Camping Gear Outlet

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How to Have a (Mostly) Bug-Free Camping Trip

by Liz Childers

“I took my first camping trip when I was eight. It was just one night spent in the woods with my cabin at summer camp, but it felt like a massive deal.

It took what felt like hours to get prepared. I took the upmost care lining my stuff sack with garbage bags before re-stuffing my sleeping bag and cinching it as small as I could get it. I went down the camp recommended packing list and checked off each item: two pairs of extra socks, utensils, cup, extra water bottle, etc. Much of it was unnecessary for a 12-hour venture into the woods; it was honestly more than an eight-year-old girl could naturally balance. But I was going by the rules.

With my camping gear safely waterproofed and packed inside the peeling canvas of my external frame pack, I headed onto the trail with the rest of my cabin. I cannot imagine we hiked more than a mile, but it felt like longer. This wasn’t because it was a hard hike, but because there was so much excitement to get to that first campsite.

My romanticized idea of camping continued until around midnight that night. I adored sitting around a campfire, watching my counselor cook food, and talking with my cabin. But I was most excited about spending the night under the stars. This is what ruined the camping honeymoon: North Carolina mosquitos in June are thrilled to have a sleeping body available to bite.

Bugs can ruin a camping trip or, even, keep you from going camping. We are the ones venturing into their space, so it is up to us to arrive prepared – but in an environmentally friendly way!

Here are my favorite ways to have a (mostly) bug free camping trip. What are yours?

Mosquito Netting

This is what my eight-year old, adventuring self needed during that first camp trip. There is no better way to sleep outside of a tent and enjoy the stars than with mosquito netting. Whether it’s the standard netting that needs to be held-up by rope or the fancier tent-like structures, mosquito netting keeps you totally bug free.

Coghlans Mosquito Coils
These repellants became a favorite at my house first. Coghlans Mosquito Coils are very small green spirals that sit on top of a stand. Light the coil and it slowly releases its active ingredient in its smoke. They are so small and portable that it made sense to bring on camping trips – especially ones at pull-up campsites. The stand allows this to easily sit on the corner of a picnic table and safely and effectively rebel bugs.

Repellant Wipes
While bug sprays work great, I prefer repellant wipes. With sprays, it is impossible to keep repellant from going on the ground and plants around you or, even, on other people. Wipes produce more trash, but it is not enough to be bothersome during a trip.”