The 10 Best Mosquito Repellents in 2021 (What Works for Camping)

1. OFF! Family Care (Unscented)


2. Murphy's Naturals Sticks


3. Thermacell Portable Repellent Device

CampingPanda goal is to help its readers enjoy camping more. This post may contain affiliate links from our partners who share the same vision. Disclosure

From skin rash to life-threatening diseases, mosquitoes bring a lot of nasty things to you and your family. So make sure you have the best mosquito repellent tucked in your camping backpack!

But with so many products in the market, which one should you pick? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. We’ve listed down the 10 best mosquito repellents guaranteed to keep you safe, wherever you go. 

How We Rated Best Mosquito Repellent?

  • Protection Time

    How long it lasts?

  • Protection

    Is it mosquito repellent?

  • Universal

    Is it effective for other insects?

  • Safety

    Is it non-toxic?

  • Ingridients

    Is it natural?

  • Usability

    Is it easy to use?

  • Portability

    Is it easy to carry?

  • Lifespan

    Is it long-lasting?

How We Conducted Research?

  • 16

    Hours Researched

  • 18

    Products Evaluated

  • 4k

    Reviews Considered

  • 3

    Sources Researched

1. OFF! Family Care (Unscented)


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the OFF! Family Care (Unscented)

Camping with the whole family? This product from OFF is a must-have. You can spray it on your skin, clothes, bag, and other surfaces for optimal protection. This mosquito repellent contains a Picaridin-based ingredient that acts as a “vapor barrier”, driving mosquitoes from landing on the skin.

We give the OFF Family Care the top spot for the best mosquito repellent for several reasons. It’s very handy, easy to use, and suitable for all ages. And since this product contains DEET, it is recommended for outdoor regions that are heavily infested by insects.

What we like:

What we don't like:

2. OFF! Mosquito Coil Refills


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the OFF! Mosquito Coil Refills

A cheaper alternative to incense sticks, the OFF mosquito coils can protect an area up to 10 ft by 10 ft. Tip: you can light two coils to double the coverage. Designed for semi-confined areas, this product works well in backyards, as well as campsites and picnic areas. 

Each coil provides up to 4 hours of protection so you don’t need a lot to get through a day of camping.

What we like:

What we don't like:

3. Thermacell Mr3F Portable Mosquito Repellent Device​


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Thermacell Mr3F Portable Mosquito Repellent

If you don’t like sprays, lotions or anything that has to be applied to your skin, this portable mosquito repellent device from Thermacell might be what you need. It gets the spot for the Best Premium repellent because it’s effective and easy to carry around the campsite. Plus, it offers up to 12 hours of protection!

Going for a hike? Not a problem! It’s very portable and lightweight. You can attach it to your belt, camping gear, camping equipment, or backpacks. No scent, greasy feeling, or anything. Just pure protection.

What we like:

What we don't like:

4. Murphy's Naturals Sticks


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Murphy's Naturals Sticks

If you or your kids are highly allergic to sprays, oils or lotions, a good-quality incense stick like Murphy’s might do the trick. We particularly love the citronella scent that doesn’t just drive mosquitoes but is also very refreshing.

What’s more – it’s all natural and it’s completely safe. Perfect for campsites, this product comes in 24 incense sticks. Each stick can be used for 2.5 hours and provides mosquito protection within 12ft radius.

What we like:

What we don't like:

5. Cutter Skinsations


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Cutter Skinsations

This insect repellent contains just 7% DEET so it’s very safe for young children. Plus, it has Aloe and Vitamin E which help soften the skin.

Aside from being super effective, we particularly love the 360 degree-pump design. This means you can spray at any angle and upside down.

What we like:

What we don't like:

6. Buggy Mosquito Bracelet


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Buggy Mosquito Bracelet

Great for children as it is for adults – this mosquito wristband is made of all-natural, DEET-free substances. We like that it’s adjustable so it can be worn by anyone, including your pet! This mosquito repellent-bracelet is also waterproof so you get superior protection, rain or shine.

