7 easy tricks to help keep bugs at bay while camping

Here's how to avoid any unexpected visitors

A man lying in a tent with bugs flying around his feet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When camping, you’ll most likely encounter a few unexpected visitors in your best tent, and that's bugs. There’s no denying these pesky little insects are a bit of a pain (especially when they end up biting you or stormtrooping your tent). But, sadly, they’re sort of part and parcel of the experience.

However, that doesn’t mean they need to disrupt your outdoor adventure. After all, no one enjoys waking up to see the outline of an earwig crawling above their sleeping area. While you may not be able to escape them completely, there are measures you can take to help avoid them. Here's how…

1. Check your tent over for holes and rips

Holes and tears basically give insects a free pass to come into your tent, so if you haven’t used yours in a while, then make sure you set it up before you head on your trip to give it a good lookover. If you do encounter any small ones, then covering them with some tent repair tape should do the trick. 

2. Avoid damp areas 

Avoid pitching your tent in damp areas or near stagnant water areas, like ponds and lakes, or long wet grass. Moisture is a haven for bugs and flies because they need water to survive. So, if you can, make sure you camp somewhere that’s dry and not near too much vegetation.

3. Use sage and rosemary

You may have these tucked in your cupboard to season your Christmas turkey, but they actually make an excellent bug repellent. We’ve got the full lowdown on the sage-rosemary camping hack, but the main jist is wrapping the herbs in foil and placing them on your campfire. Not only will it deter those pesky insects, but it will smell lovely too!

4. Avoid bright lights at night 

Of course, you can’t go on a camping trip without your trusty camping lantern, flashlight or headtorch but, just be wary, bugs are attracted to ultraviolet and blue light. Yellow and orange lights are becoming more popular and less likely to attract them. Also, we’d avoid putting fairy lights up around your tent too.

5. Dress appropriately

One of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t get bug bites is to keep your skin covered by wearing appropriate clothing, especially in the warm evenings. Opt for long sleeves, like base layers, fleece jackets, and trousers, and treat these with insect repellent too.

6. Keep mesh doors closed

Planning to head out all day, but want to keep your tent cool? Make sure you keep mesh doors zipped up. Most tents will come with a mesh door for the bedding area and main entrance for this very reason and they do work. Yes, you may not be able to keep your tent as cool as if you had them open, but if it means you’re not returning to an army of insects, it’s worth it.

7. Keep camp clean

Bugs are greedy, they’re always looking for something to feed on, so it’s important you keep things clean and tidy up after eating. Make sure you dispose of rubbish, wipe sides down and keep food containers and cool boxes shut tightly. Also, avoid camping near bins too. 

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.