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Say Goodbye to Bugs: the Best Outdoor Mosquito Repellent Systems for Camping

A mosquito-repellent system is one of the most important supplies to pack when you’re planning and packing for your camping trip. Mosquitoes carry deadly diseases, like malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus, and their bites can have serious health consequences.

There are quite a few mosquito-repellent systems on the market, so it’s important to do your research to find out which system best suits your needs.

Keep reading for the 5 best outdoor mosquito repellent systems for camping, including a guide to help you choose the system best for you.

best outdoor mosquito repellent system

Our Top Picks

Best Overall 
Thermacell Outdoor Lantern Mosquito Repellent System

Budget Option
Chemotex Bug Zapper Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

Best Portable Option
Thermacell Portable Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

Best Overall

Thermacell Lantern Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Lantern; No Spray Mosquito Repellent For Patios; Includes 12-Hours of Protection; DEET-Free, Scent-Free, No Flame Citronella Candle Alternative Black Small

The Thermacell lantern mosquito repellent system creates a large, 15-foot zone of protection from mosquitoes and other pesky insects buzzing around your campsite.

As the top brand for mosquito repellents, it’s no surprise multiple products made by Thermacell made the cut for this guide.

This lantern functions as a light source as well as a bug repellent. It is powered by an included compact 12-hour fuel cartridge, so you won’t need to worry about any cords.

This mosquito-repellent system emits a scent-free repellent that sends mosquitos scattering. This system is ideal for campers because it doesn’t put off smoke, flames, or strong scents, and it weighs less than a pound.

The repellent is targeted, disrupting mosquito sensors and driving the insects away from your campsite.

The easy-to-stow system has an independent light feature that can be used without the repellent. This light requires AAA batteries to function.

This system is perfect for those who want to repel bugs without harming them or using chemical sprays.


  • Very effective.
  • Works within 15 minutes.
  • Doesn’t use sprays or harmful chemicals.


  • Uses a large quantity of the bottled scent.

Best on a Budget

Chemotex Bug Zapper Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

Bug Zapper Outdoor Mosquito Killer Lamp Portable Bug Zapper Rechargeable Camping Bug Zapper IP66 Waterproof Cordless Bug Zapper for Tent, Camping Accessories, Camping Essentials

This 2-in-1 outdoor mosquito repellent system attracts insects like a moth to a flame, literally, using a built-in UV light and instantly zaps them.

The rechargeable zapper can work for up to 30 hours on a single charge and provides a light source as it works its magic at repelling bugs. It doesn’t use any chemicals as it repels, so it doesn’t pose any risk to your health like some other repellents.

The UV light serves two purposes. First, to kill the mosquitos as they come into contact with the zapper. Secondly, the incorporated UV light can be used as a regular light source, whether it’s to read a book in your tent or with the help of a campfire. The light also has 3 different light settings to meet your needs.

This repellent system is designed conveniently and is safe to use outdoors around your campsite or even hung up inside your tent at night.

With a no-baiting design that has a thick insulating structure to prevent your hands from an accidental shock, this outdoor mosquito repellent system is a must-have for campers.


  • Kills insects instantly.
  • Waterproof.
  • Rechargeable.


  • Catches most large insects but may not be that effective for smaller mosquitos and small bugs.
  • Loses its ability to hold a full charge over time.

Best Portable Option

Thermacell Portable Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller, Green; Effective Mosquito Repellent; Includes 12 Hours of Refills; No Spray, No DEET, No Open Flame; Scent-Free Bug Spray Alternative

The Thermacell portable outdoor mosquito repellent system creates a 15-foot zone of protection against mosquitos and some other insects within 15 minutes. It’s powered by an included 12-hour fuel cartridge that repels without smoke or chemicals.

This popular system protects your campsite and everyone in it from the dangerous diseases mosquitoes carry. The active ingredients used in this repellent system are based on plant-based natural repellents.

It works using mats that are heat-activated and creates an unscented zone of protection. These mats will turn white when they are no longer efficient and need to be replaced.

The mats are very easy to replace. All you have to do is insert a new mat into your system when you notice the previous one has turned white and insert the fuel, which you will twist into place.

The fuel cartridges last for around 12 hours, and the mats last up to 4 hours each. Another great thing about this product is that they include 3 of the mats with the purchase of the device. Refill cartridges can last from 12 hours to 300 hours, offering silent but effective protection from mosquito bites.


  • Portable and lightweight.
  • Doesn’t produce any fumes or smoke.
  • A fuel cartridge is included.


  • Requires purchasing separate cartridges for power.

Kiies Solar Bug Zapper Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

Solar Bug Zapper for Outdoor Indoor, Cordless & Rechargeable Mosquito Zapper with Reading Lamp, 4200V High Powered Mosquito Killer Insect Fly Trap Equipped 4000mAh Battery for Home, Patio, Camping

This mosquito-repellent system offers a wide protection range of up to 1500 square feet, making it the largest range on this list! Featuring a special type of UV light bulb with 365-395 nm wavelength inside a 360-degree wide-open design, this zapper delivers 4200V of high-voltage electric shocks to mosquitos and other insects.

This system is mainly powered by solar panels and has a 4,000 mAh battery that supports solar charging. All you need to do is place the zapper in direct sunlight, and it’ll begin to charge automatically. It’s a fantastic choice for camping off the grid since it can be charged by the sun.

