Warm weather and sunshine are synonymous with summer. This is the best time to go camping or backpacking. Unfortunately, one side effect of nice weather is mosquitoes. That’s why we’ve decided to provide some essential tips on how to control mosquitoes while camping, on a long hike, or on a backpacking trip.
Wear the right clothing
One of the most essential things you can do is choose the right clothing for these occasions. This is the best way to protect yourself from mosquitoes when you’re camping or spending a lot of time outdoors.
One of the ways mosquitoes locate their targets is by detecting heat sources. Since humans radiate heat, we are giant lures for mosquitoes. You can try to combat this by wearing long clothing such as long pants, long shirts, socks, and even hats or bandannas. The clothing will create a type of shield, so the mosquitoes won’t be able to detect you easily and, therefore, won’t attack you so much.
Another trick is to make sure that long clothing is in light colors such as white, light blue, light green, etc. Since light colors reflect the light instead of absorbing it, they also reflect heat. This means that light colored-clothing will make you less attractive to mosquitoes.
The fabric of your clothing, especially your backpacking or camping outfits, is also very important.
Your clothing is essentially your first line of defense against mosquitoes. So, try to wear clothing made from polyester or woven nylon. These fabrics are thicker, making it more difficult for the mosquitoes to get their proboscises through the fabric to bite you.
Use mosquito repellent
We can’t stress enough the importance of using mosquito repellent. When it comes to camping and backpacking, you should use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET as well as a permethrin-based one.
DEET-based repellents are great for short-term effects. If you use a repellent that contains a certain percentage of DEET, you’ll be able to enjoy its effects for several hours after application. This will depend on how much DEET the repellent actually has, of course.
Permethrin-based repellents work a bit differently. Permethrin is a pesticide, so when you apply a permethrin-based repellent, it’ll stay on your clothing for several days or even weeks. During this time, it’ll protect you from mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects while also withstanding being washed or rained on. So, if you’re going camping, backpacking, or hiking, consider treating your clothing with a permethrin-based repellent. Just make sure that you only apply the permethrin-based repellent to your clothing or your camping gear. Don’t apply it to your skin since permethrin absorbs poorly in the skin and can cause skin irritation.
Of course, if you’re trying to avoid chemical-based repellents, there are some natural repellents out there. Choose a repellent that contains lemon eucalyptus oil since its effects are similar to those of DEET-based repellents. But, since it’s a natural repellent, those effects will fade away much quicker. So, you’ll have to reapply the repellent every couple of hours, which can be inconvenient when you’re hiking a trail or having fun at a campsite.
Select the proper camping location
The final thing to think about when planning your mosquito control on camping and backpacking trips is where you’ll set up camp. Your campsite is often not only the place where you’ll sleep but also where you’ll be at dusk and dawn, which are the times when mosquitoes tend to be the most active.
Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, they naturally prefer places where this type of water is available.
On top of that, during the day, mosquitoes tend to hide in dark and cool areas, such as bushes and tree trunks. So, wooded and swampy areas will definitely have much larger mosquito populations than open, dry areas. Chose your camping location wisely. Go for a dry area that is pretty far away from any ponds or sources of water.
Many people prefer to set up camp in areas with a lot of trees around. But open areas are actually much better if you want to avoid mosquitoes.
Yes, trees offer natural protection against wind and rain, but the wind and rain can actually help keep mosquitoes away. So, it’s better to choose a sturdier tent and secure it to the ground better than suffer from mosquitoes and potentially contract one of the many mosquito-borne diseases.
Our final piece of advice is to do your research. This applies not only to choosing the best campsites with the smallest mosquito population.
You also need to learn about the time of the year that you’ll be going to that particular location. In most places, there are a couple of months when mosquitoes are at their worst. In that case, it might be worth rescheduling your trip rather than getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.