how to keep bugs away when hammock camping

How to Keep Bugs Away When Hammock Camping

Nothing ruins the fun of hammock camping quite like getting hounded down by a gazillion bugs and insects, all gunning for your precious blood. Therefore, in this article, I tell you how to keep bugs away when hammock camping as best you can.

Key Takeaways

  • When and where you camp will play a major role in how many bugs you encounter while hammock camping
  • Using a hammock bug net is essential to keep bugs away when hammock camping
  • Using bug repellents and treating your gear is a good move to keep bugs away

7 Tips to Keep Bugs Away When Hammock Camping

Let’s make your next hammock camping experience better. With these 7 tips to keep bugs away while hammock camping, you’ll be chilling out in your hammock not worrying too much about the insects around you.

While there are many different insects and bugs that can annoy you while hammocking, these tips will get you far in deterring most of them.

I’ve been munched on by mosquitoes, ganged up on by ants, ticked off a tick or two, stepped on a hornet, and walked into a wasp’s nest.

Learn from my painful mistakes, and follow these tips so you don’t have to make the same ones.

1. Hammock camp as far from water as you can to keep the bugs away

Location, location, location! It’s not just important in real estate. Setting up your hammock away from standing water (think ponds, lakes, or even puddles) can drastically reduce your bug encounters.

For example, mosquitoes breed in water, so the farther away you are, the better. That picturesque pond can quickly turn into a horror movie at dusk with mosquito swarms.

integrated hammock bug net

2. Bug-proof your hammock

One of the hammock camping essentials is the hammock bug net. I recommend you get one right from the start. They come either as integrated parts of a camping hammock or as a portable 360-coverage type of net that you attach to your ridgeline and hang around your hammock.

These nets are designed to keep even the tiniest of pests out while letting you enjoy the view and breeze, but make sure you get one with no-see-um net, or the smallest bugs might get through.

You can either buy a complete hammock kit, like the Hammock Gear Wanderlust or Wanderlux that comes complete with an integrated hammock bug net, OR you can always DIY, and make one.

Getting a hammock bug net to keep the little buggers out is essential for a good night’s sleep. I know some hammock camper dare go out without it, but I wouldn’t. Becoming best pals with Mikey Mosquito is no bueno. He’s a real leech that one.

mosquito repelled by hammock mosquito net

3. Use bug repellent

Bug repellents are substances that help campers avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes and other bugs (The American Mosquito Control Association).

Insect repellent is made for use on bare skin and can be used in combination with clothes and gear treated with permethrin.

Permethrin is not a repellent, as it kills insects. Repellents are made to repel insects and keep them away from biting you.

Remember to follow the label instructions.

Sprays and lotions:

  • DEET: The heavy hitter in bug repellent. Effective but use with caution, especially on gear.
  • Picaridin: A gentler alternative, great for skin and gear.
  • Natural oils: For the eco-friendly camper, oils like lemon eucalyptus are surprisingly effective.

Clothing and gear:

  • Treat your hammock and camping gear with permethrin. It’s a repellent for your gear, not your skin, and can keep bugs at bay for weeks with a single application. According to the CDC, permethrin-treated mosquito nets protect better than untreated bug nets, as permethrin kills mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants. Treated clothing is a plus. It might seem counterintuitive on a hot night, but lightweight, breathable fabrics can keep you cool and bite-free.

4. Timing is important for keeping bugs away

To experience as few bugs as possible, you could try to time your activities and time outside of your camping hammock for when the bugs are not as rampant. Especially mosquitoes, have peak hours from dusk to dawn.

Plan your activities to avoid these times, or if you’re lounging in your hammock, ensure you’re fully protected so you can retreat there.

I’ve found that having my meals and setting up camp, outside these peak bug times makes for a much more pleasant experience. It is better to just be chilling in my hammock when the bugs go crazy.

keep your campsite clean to keep bugs away when hammock camping

5. Keep your camp clean to keep insects and bugs away

Leftover food or trash can attract bugs faster than you can say “Where’s the bug spray?”

A clean campsite is less inviting to ants, flies, and other pests. Keep food sealed and dispose of trash properly.

After a lazy dinner with friends, we left a few crumbs and dishes out. By nightfall, our campsite was the hotspot for an ant rave. A quick cleanup could have saved us a lot of itchiness and annoyance.

6. Use natural repellents

Plants like citronella and lavender are known for their natural bug-repelling properties.

These can be used in different anti-bug solutions, such as candles or oils to keep the insects away.

7. Bright clothes make it easier to spot ticks and other bugs

Using bright, light-colored clothes makes it easier to spot ticks, mosquitoes, and other bugs on you.

Make sure to tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks to cover your skin, and make it harder for insects to bite you (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and boots give you better bug protection.

Bonus Tips to Keep Bugs Away When Hammock Camping

Here are some bonus tips for keeping bugs away when camping with your hammock, and some fun facts about mosquitoes.

  • Bring a head bug net (doesn’t cost much, or weigh much, and is very handy to have JUST IN CASE)
  • The more you move around, the more you attract the mosquitoes in my experience
  • Remember to keep your hammock bug net closed when you are not inside, or bugs will get inside
  • Mental preparedness: If you prepare before going out, that there will be bugs around you and they will annoy you, but you are not going to let that affect you, I find that I have a more enjoyable time camping out.

Mosquito fun facts

  • Mosquitoes usually die off or hibernate in the colder months, under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or 10 degrees Celcius
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid
  • Mosquitoes find targets by observing movement (AMCA)
  • Darker clothes seem to attract certain mosquito species more than light-colored clothes
how to keep bugs away when hammock camping


Remember, the goal is to enjoy the beauty of nature without becoming a feast for its less-welcome inhabitants.

Being mentally prepared for going out camping where insects are is one part of the equation while using these practical tips on how to minimize and keep bugs away when hammock camping is another.

Each of these tips has been a part of my hammock camping adventures, and they’ve made a huge difference.

Whether it’s choosing the right spot, gearing up properly, or just keeping things clean, these strategies are all about making your camping experience as enjoyable as possible.

Wishing you a bug-free next hang!

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