Nothing spoils your outside fun quite as succesfully as mosquitos do. Or greenheads, black flies, gnats, noseeums...the list goes on, depending on your locale.
For something so minute, those little six-legged creatures can send your camping trip, swim, hike, fishing trip or picnic straight downhill, quick. And as if the sharp, stinging bites aren't enough, the red, itchy welts that they leave behind stick around for days.
More: Avoid Critters While Camping
So what really works, in terms of insect repellents? Some insist that the biggest, most popular brands of sprays are simply useless. Other outdoors folks, like Jon Marquez from the Rancho Cucamunga Bass Pro Shop, insist that "anything with DEET or a DEET replacement works the best." He suggests Max Deet, Repel and Sawyer, for a DEET replacement.
Others still have tried everything and choose to employ a combo of methods. Here are some other products and approaches.
These lanterns and appliances are airborn skeeter repellents that contain a saturated mat of mosquito repellent that slowly vaporizes and releases into the air. These appliances are great for decks and campsites.
More: Ways to Keep a Clean Campsite
Skin So Soft
It isn't sold as insect repellent—it's actually a skin moisturizer, big in the '80s, but not for moisturizing skin. Supposedly, this stuff works great at keeping those creepy crawlies away. It was big with the fishing crowd and at least worth a try.
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The greatest things about this product are that it comes in a roll-on as well as a spray...and it actually works. Apply it to your skin and a mosquito will undoubtedly bite the only square inch on your body that you missed but they won't get near the Aeroguard. The worst thing about the stuff is that it's Australian and you'll need to buy it online. But it's worth it; Oz is a country known for it's crazy bugs, ultra-rugged terrain and outdoorsmen and women to match. If they're using it, it works.
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Citronella candles and torches are always good to bring along for your campsite...but don't count on this method alone. You'll be swatting and itching all night if you do.
Smoke is actually a great deterrent and seems to keep the skeeters away. (Legal) beach bonfires and campfires will, for the most part naturally repel mosquitos...that is, until the flame goes out. You can pack some incense sticks to burn at your campsite after lights out to help.
More: Campfire Tips
Find a camping spot and plan your next trip.