If anyone is a nature lover and a camping and hiking enthusiast, I am. But let me tell you this – if someone says that after a long day of hiking when your ankles are swollen and every joint hurts, they are still not bothered by the annoying crawly pests and bugs buzzing around your head call him/her a liar then and there. I am yet to meet such a person.
The simple fact is – no matter how much someone loves nature, camping and hiking, they all want to keep the bugs away at night. Me included. That is why I am pouring some of the long years of experience as a camper and a hiker into this short article about how to keep those nosy pests away.
I have tried every trick in the book, both chemical and natural solutions. Some of them work partly and some of them cause more inconvenience then they resolve. I’ll tell you about those at short and I’ll also tell you where I found my lasting solution.
Tip 1: Think about the scent of your body
You know how certain people tend to attract bugs “like moths to a flame”. Now, it would be fun if I suggested that you bring one of those people along with you just to keep the bugs away from you, but nah, that’s cruel 🙂
Instead, let us look at what is it about those people that make them a bug magnet. Over the years I have been around for countless discussion about this and everybody has read some shady study about it or know a friend of a friend that has a special tactic when it comes to this, but the truth is simple.
I do believe, based on my experience, that there are people that have a blood type that attracts bugs more then other’s, but much more often then that – it is the body scent. When I say body scent here I mean the hygiene products with intense smells like soaps, perfumes and deodorants.
Choosing hygiene products that have no scent at all will make the world of difference. It did for me.
Tip 2: Go for a high and dry camping site
There is an army of insects all around you on your campsite but most of them will not be directly interested in you and hence, will not be so annoying. Nine out of ten people I talk to will say that the most annoying bug is the infamous mosquito.
So, let’s take a moment here and get to know these little rascals that are out for our blood, literally.
The eggs of mosquitoes develop into larvae in water. This is the reason why you see that influx of mosquitoes following a storm.
Not much you can about whether it rains or not, but the number of mosquitoes that hatch after a storm will be nothing compared to what you are in for if you choose a camp site near a place that is always wet, like swamps or bogs. So, your map is your best friend here – go high and dry, camper.
Tip 3: Bug sprays – go for waterproof
I prefer physical barriers then sprays but during the day of hiking your bug spray will very likely be your best friend. If it works, that is, and is not washed away by your sweat. So, go for waterproof bug sprays, it will make more difference than you can imagine.
Tip 4: Sage the pests away
I was skeptical when a friend of mine told me about this one, but I am not narrow-minded so I tried this and I was blown away.
Throw a stick of sage into your campfire at night. It works miracles.
The sage scent emitted from that one branch of sage in your camp fire will keep the bugs away from the camp site so efficiently that you will not even need a spray to interfere with that mellow smell of a marshmallow roasting on your campfire.
Tip 5: Being smartabout your camping gear (who said bug nets?)
After a long day, a good nights sleep or just a relaxing afternoon chill in a hammock is a must if you want to have the same energy tomorrow. This is where the right choices of camping gear come in to save the day.
When it comes to bugs – it comes down to a smart choice of a bug net.
It might seem like an easy one, but as you camp more you will find that it really isn’t. I think I went through a dozens of nets before I found my favorite and today, it is the first thing I pack when planning my camping trips or hikes.
But how could it be so complicated to choose the right one?
You’ll understand after a few camping trips if you haven’t already. It is all about the balance between the weight, the thickness and how easy it is to assemble.
Some of them would be so frustrating to put together that it would ruin the serene moments in my hammock now allowing me to relax. Others would feel like I was choking because they were so thick that they wouldn’t let enough air in and some would count for the 15-20% of the weight I am carrying in my pack.
So, I will share what my process of trial and error brought me to. It is a net called the Guardian Bugnet. I bought this baby a couple of months ago and never looked back. It is just right in all of the things that I mentioned.
It is light, allows for free circulation of air, easy to pack and carry around and compatible with most hammocks. It is now among my few favorite pieces of camping equipment.
It can be found at enonation.com
It is a myth that camping and hiking is just throwing a few things in the back of your truck or in your backpack and just go. It calls for knowledge and precise planning and most people who say they don’t like it probably never did it right. Period.