Best Mosquito Repellents

Canyon camping

Canyon camping on Feather River.

California OUTDOORS & Camping

Mosquitoes can totally ruin the outdoor experience for many people. Zika & West Nile Virus – alive in California, so check out local county pages or perhaps, the CDC.

Apparently these annoying bugs like a certain blood type. People with Type O blood are found to be twice as attractive to mosquitoes.

Many of these mosquito related items listed below contain toxic chemicals, and may carry a California Prop 65 warning. Luckily there are non-toxic alternatives; more choices everyday!

Here at Total Escape, we like to highlight more natural and organic products, but we know how bad mosquito problems can get, so we still show the real poisons too.

Bug Balm

Bug Sprays for Skin

Mosquito Bands


These inexpensive, stretchable wristbands are a Total Escape favorite choice! No smell, no liquid, no mess, no flame, no toxic chemicals. Least expensive option overall.

Cheap, reusable, easy to wear – on head, hat, wrist, ankle, neck. Wear more than one for added protection.


Campfire smoke and the radiant heat can keep mosquitoes away from camp. Start gathering firewood mid-day and start your fire at dusk (or a few hours before dark).

Often moist meadow-side camp sites can have an abundance of bugs, so you might want the campfire going all day long. Just make sure someone is always watching the fire and if you leave camp, extinguish the fire.

Mosquito Candles

Caution using candles outdoors: Never leave a flame unattended. Wildfires start way too easily in Cali. Red Flag Warning [local fire restrictions] – If there is a ban on all campfires, then no smoking, no burning anything outside. No incense, no tiki torches, nor candles. In California, you can be held liable for any forest fire that you start.


Green Mosquito Coils?

Green, spiral, smoking. Usually sitting there stinking, on the picnic table. Grandparents may have used these precious relics, but should not be placed near food or dining areas.

The last time I read the Coleman box of these, the warnings were about NOT letting this green chalky coil (or resulting burnt ash) get into natural waterways. So that means pretty dang TOXIC I would assume.

Careful disposal of dust/ash into sealed garbage bag. A slight breeze can blow it, so use this product with caution. Outdoors, always; maybe in the garage, on the patio (without kids or pets) or in the shop or man cave.

Mosquito Coils


Mosquito Incense

Mosquito Netting

Not sure what neighbors think of me as I mow the lawn with a net on my head. However, the satisfaction of seeing gnats stuck on the mesh and unable to get at my face outweighs any concerns of what others think of my appearance.



WET WINTER/ SPRING means many more mosquitoes hatching, far into late summer. Still, standing water is where they are born, so avoid those areas.

LATE SUMMER into AUTUMN can be ideal times to enjoy the outdoors – without too many mosquitoes. Dry land, high temps, minimal water, low moisture and humidity means fewer mosquitoes. This time is also high fire danger. Late summer thunderstorms and a good rain can cancel the fire restrictions, but always verify w/ rangers.

tips for home – remove all standing water – drip trays, ponds, plastic swimming pools, water-features; Trim vegetation way back, away from patios, walkways, sitting areas, dining tables.


tips for camp – avoid setting up camp along shallow, small creeks – which may have standing water, close by. beware of rivers, coastal marshes and wetlands.

Open skies, dry ground, sandy and rocky beaches, granite outcroppings, windy mountain ridges are all places to choose camp – if you want to totally avoid mosquitoes.


Mosquito Bug Zapper

Ultrasonic Devices



Towelettes / Wipes


see also – Camp Comforts


picnic areas local parks, regional parks, open spaces and museums can be found on the small town California A to Z page


green creek trailhead at NFS campground