In the summer months, there are very few family activities more exciting than camping. You carry all of your gear into the great outback to enjoy a weekend of swimming, catching some sun and exploring in the open air.
How to Keep Mosquitoes and Flies Away When Camping
Though we all enjoy camping, there are a few downsides. Everyone wants to be able to catch a little shade in the hot afternoon, and we’d also like a break from those pesky mosquitoes. What about having a family lunch table with delicious food prepared only to have flies around. Outside of reaching for yesterday’s newspaper to deliver a well-timed THWACK, a mesh tent or “screen house” is the best way to keep yourself protected.
In this review, we’ll be looking at the six best options on the market.
Top 5 Outdoor Mesh Tents of 2017
Let’s look at each model one by one, and then we’ll help you find the one that best suits your needs.
Coleman Instant Cabin (15 X 13)
Looking for a quick and easy way to get your outdoor Screenhouse put together? There are very few options as simple as this Coleman model. All you have to do is toss out the self-assembling rods, and lay them flat over the canopy. After, you just clip the sides of the canopy onto the bars one by one. With an extra pair of hands, you can get this set up in under 60 seconds!
With two large entrances, this is the perfect mesh canopy tent to use on top of your picnic table, to place over your tent, or even just to make a comfortable little play area for your kids. With over 41 square feet of protected space, this simple solution is one of our first choices for any consumers who don’t want to spend a lot of time during setup and take-down.
Quick-Set Escape Shelter (12 X 12)
Camping with a large group? This 94-square-foot screen gazebo just might be the best option for you. The sides of this model are entirely flat, giving you a lot more internal space compared to tents that have tapered edges. It’s got 90 inches of clearance – tall enough for most basketball players to stand up in!
With something this large, it’s important to secure it so it doesn’t blow away in the wind. To keep you safe, Clam Corporation has provided you with six high-quality tie downs, and manufactured all of the structural parts of the shelter from 600 denier. Not will it protect you from the sun, rain, and bugs, but you’re unlikely to damage it – even in a wind storm!
Tailgaterz Magnetic Screen House (11 X 9)
Sick of struggling with zippers that tend to stick? If you’ve got high traffic going in and out of your screen house, you need something that will open and close quickly – preventing bugs from getting in. In this regard, there is no door mechanism as simple as the magnetic ones used in this Tailgaterz model. Just pull on the fabric to open, and let it close naturally. The in-stitched magnets will ensure that the door gets a tight seal, preventing any of your least-favorite critters from slipping in.
Though it does take a little more work to setup, this fiberglass frame and wide design make this the perfect mesh canopy for use over a picnic table. This provides both dining and relaxing space for the whole family.
Coleman Back Home Instant Gazebo (12 X 10)
If you’re looking for a pop up mesh that offers all of the comforts of home, there are very few options that can come as close as the Coleman Back Home Instant Screenhouse. It protects you in three ways: from the sun, from bugs, and from the wind. All of the fabric is coated with a unique UVGuard protectant, which offers better UV protection than any sunscreen on the market! Additionally, the finely designed material sides allow breathability, while still breaking those big gusts of wind.
It’s got two zippered T-doors, which are quick and easy to open. Although the design take a little longer than some to set up (about three or four minutes) it is much more rigid than competing designs.
Mesh Pop Up Tent
This isn’t quite like the others. It’s actually a single person mosquito tent.
Most pop-ups can fit comfortably in the trunk of your car, but here is something that can fit in your backpack! This unique design uses three flexible internal rods that can be folded into a 26 inch disc. Just open the zipper and toss it on the ground. This free-standing frame will unfold and set itself up instantly. It features a tarp floor, which will keep you dry even when camping in wet conditions. The mesh enclosure surrounds you while you sleep, preventing unwanted bug bites.
Although setup isn’t quite as instant as take down, it still only takes 30 seconds or so. This is one of the most compact options on the market, and our first choice for anyone who is short on storage space.
Honorable Mention – Ozark Trail Shelter (13 X 9)
We just had to add this to the list. In some areas, bugs aren’t an all-day concern. In the hot summer sun, your main priority is to stay cool. It’s not until the sun starts to set that the bugs come out. For these types of environments, the Ozark Trail 13 x 9 screen house is a perfect choice. It’ protects you from the sun on all three sides, providing more shade than mesh-sided models. Only the door is made from mesh. During the day, you can quickly roll in back for superior ventilation. But once the sun goes down, it zips shut on both sides so not a single bug can get in.
Flying bugs can be a bit a problem at campsites all over the United States. This option is one of the most hassle free solutions out there and works perfectly for protection against all types of flying bugs. (As long as you keep the door flaps closed.)
Which is Right for Me?
Sure, all of these options will help protect you from bugs. But there is no one-size fits all approach. To make your purchase worthwhile, you’ll need to know how you’re going to use your screen house. We selected these models because each of them serves a different purpose.
If you’re just looking for a simple, affordable way to create a bug-free sitting space for you and your kids, our recommendation is the Coleman 15 x 13. Its tapered design makes it ideal for sitting, and the one-minute setup time lets you enjoy your vacation, and spend less time getting prepared.
For Outdoor Picnics
When are bugs at their worst? During dinner, of course! Just as the smell of a delicious campfire-cooked meal can get you salivating, it can attract bugs from all reaches of your campsite. If you’re not interested in sharing your meal with everyone’s least-favorite winged creatures, you’ll want a screen house that can go around your picnic table. For this purpose, the best choice is the Tailgaterz. It’s rectangular design and large size are perfect for this purpose, making it a choice you won’t regret.
Great Looking Gazebo Style
Has your camping style ever been described as “glamping?” For the luxurious camper, the Coleman Back Home Instant Screenhouse is the best that money can buy. With a modern design, ultra-high roof, and high-quality material, this is a purchase that will look and feel good for many years to come.
Single Person Sleeper
Don’t plan on bringing your vehicle up to your campsite? For backpacking trips, portability is the most important feature to have. The most portable option on our list is the SansBug 1-Person Pop-Up Mosquito Net. Folding down into a disc with a diameter of 26 inches, it’s easy to shove into a backpack without occupying too much of your precious space.
What About Overnight Camping?
You should definitely consider and actual tent if you want to use it for sleeping through the night. For larger families, check out our Best 12 Person Tents Review.
Another cool advantage is that it is much quicker and easier to set up than a normal tent.
Check Out the Video of the Coleman 15×13 to See How Easy It Is to Set Up