The Buggy Bands come in two bracelets with four refills. And each refill offers up to 15 days of protection.

What we like:

What we don't like:

7. Repel HG-94108


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Repel HG-94108

Perfect for prolonged outdoor activities, this pump spray contains 98.11% DEET for protection in heavily infested conditions. It also repels ticks, gnats, biting bugs, chiggers, and fleas.

Its compact size makes the Repel ideal for traveling, hiking, and camping. You really don’t need much because each application gives you 10 hours of solid protection.

What we like:

What we don't like:

8. Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion

Get up to 12 hours protection from this insect repellent. The two-ounce tube means you can pack it in your carry-on luggage – a big plus when you’re traveling!

The Ultrathon insect repellent also works against biting flies, chiggers, gnats, fleas, ticks, and more. Lastly, it’s made with a stable formula so this product can be used for up to five years.

What we like:

What we don't like:

9. Coleman 100 Max


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Coleman 100 Max

The best friend of outdoor sportsmen and hunters – this 100% DEET insect repellent from Coleman works strongly to protect you from disease-carrying mosquitoes. Despite its full DEET formulation, it doesn’t have a strong smell.

Get up to 10 hours of complete protection from this product. Aside from this travel-friendly pump spray, the Coleman 100 Max also comes in a continuous spray version.

What we like:

What we don't like:

10. Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller


Technical Specs:

Why we picked the Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller

This innovative mosquito repellent offers a 15-foot zone of protection. The package includes 4 mats for 16 hours of relief. And in case you need more, you can also purchase mat refills from Thermacell

No mess, sprays, residue, or greasy feeling, the Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repellent is every backpacker’s best friend. 

What we like:

What we don't like:

Mosquito Repellent Buying Guide

Protecting yourself from mosquito is a necessity as mosquito is one of the most dangerous pests being the possible carrier of a number of diseases. There are many ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes; you can use mosquito nets when you’re at home or traveling and hanging nets are possible. But if you’re out in the woods or traveling in a place where setting up mosquito net is not possible, a mosquito repellent is your go-to choice.

In this buying guide, we will discuss the essential considerations in choosing the best mosquito repellent for you and your family.

The Importance of Buying a Mosquito Repellent

When traveling it is not always ideal to bring a mosquito net with you. Insect repellent are still the most convenient way to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Here are a few notable pros and cons of a mosquito repellent.


  • Convenience while traveling
  • As long as used accordingly, mosquito repellent are very effective
  • Generally safe for children, adults, pregnant women and pets.


  • Need to be careful in using as some chemicals may have impact to your health
  • Protection varies and needs attention for reapplication, otherwise mosquito repellent will be useless

Types of Mosquito Repellent

A mosquito repellent is any product that can prevent mosquitoes from getting close to you.There are some repellents that can kill mosquitoes even before they come near to you.

Mosquito repellents come in many forms: lotion, creams, liquids, spray, towelettes, wristbands, incense or repellent device.

Portable Mosquito Repellent Device

This electric mosquito repellent emits a repellent scent that is harmless and odorless to humans but deadly for mosquitoes. We like the portability that the Thermacell Mr3F Portable Mosquito Repellent Device​ offer, at only 8 ounces you can carry this with you to keep you protected for 12 hours! If you would prefer to keep the whole campsite protected, then we recommend the Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller that offers 16 hours protected within its 15-foot zone.

Insect Repellent Wristbands

Wristbands that repel mosquitoes are usually made from citronella. Citronella is an essential oil that can be used pure or mixed. Though their effectiveness has never been proven there are a lot of users who believe in a more natural way of repelling insects. Their protection time with the dermally applied products is very low, it is considered to be between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Check out the Buggy Mosquito Bracelet that offers 15 hours of protection that can be used by adults, kids and even your pets.

Mosquito Net

Mosquito nets are sometimes preferred by mothers to protect small children from mosquitoes. Though mosquito nets are not always ideal while traveling, they are still one of the most effective way to keep mosquito away.

