“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.” – John Muir
Nothing is more relaxing than adventuring outdoors with friends, a tent, and a bonfire. Sleeping in the middle of the forest can only be slightly dampened by creepy crawly critters.
Living deep within nature, no matter for a weekend or a month, entails living amongst its residents. That is mosquitoes, ticks, ants, wasps, flies, bees, and every imaginable bug. These little nuisances can sting and bite their way into ruining your outdoor adventure. However, you can find ways to minimize your contact with these pests.
Here are some camping hacks to you avoid insects during your camping trip:
1. Stay Away From Scented Hygiene Products
Have you noticed that while mosquitoes and flies are pestering some people, other hikers are completely undisturbed? A main reason for this unwanted attention is the use of scented hygiene products.
Insects are attracted to the fragrance of deodorants, lotions, soap, shampoo, and other hygiene products. Therefore, if you’re planning to go on a nature trip, consider using ones that are scent-free.
2. Be Mindful Of Your Clothing
Aside from avoiding unscented hygiene products, make sure to consider the type of clothing that you’re wearing. It is recommended that you go for long sleeves and pants that are lightweight and which wick away moisture from your skin.
Long clothing helps cover exposed skin and prevents mosquito bites. Moreover, it helps you to check for ticks that latched onto your skin. These irritating creatures can bite and transmit blood-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Colorado tick fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
3. Use Insect Repellent
Since your clothes can only do so much, it’s a good idea to add another layer of protection and use insect repellent . Repellents are great in deterring insects and keeping crawlers at bay. Purchase ones that are waterproof, so the effects will last longer even if you sweat or cool down in the river or lake.
4. Select Dry Camping Sites
When looking for a campsite, make sure to steer away from tall grassy areas, damp environments, and standing water. These places are ideal breeding grounds for insects and can house hundreds or even thousands of these nuisances in just one location. That said, it is best to pitch your tent in a high and dry place.
Another thing to check is the weather. Make sure to load up on insect repellent and mosquito nets if you are going camping during or after a storm. Insects lay their eggs in water. Since storms create puddles and fill up crevices, expect an influx of insects after a rainstorm.
5. Use Light to Your Advantage
Insects, especially flying ones, are attracted to light. Make this work to your advantage by luring them away from your tent. Place your camping lantern some distance away from your tent. Doing so will help keep most flying insects away from your sleeping area. Also, if you want to have a lantern inside your tent, turn it off before you enter and make sure to zip the tent flaps before turning on the light.
6. Use Fire to Your Advantage
You can also use your campfire to keep these little rascals at bay. Once your fire is up and crackling, throw in some Sage branches or Citronella leaves. These are natural insect repellents. Smoke itself is also a huge deterrent to bugs. Lighting mosquito coils or repellant sticks and placing them in strategic locations in your campsite can also help keep midges and mosquitoes away.
7. Cover Food Containers and Dispose of Garbage Properly
Wild animals and insects love the smell of food and garbage. When left unattended and uncovered, you are sure to get an unwanted visit from these forest dwellers. Store your food in airtight containers. Never keep or eat your food inside tents as it can attract all kinds of visitors.
In addition to practicing proper food storage, you also need to clean your table and cooking utensils. Wash your dishes after every use to remove food scraps and make sure to burn or bury your leftovers. Disposable items such as plastic bags, paper cups, and other food-stained items should be sealed and disposed of properly.
When all else fails…
When your best efforts are not enough to keep insects away, it is best to have a reliable first aid kit that contains ample supply of sting relief wipes and medication such as EpiPen for insect bite-related allergies.
It might be impossible to be fully rid of these pests, but you can find ways to avoid having contact with them. All it takes is careful preparation and planning. After all, it’s more about savoring what life has to offer- even if it includes being bitten by ants.