You can also charge this bug zapper with a regular USB device. It will take around 3 hours to fully charge using this method.

This mosquito-repellent system can also be used as a lamp, featuring 2 brightness modes and soft light that’s easy on the eyes. It combines a camping lamp with a highly-efficient bug zapper, saving you a bit of space since you won’t need to pack separate products.

This system is safe and efficient to use and doesn’t put off any odor. It’s waterproof and easy to clean as well. It can safely be rinsed clean, and it comes with a cleaning brush to help clean insects out quickly and easily.

The bug zapper uses a durable ABS plastic housing to fence the internal electrical grid to prevent shock from accidental contact by users.


  • Covers 1500 square feet.
  • Can be used as a lamp.
  • Waterproof and easy to rinse clean.


  • Crackles very loudly when a bug flies into it.

Thermacell Backpacker Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller, Gen 2.0, Runs on Camping Fuel Canister; Includes Mosquito Repellent Mats & Water-Resistant Bag; Bug Spray & DEET Alternative

If you’re hiking or backpacking to the campsite and want to keep the weight of your supplies and gear to a minimum, the Thermacell Backpacker outdoor mosquito repellent system is perfect for you!

This product employs heat-activated technology that doesn’t require any cords or batteries and weighs just 4 ounces. It creates maximum protection from mosquitoes with a 15-foot zone of protection within 15 minutes.

This system is powered by a fuel canister that you’ll need to purchase separately. This canister releases an unscented repellent that repels mosquitos and other insects.

One unscented repellent mat lasts around 4 hours, so it may get a bit pricey. When the mat needs to be replaced, it changes color.

The Thermacell Backpacker uses a synthetic allethrin formula that is inspired by repellent extracts that occur naturally in plants. This device has been tested and reviewed by the EPA for safety and effectiveness.

This system doesn’t use DEET or any other harmful chemicals found in bug sprays and lotions. It doesn’t produce any smoke, flames, or strong scents like citronella does when it burns. It’s easy to use and refill, and it isn’t messy, making it a convenient choice for camping.

After refilling the unit, you’ll get to enjoy a whopping 360 hours of runtime on a 16-ounce canister of fuel. Included with this system are the repeller, 4 repellent mats, and a water-resistant travel bag.


  • Very lightweight product.
  • Pet and people-friendly.
  • Doesn’t use any harmful chemicals to repel bugs.


  • The fuel canister isn’t included.

Mosquito Repellent System Buyer’s Guide

It can be challenging to sift through the hundreds of available mosquito-repellent systems, so we’ve created this comprehensive guide to the best outdoor mosquito-repellent systems for camping.

Types of Mosquito Repellent Systems

There are a few different types of mosquito-repellent systems, but we will talk about the specific types of products that are included in this guide.

Candles and Lanterns

Candles and lanterns using Citronella are great for repelling mosquitos and other pesky insects. The pungent odor of the citronella will have bugs escaping as quickly as they can.

Candles are one of the most cost-efficient options. They usually contain citronella, but some candles may use other oils from bug-repelling plants such as peppermint and lemongrass.

Lanterns use installed cartridges to repel mosquitos. These cartridges may contain citronella or other chemicals that are released once the lantern heats up and repels bugs.

Electronic Devices and Bug Zappers

Bug zappers are generally battery-powered, but some of them plug into the wall to charge. To repel insects, zappers release repellent substances into the air around the zapper, which makes these devices some of the best for repelling mosquitoes.

Fuel-Powered Devices

Fuel-powered devices generally use replaceable fuel cartridges and a mat containing a repellent substance. These devices produce a small fire internally once they are activated, which heats the mat and releases the repellent.

What to Look For

Now that you know which types of repellent systems are included in this guide, let’s talk about the factors you should consider before purchasing a system.


If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to consider cost before purchasing a system. For those with limited funds, the best bet will most likely be candles or lanterns. Candles are very cost-efficient and effective.

Ingredients and Safety Considerations

Candles are usually made from citronella, which is a naturally occurring oil found in the citronella plant that is commonly used for mosquito repellents. Other repellents that use citronella include natural sprays and torch fluids. Other repellents may contain chemicals that raise questions about potential health risks, so it’s always a good idea to check the label and make sure you’re using a repellent that is EPA registered. If you’re concerned about the safety of a product, you can visit the EPA website. There is a tool there that will help you research the ingredients of the product to ensure it is safe for use.

Ease of Use

The ideal mosquito-repellent system will be simple and easy to use. You don’t want to get to your campsite to discover the repellent system is confusing and difficult to use. It should also be portable to make packing it in your camping supplies easier.

Power Source

Whatever outdoor mosquito repellent system you choose should have a long battery life so you won’t have to worry about the device losing power in the middle of your trip.

outdoor mosquito repellant

Wrapping Up The Best Outdoor Mosquito Repellent Systems for Camping

Choosing the perfect repellent system for you can be a bit of a challenge, but they are a vital tool when you’re out in the middle of the wilderness with the mosquitos trying to carry you away.

We hope this guide has been helpful in helping you decide which mosquito repellent best suits your camping needs.

For more information and natural ways to repel mosquitos, check out our guide to sleeping under the stars with a mosquito net.