Mosquito Battle Plan – Tips for Mosquito Netting to Travel Overland


“Human beings can easily destroy every elephant on earth, but we are helpless against the mosquito.” ~Isaac Asimov

Summer has started: great weather, blue skies, sunshine, long evenings before it gets dark. Life is wonderful.

If only those clouds of mosquitoes would stay away.

Over the years we’ve searched for solutions to sleep without our bodies being drained of blood. If you have a car with properly closing doors and windows and have aircon, this article probably isn’t for you.

For others, here is our Mosquito Battle Plan.

Read More: The Magic-number Car Tires for Overlanding

Enough space for mosquitoes to get in but not for this cat.

1- Equip the Vehicle with Mosquito Nets

Of course, using mosquito netting is obvious.

But where, and how?

1- On the sides in the rear, we have fancy camping-car windows with integrated mosquito screens. They work perfectly.

2- In the rear doors are also camping-car windows, but an integrated system is not possible there for lack of space on the bodywork. I made mosquito netting with an elastic band around the edges.

3- When it’s extremely hot we may sleep with the rear doors open, so I also glued Velcro around the edges of the doors, and my mother-in-law sewed mosquito screens to fit.

4- Around the front side windows, I glued Velcro on the bodywork, and I sewed mosquito nettings with the opposite side of Velcro along the sides. This Velcro doubles for shades we use when the Land Cruiser is parked and often at night.

car mosquito netting - side panel
1. Side windows – integrated mosquito netting
car mosquito netting - rear door
2. Rear door – mosquito netting
car mosquito netting - rear
3. Open rear doors – mosquito netting
car mosquito netting - front window
4. Front side windows – mosquito netting

2- Stock up on Mosquito Repellent

Mosquito repellent – well, that’s stating the obvious, isn’t it? But here’s what we do to minimize putting chemicals on our skin.

2a- Our Body-friendy, Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Our homemade mosquito repellent is easy to make and not harmful to the skin/body.

  • Make a mixture of half a liter of rubbing alcohol and 100 grams of whole cloves.
  • Let it sit for four days, stirring the mixture a couple of times each day.
  • Filter out the debris, and add about 100 milliliters of oil (baby oil, sesame oil, whatever oil you like).
  • The latter is just to make the repellent softer on your skin. There are variations on this recipe – Google is your friend.

Read More: Driving the Transamazônica

2b- The Stronger, Store-Bought Mosquito Repellent

Our homemade repellent works well but not a very long time. It’s perfect in case you are in an area with short, intense mosquito onslaughts around sunrise. It does not work long enough to last an entire night. Therefore, in malaria-infested areas, chemical repellents may be a better option.

In South America, we used the brand OFF!, which we found pretty much everywhere and it works well. There are cream versions for your skin and spray versions to use on your clothes. Some versions contain DEET, so check the ingredient lists if you want to avoid this.

Since our Land Cruiser can never be completely closed due to the holes in the bodywork and the door rubbers leaving chinks, we keep the cream next to us at night in case some mosquitoes do come in and I don’t succeed in swatting them.

As long as we are outside, we make sure to cover up wearing long pants, long sleeves, socks, and recently we even got a nice Pinewood hat with mosquito netting covering our heads to battle the mosquito onslaughts in Mongolia and Siberia.

Read More About Overlanding in Mongolia

Pinewood hat with mosquito netting

3- Prepare Before Going To Bed

What if you are outside all evening, leaving the doors and windows open for the truck to cool off? The mosquitoes are inside by the time you go to bed, although you can minimize this by using one or two mosquito coils.

This is what we do, especially in malaria-infested areas:

  • We put all of the mosquito screens in place and close the windows and doors.
  • One of us goes inside, holds his/her breath and sprays the inside with mosquito spray as fast as possible and jumps outside. Breathe again.
  • Wait 10 minutes for the spray to kill the malicious buggers.
  • Open the windows, leaving the screens in place, and stay outside for a while longer for the chemical vapors to find their way out and fresh air to blow inside.

This requires time and patience but does work.

mosquito coils, handy in a container

4- Camp along Acidic Waters

Acidic waters are often blissfully free from mosquitoes. In the Amazon region, the black-water rivers are more acidic than the white ones, and camping next to the former will greatly simplify the battle against the little pests.

Read More: Our Best Camp Spots in Siberia and Camping Tips

car mosquito netting - for sleeping

This article was first published on Expedition Portal

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2 thoughts on “Mosquito Battle Plan – Tips for Mosquito Netting to Travel Overland”

  1. Hi,
    I love your tips to battle the mosquitos. Although our bed prepping time (also takes a bit of time) exists out of putting on this travel mosquito-net around the bed and stuffing the excess partly under our mattress once we are inside. We have put simple hooks in strategic places to hang it up. In the morning we put it back in the bag with all the rings together with an elastic so you don’t have to go looking for them. We are very happy with it, now that we found out the best way to hang the big thing in our tiny space.
    We also bought the racket to electrify mosquitos, maybe it helps more to cope with frustration with the tiny creatures that can make our evening a hell 😉

    • Heya Sien,
      Great to hear from you and to learn about how you tackle the mozzie situation. We have been using a similar klamboe for a few months in the beginning of our trip. But soon we came to realise that it was more cumbersome and clumsy. Especially if you want to access things outside the netting. Our limited space in the Land Cruiser might had to do with that. But since we have made our vehicle bug proof with the netting on the windows, we haven’t looked back or looked for a different kind of way to handle the situation.


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