosquito repellent when outdoors as mosquitoes, as well as other insects, have been shown to transmit diseases, such as the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, and Lyme disease.
With the vast mosquito repellent offerings on the market, each with their own active ingredients and application technique, it can be baffling to know which repellent is the best.We present the following brief guide of the best mosquito repellents, including the safest and most effective active ingredients for each application to help take the stress and confusion out of selecting the best mosquito repellent for your next camping trip. We will also provide a section for product reviews, a comparison table, and a question and answer section to help purchase the best mosquito repellent with confidence.
Buyer’s Guide: What is the Most Effective Mosquito Repellent?
When selecting the best repellent for mosquitoes, it is important to select one with proven effective ingredients for maximum protection. All chemical repellents we have listed are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which means they have been evaluated and approved for effectiveness and safety for humans. Natural repellents for mosquitoes do not require registration with the EPA because they present little risk to human safety.
The best safe mosquito repellent is also simple to apply no matter the application. It lasts some time without needing to re-appy and it can stand up to elements, such as sweat and water, provided it is labeled sweat or water resistant.
As an added perk, some of the best mosquito repellents also provide additional protection against other insects as well, such as ticks, black flies, chiggers and other arthropods you may encounter during your camping trip.
Types of Insect Repellent for Skin
Chemical-Based Skin Repellents
Mosquito repellents for skin contain various ingredients. However, the best lotion to repel mosquitoes contain either DEET or picaridin as an active ingredient, which have both been proven most effective for protecting against mosquito bites.
DEET – is often the preferred choice of various authorities, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Mosquito Control Association AMCA), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more, for its proven mosquito protection and prolonged effectiveness. However, it is not recommended for children younger than two months, and it is also recommended to use the lowest concentration that provides the longest protection. It should also not be applied to synthetic gear or plastic as it can damage it. This best-rated mosquito repellent was originally created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the United States Army during the 1940’s and has been studied and researched extensively ever since to ensure it provides the safest protection.
Picaridin – another mosquito repellent lotion for skin that is highly recommended by the authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), and is often recommended as an alternative to DEET, which may prove too potent for some. It provides comparable results to DEET but in lower concentrations, and it is even marketed by the same companies that manufacture DEET-based products.
Synthesized Plant Oil Skin Repellents
Synthesized plant oils mimic the effects of natural plant oils; however, because they contain a fusion of compounds, they are considered a chemical solution. Therefore, they are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency for use by humans.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) – is extracted from lemon eucalyptus leaves and then chemically fused to create a repellent spray, which has been shown to provide strong, long-lasting protection against mosquitoes and deer ticks. Just like picaridin mosquito repellent lotion, it is also marketed by the same companies that manufacture DEET products.
IR3535– is a man-made amino acid that is approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a safe alternative to DEET anti-mosquito lotion. It is designed to mimic the effects of the natural substance beta-alanine, which has been shown to possess mosquito repellent effects.
Non-Synthesized Plant Oil Skin Repellents
Natural Active Ingredient Skin Repellents – contain natural plant oils used to repel mosquitoes, such as geranium oil, peppermint oil, citronella oil, soybean oil, and cedar oil.Because they are not synthesized, and are usually only present in small amounts, they do not require regulation for safety and effectiveness by the Environmental Protection Agency. They are generally considered not as effective at repelling mosquitoes as chemical based repellents, and they have to be reapplied more often.
Mosquito Repellent Wristbands and Clips – have non-synthesized plant oils integrated into them so you can wear them on your clothes or person to protect against mosquito bites, which eliminates the need to apply a repellent directly to your skin. However, it still leaves skin farthest away from the device vulnerable to mosquito bites.
Types of Insect Repellent Clothing
The best anti-mosquito repellent for clothing contains the active ingredient permethrin, which comes in two great options: pretreated clothing or clothing spray.
Permethrin is a chemical synthesis that mimics the effects of the naturally occurring compound pyrethrum, which is found in chrysanthemum plants and has been shown to terminate mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas by attacking their nervous system.
Permethrin can be sprayed directly onto your clothing to prevent insect bites,
or you can conveniently purchase clothing that is pretreated with permethrin, and it lasts 70 wash cycles, which makes it the best waterproof mosquito repellent. Meanwhile, spraying your clothes with permethrin insect repellent enables you to wear your own clothing while camping.
It can also be sprayed onto camping gear – such as tents, for added protection. It is even safe for use on dogs. However, the spray will need to be reapplied to your clothing and camping gear after 6 weeks of outdoor use to retain its effectiveness.
Whether you choose pretreated permethrin clothing or spray your own clothes with permethrin, it is a strong mosquito repellent. Therefore, you must be sure to wash permethrin-treated clothing separately. Likewise, when disposing of clothes pretreated with permethrin, they should be taken to a proper facility as opposed to just putting them in the trash as they can contaminate groundwater, which can be harmful to humans and animals.