Camping Panda has an entire article dedicated to finding the best mosquito net for travel. Check out this link.

Repellent Lotions

There are three ingredients that are commonly used in repellent lotions: DEET, Picaridin, Permethrin. The same ingredients are also used for insect repellent wipes. 


DEET is the most popular among the three. How DEET works is not clearly established and there are even claims that it is bad for health, however these claims are still unfounded. The table below shows the relationship between DEET content in a product and the time you can be protected. We recommend Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion for having 12 hours protection from mosquitoes, it comes in tube form making it easy to carry with you.


Protection Time


12 hours


6 hours


5 hours


3 hours


2 hours


It is a fairly new discovered chemical molecule and was only available in the market in 2005. There are studies that show that a product with 20% picaridin is more effective than a repellent with DEET at the same percentage. Moreover, picaridin does not decrease the effectiveness of sunscreen, unlike DEET. Check out OFF! Family Care (Unscented) that offers 3-4 hours protection time to keep the mosquitoes from even touching your skin because it acts as a vapor barrier.


This chemical cannot be applied directly to the skin as it may cause tingling or burning sensation. It is commonly applied as treatment to mosquito nets and sometimes to clothes. The permethrin treated garment will repel mosquitoes and kill them if they ever land on you. The duration of effectiveness is generally of 6 months or 3 to 5 washes at low temperature, after which it is necessary to reapply repellent. Note that this chemical is toxic to the environment, so be responsible not to contaminate campsites with this.

Here are a few considerations for use of Mosquito Repellent

Adult: there are no specified risks to adults just as long as you are not allergic to any of the ingredients used. 

Children: children that are 6 months old and younger are best protected using mosquito nets. Between 6 months old to 1 year old, you can use a product with 10% DEET. 1 application per day between 6 months and 2 years, 2 applications after. Just be mindful of the protection time to keep your child protected

Pregnant Women: You can use DEET at a maximum of 30% and daily dose of 3 applications. You can also use permethrin on your clothes

How to Apply Repellent Properly

  • Apply a thin coat to all exposed skin, but avoid eyes and mouth, and use sparingly around your ears. 
  • Adults should dispense repellent on their hands to apply to children. Do not let kids apply repellent on their own. They can put the products in their mouth or tier eyes that may cause irritation.
  • When using towelettes, be sure to use enough of them to cover all exposed skin with repellent.
  • Follow carefully the protection time to keep you and your family protected.


• What is the Most Effective Mosquito Repellent?

The most effective mosquito repellent are those that contain DEET. The higher the DEET, the stronger the solution is. Those with 90-100% DEET content, such as Coleman and Ultrathon are ideal to use in conditions with high to severe mosquito infestation. 

However, if applied on a child’s skin, a high DEET insect repellent might cause irritation or allergic reaction. For younger kids, only use products with very minimum DEET content.

• What Really Works to Repel Mosquitoes?

DEET is the active compound that repels mosquitoes. It works by interfering with the mosquitoes neurons and receptors in their antennae and mouth. This way, they won’t detect the presence of lactic acid and carbon dioxide on human skin.

• What Smell do Mosquitoes Hate the Most?

Mosquitoes despise the scent of citronella the most. But they also hate the smell of basil, peppermint, lemongrass, citrus, garlic, and Rosemary. 

Mosquitoes also hate Picaridin – synthetic compound developed from the Piperine plant. DEET the other “enemy” of mosquito. They hate the taste and smell of this active compound. 

• What is the Best Way to Keep Mosquitoes from Biting you?

The best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is to use a tried and tested mosquito repellent. Whether you prefer a spray such as the OFF Family Care or a repellent lotion like the Ultrathon, make sure you apply it according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

Additionally, wear protective clothing, pick a dry camping site, and always keep your tent doors shut.

• Does Coconut Oil Repel Mosquitoes?

Research suggests that coconut oil may work well on repelling mosquitoes. Some claim it is even better than DEET. However, more research is needed to validate this. If camping especially in mosquito-prone regions, it’s best to use tried and tested mosquito repellent