How to Keep Bugs Away While Camping | Try this!

In Beginners Guide by J. PenneyLeave a Comment

Get rid of Bugs

Need help getting rid of flies and bugs while camping? Flies are easily the most annoying part of camping. That irritating constant buzz in your ear can ruin your trip. You might have tried a few tricks but nothing really seems to be working. Through my experience of tent camping, and a lot of nights at the cabin/cottage I have learned a few ways that seem to work better than others.

There are ways to decrease the amount of flies, and ways to completely get rid of them. When looking at camping, some ways to defend yourself from bugs may rule out certain fun parts of camping. There are ways that can prevent flies from coming around, and adding up every small detail can make you succeed and keep bugs away. I’ll give some of my tips I have learned that actually WORK, to help keep you sane on your next camping adventures. Learn how to keep bugs away while camping, mostly them annoying flies!

Start with yourself

A great way to start with repelling flies, such as mosquitoes and black flies, is to keep them away from you and your skin. The most irritating part of them is their bites and their presence.

Making that buzz sound really can get under your skin… Anyway’s, a couple proven ways to keep them from biting is to apply certain repellents to your skin. I know you might be thinking this stuff never keeps them away, and I feel that is true. It doesn’t repel them away from the area, however it does keep them from biting your skin which is a good start because that is one of the most annoying things about flies. When picking out a repellent they should include one the following:

  • Citronella

-A natural oil proven to keep mosquitoes and other bugs from biting skin.

  • DEET

-An oily liquid that is scented. It pairs against and throws off bugs’ sensory computers, keeping them from biting.

When looking at how to keep bugs away while camping, we want to know what actually works actually works? These are the two that have worked best for me. Spray and lather oil onto skin, depending on the product read how often you should re-apply. If it isn’t water proof then be aware and apply after swimming, hiking or other activities where oil can come off.

These 2 oils are common when it come to repellents, but people rely on them to keep flies away. However, the reality is they just prevent fly bites. Its a great way to get started on getting rid of flies while camping, but it is not the complete solution.

Also, another great tip for keeping flies away is simply wearing pants and a long sleeved shirt. This easily prevents them from biting your legs, and arms. It is not a solution to keep flies away while camping, although it will definitely help keep away a lot of bites. Location and weather is an important factor for lengthier clothes, I wouldn’t recommend it if you are in an extremely warm area. This is really only a good idea if the clothes is wearable in the temperatures.

Something people might not know, flies might love your body spray or perfume. Lay off the sprays, they are extremely scented which flies seem to love.

Keeping Flies Away From the Campsite

There are a few ways that you can keep flies away from the campsite. Its very hard to keep every single fly away, but you can try to reduce the amount as much as possible. My favorite, and what I find works the best is smoke. Light up a fire and add some old leafy branches, they produce the most smoke. Flies do not like smoke, and tend to always stay away. When I am camping in the forests I like to have a small fire, just for a low amount of smoke to keep away annoying bugs. If you have the space and its safe, make a decent size fire and every little while add some old branches or leaves, they should create some smoke. This is easy, but certainly effective.

To add on to smoke, try lighting up some citronella candles. Usually 1 or 2 will not do the trick, scatter 4-5 around in a safe area and you will notice flies disappearing. Flies that stick around usually end up going near the candle and get stuck in the wax, bye bye flies… Place them on your picnic table, cooler, basically places that are sturdy so it can’t tip over.

No Flies Zone

I guess you are curious, how can you completely get rid of flies? As humans, we can’t actually make flies disappear. Although, there is a solution to get that buzz out of your ear. It is all about creating an area where the flies can’t get, and the best way to do this is through the use of screen houses.

What is a Screen House?

A screen house kind of looks like a tent. It is structured the same way as a tent, including poles, outer fabric, zippers, etc. Screen houses are not designed for sleeping in, or keeping you well protected from weather. They are designed to keep out the bugs and make it a clean area for hanging out while camping. The outer walls consist of screens, which are a type of material that people can see right through. When entering or exiting, you open a zippered door and pass through quick leaving almost no time for flies to enter.

Screen houses come in many different sizes, small to large. When going on a camping trip it is best to have one, you then have a choice whether or not you want to set it up. They take up minimum space, and can positively impact your trip. The house can make you much more relaxed,  keeping that damn buzz noise out of your ears.

Here are some pros and cons when it comes to camping with a screen tent:

  • Keeps flies and bugs away
  • Great place to eat food
  • Easy to setup and take down
  • Compactable
  • Hangout spot
  • Protection from sun – also allows breeze to flow through
  • Shelter from minor rainfalls
  • Protects belongings
  • Reduces chances of theft
  • Overheated tent nights, can camp out in screen house to cool down
  • Does take up extra storage, though very minimal
  • Extra work to setup
  • Size can take up campsite space
  • Will not protect from heavy rainfall
  • Cold temperatures means cold in screen house – can’t have fire inside house

Having a screen tent makes for a better camping experience. Without a doubt, the pros out weigh the cons. If stuck in a decision whether or not you think you need a screen tent, it would never hurt to start off buying a cheaper one. Test out a screen house, I am certain you will always have one from that point on. Check out some starter and pro screen houses below:

Starter Screen Houses:                                              Pro Screen Houses:

– Wenzel Solaro Screen House                                     – Coleman Back Home Instant Screen House

– CORE Instant Screen House Canopy                       – Clam Co. Quick-Set Escape Shelter

Coleman Instant Screen House                                  – Gazelle 8 Person Pop Up

Canopy Screen Tents

Canopy Screen tents are almost the same thing as a Screen house. They are a canopy, with a surrounded screen wall. If you already own a canopy for camping or other reasons, you can actually purchase screens to hook on! They just simply attach to your canopy, and viola you have a screened in fly free zone. Check for latest prices below:

Canopy Screen Tent – Latest Prices

Canopy Hook ups sizes – 10×10 | 10×12

Mosquito Nets

A mosquito net is a large mesh net that you can hang while camping to prevent flies to enter the meshed in area. They are much more affordable than a screen tent, however, I wouldn’t say they are more durable. Having a couple of mosquito nets on hand camping can be great, they can be setup quickly. It is a super easy way to prevent flies from entering a small area. Pick a mosquito net up and give it a try.

When I go fishing and the flies get really bad I throw on a mosquito net hat and body layover. They keep them from biting, but sadly you still hear the annoying buzz. If you focus on your activities rather than the flies, the net clothing is actually great. Try the hat and shirt mosquito nets and tell us what you think about them. They are super affordable so wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. If you really like it you can get a full net body suit!



This is how to keep bugs away while camping. Like I said before nobody likes that buzzing noise in their ear, and who enjoys getting bit? Try out my tips and I am positive it will reduce the number of flies that annoy you. Remember, start with yourself then worry about the area around you. Enjoy camping, and keep up with all my tips.

Learn how to make your tent comfiest, by reading our Tent Floor Padding Ideas article.


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