Types of Airborne Insect Repellents
Airborne insect repellents work by creating a mosquito-free zone. These differ from your typical insect repellent candle in that it protects a wider area to enjoy as opposed to a small area. They can also be placed just anywhere throughout your campsite for hours of outdoor enjoyment.
The best mosquito repellent devices typically contain one of the two proven most effective outdoor repellent ingredients: citronella or allethrin.
Citronella Dispersal Devices – emit a citronella scent which provides the same mosquito repellent relief provided by citronella candles, except due to its design, is able to disperse repellent over a wider area, making it more effective than citronella candles.
Allethrin Dispersal Devices – disperse allethrin, which is a synthetic form of chemical naturally found in chrysanthemum plants and has been shown to have mosquito repellent properties.
Airborne mosquito repellent equipment is usually powered by a lithium battery as well as butane. It will continue to work as long as the device is turned on, and it contains sufficient fuel.
Ingredients of Best Mosquito Repellent
The ingredients of the best mosquito repellent vary based on the application type. The ingredients for the best mosquito repellent for each application type is as follows:
The Best Safe Mosquito Repellent for Skin
- DEET – many hail DEET as the best safe mosquito repellent for skin. It is a chemical based repellent that not only repels mosquitoes but some flies and ticks as well.
- Picaridin – contains a synthesized plant-based ingredient made to mimic the effects of piperine, which is a natural compound in pepper plants used to produce black pepper. Picardian can be safely used to repel insects, chiggers, and ticks.
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) – is a more potent version of lemon eucalyptus oil, which is also a common ingredient in some mosquito repellents. However, oil of lemon eucalyptus is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in high-disease areas, whereas lemon eucalyptus oil is not due to its lack of potency.
- IR3535 – is another synthesized plant oil that safely protects skin against mosquito bites.
- Natural Plant Oils – natural plant oils, including lemongrass, cedar, citronella, and soybean, are safe and effective for repelling mosquitoes.
The Best Mosquito Repellent for Clothes
- Permethrin – uses synthesized ingredients that mimic natural compounds found in chrysanthemum plants that have been shown to kill mosquitoes and ticks on contact.
- Natural Plant Oil Infused Wristbands and Clips – contain natural plant oils that repel mosquitoes within the proximity of the item.
The Best Repellent Mosquitoes for Airborne Protection
- Allethrin Devices – contain allethrin, which is a synthesized ingredient designed to mimic natural compounds found in chrysanthemum plants, which have been shown to provide natural insecticide properties. Allethrin is the best mosquito repellent for mosquitoes and some flies.
- Citronella Devices – are natural plant oil based devices that are the best safe mosquito repellents to repel mosquitoes.
How Long Does Mosquito Repellent Work?
The duration of the best mosquito repellent typically depends on its active ingredients as well as if you follow the application instructions and use the longest-lasting formula of the repellent. The average duration for mosquito repellents are as follows:
The Best Strong Mosquito Repellent for Skin Duration
- DEET – levels contained in the product dictate how long the repellent lasts Controlled release formulas contain up to 35% Deet, which may last up to 12 hours, provided you are in a low humidity environment, do not sweat, and don’t get wet.
- Picaridin – the levels contained in the product also dictate the duration of the repellent, 20% formulas generally last up to 10 hours.
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus – listed as an active ingredient in mosquito repellent products can protect against mosquito bites for up to 6 hours.
- IR3535 – offers the same protection as DEET products and usually lasts up to 8 hours, depending on the formula.
- Natural Plant Oils – are less potent than chemical based and synthesized plant oil mosquito repellents. They typically only last about a half an hour to an hour before needing reapplication..
- The Best Wearable Mosquito Repellent Duration – natural plant oil infused wristbands and clips provide mosquito protection for as long as a few days.
- The Best Mosquito Repellent for Clothes Duration – clothes pretreated with permethrin typically last up to 70 wash cycles While permethrin sprayed clothes typically last up to 6 cycles. Permethrin sprayed clothes will need to be retreated after about 6 weeks of outdoor use.
- The Best Mosquito Repellent Gadgets Duration – refills typically last up to 4 hours, while the device itself will last as long as it is powered and there is sufficient fuel.
Overall, the best mosquito repellent for camping contains one of many active ingredients registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as safe for human use and effective against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthropods – including the Zika Virus, Lyme disease, and West Nile Virus. It is also available in various concentrations for different skin types. Product concentration also affects the repellent’s longevity, so keep this mind. It is also recommended you begin with the lowest concentration of your chosen repellent that provides the longest protection to avoid skin irritation. Lastly, when using mosquito repellent on children, it is always recommended you consult your child’s pediatrician for proper use.