We love the wilderness. We love it’s fresh air. We love it’s beauty. We love the smell of the forest, and the sense of solitude it gives us. 

But one thing we don’t love about the wilderness: mosquitoes. 

These irritating pests can suck the fun out of a backpacking trip faster than they suck the blood out of your arms and legs. But, as painful and annoying as they are, mosquitoes are no reason to stay indoors. Here are some tips you can use to avoid mosquitoes in the wild.

  1. Use insect repellent. Duh! The most obvious way to avoid mosquitoes, you should use a repellent that contains at least 20 percent DEET, but you should probably go much stronger than that if you’re in the deep woods. Make sure to reapply if you’re out for a while.
  2. Cover your skin. Mosquitoes bite exposed skin, so cover yourself with loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirts and pants. That might sound silly in the hot summer months, but many long-sleeve shirts and pants today are lightweight and breathable.
  3. Wear light colors. Studies show that mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Wearing light colors like white or tan can make you less appealing to these pests.
  4. Timing matters. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. You’ll have better luck avoiding them in the late morning or early afternoon.
  5. Find a breeze. Mosquitoes are weak fliers, so a good breeze will keep them away. Planning a trip in places that are exposed to wind – hiking at higher elevations and on exposed ridges; paddling on rivers and lakes – will cut down on the mosquitoes.