Thermacell has long been my go-to item for keeping the bugs at bay. Yes, it can be expensive to constantly refill them. But when they say that they create a 15 sq. ft. bug barrier— they aren’t joking. Having two or three of these strategically placed around a campsite can be the difference between having a great trip and coming home covered in mosquito bites and itching like crazy.


They require a butane cartridge that fuels a little flame that heats up the pads that put out whatever it is that keeps the mosquitoes away. Somehow you always go through the butane much faster than the pads and recently thermacell has developed a wider pad that lasts for 12 hours rather than 4 hours.

I keep two of the regular design thermacells and one lantern one in the camper. This allows us to have one on the table, one by the fire and one by the camper if we have one of those incredibly big campsites. Often we only use two of them.

The lantern one is pretty amazing. It has a nice LED light that gives a couple of different levels of glow and it can be hung from either end.

Finding refills for these on the road is NOT easy. You might find them at a hardware store, but it is not the kind of thing that the drug stores or groceries have readily available and not even the kind of thing you’d find at an outdoor outfitter.  It is best to take lots of supplies for these along with you.

We also use these a lot around the house at home and they make a lantern version that looks a little less like a “camp” light and more like any of the nice patio lights you might find. But one that also keeps the bugs away!


If you run out of supplies or can’t get thermacells, Off supplies work pretty well. We like the little clip-on devices and the incense ones that keep bugs away from camp for hours at a time.