Troop 121

Auburn, MA

Bug Nets for Camp

Bug nets are an important item to bring to camp to keep those pesky mosquitos away from you as you sleep. The camp’s canvas wall tents may provide protection from the rain, but they offer very little in terms of insect protection. If you don’t already have one, make sure to pick up a bug net like this one before you head off to camp. They can be purchased from places like Amazon, Walmart, and Dick’s for around $15. However, the bug net itself is only the first part of the system, as you will also need some way to support it. Keep reading to see some of the most popular options.

Option 1: Basic

bug net on poles with tennis balls

The most common method I see for supporting the bug net (and the option I recommend to first-year campers) It involves using 4 wooden dowels placed in each corner to support the bug net. The dowels are topped with empty water bottles or tennis balls to prevent them from ripping the bug net. Note that duct tape cannot be used on the cots. Zip Ties are a good alternative and rope may work as well. I will have a pack of zip ties with me if anyone needs them. Also, many if not all the cots in our site will be the canvas style (see the picture in the ‘expert’ section) The ‘x’ shaped legs may make it difficult to secure the dowels at the bottom. One potential solution is to secure the bottom of the dowel in another plastic water bottle filled with sand or dirt to give it weight.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to set up/take down
  • Uses commonly available materials


  • Can be kind of flimsy
  • Does not support bug net in middle, leading to sagging
  • Relies on bed frame for support

Option 2: Pro

pvc frame bug net

For scouts wishing to level-up their bug net game, a DIY PVC frame is a great option. I recommend that first year campers go with the dowel method above, but for veteran scouts, a PVC frame may be the way to go.


  • Rigid/strong
  • Provides full support to bug net
  • Free standing
  • Able to hang other things such as a lantern from it


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Takes up more storage space when not at camp
  • Not easily adjustable

Option 3: Expert

pop up bug nets

For scouts who like to take the easy way and guarantee a bug-free sleeping experience, a pop up bug net may be the way to go. While I have never personally used one, some scouts seem to like it more than the traditional bug net methods.


  • Easy, fast set up
  • Good at keeping bugs out


  • Most Expensive
  • May be difficult to fold away (Save the instructions!)
  • May take up more space in the tent

More Considerations

No matter which option you chose, make sure to read through these helpful tips to get the most out of your bug net.

  • A floor covering is a necessity. A tarp or outdoor carpet works well to cover the cracks in the floorboards, keeping the bugs from entering your bug net from below.
  • The bottom of the bug net must be either entirely on the floor or tucked under the mattress. I recommend making sure the bug net you purchase is long enough to reach the floor, as it is difficult to tuck it under a mattress that you are lying on.
  • The bug net must be hole free. Bugs will find any rips or tears and then become trapped with you inside the bug net.
  • The bug net must be supported. If the bug net is directly touching you, then the mosquitos can bite you through the net. Make sure it is supported and kept up off the bunk.


By on July 8th, 2021
Last modified on November 23rd, 2023 at 12:17 am

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