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12 Bright Tent and Campsite Lighting Ideas

Camping enthusiasts are always looking for new campsite lighting ideas. From classic lanterns to fun and festive string lights, the possibilities are endless.

Here, we’ll discuss things to consider when choosing camp lights and look at 12 of our top lighting ideas.

The Best Multi-Use Light for Camping

LuminAid is an amazing company that makes an amazing Lantern that can be charged with USB or solar. It also doubles as a phone charger.

What to Consider When Buying Lights for Camping

Buying lights for camping takes careful consideration. If you’re bringing small children, for example, you should avoid flame lights. The size of your camp also impacts factors such as brightness and reach. 

When we camp, we choose our lights based on:

Power Source

The power source is important because not all camp lights are wireless. Camp light power sources include:

  • Battery
  • USB 
  • Solar power
  • Plug-in
  • Flame

You might choose your power source based on eco-friendliness, weight, or cost. Whatever your reason, look closely at the power source when you buy. It’s no fun getting caught in the woods with battery powered lights and no batteries. 

Lumens

Lumens are a measurement for light. They tell you how much light your camp lantern emits and the distance it might reach. For example, a 40-watt lightbulb emits 450 lumens. Your car headlights might emit anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 lumens. 

Camp lights don’t need to shine long distances. If you want a bright campsite, look for lights with 500 or more lumens. If you want a more modest light for after-hours, anything around 100 to 200 lumens should suffice. 

Size and Weight

Are you backpacking into the woods or driving to your campsite? This is an important question when determining the size and weight of camp lights. Compact, lightweight lanterns are best for backpacking. 

As you add up the weight of camp lights, remember the power sources we mentioned earlier. Batteries, gas canisters, and charging cords add to the weight of your pack. If possible, keep camp to 1lb or less. 

With these specifications in mind, let’s explore some of our favorite campsite lighting ideas. 

Battery Options

Battery-operated lights don’t require a charging cable or fuel source. Battery lights aren’t the best for long-distance campers or backpackers. They add extra weight to your pack and aren’t good for the environment. That said, they work well in a pinch. Here are a few of our favorites. 

Doukey Portable Camping Lantern Bulbs

Doukey Portable LED Tent Lanterns
$16.98 $13.98
  • Camp lantern sized (4.6 X 2.1 inch) cute bulb shape, easy to carry for kids, carabiner to hang from tent, shed, branches, or backpack. Great tent accessories camping accessories for kids.
  • Battery lantern: Include 3 LEDs, maximum150 Lumens offers brightness that can easily illuminate the whole campsite.
  • Crafted from super-durable ABS plastic material.
  • HIGH / LOW / Strobe quickly / Strobe slowly
Amazon
01/31/2023 02:04 pm GMT

Doukey LED bulbs hang from convenient carabiners. Clip them to the inside of your tent or your backpack. Great for evening hikes or trips to the bathroom. These cute lights are shaped like light bulbs and come in a four-pack and use three AAA batteries.

We like that these bulbs offer four light settings, including low, high, slow strobe, and fast strobe. The strobe feature is a useful safety feature if you get lost. You could also clip them to kids or pets to know where they are after dark.

Pros: Single button makes operation easy for young campers. Carabiners clip to multiple surfaces. 

Cons: It takes 12 batteries to power all four lights. 

Height: 4.6” (11.68 cm)

Installation: Hanging

Type: LED

Light time: 10-15 hours

Innofox LED Camping Lantern

LED Camping Lantern
$33.99 $24.99
  • High-1500lm, Med-900lm, Low-500lm to Nite-90lm.
  • The LED camping light using 4pcs D batteries (included) as power supply, enables it can be used up to 1.5-72 hours.
  • Comes with two hooks, that can hang the tent lantern upside down to get better light when lighting up a big area.
Amazon
01/31/2023 01:59 pm GMT

The Innofox LED camping lantern shines at 1500 lumens, offering plenty of light for midsized to large campsites. The lantern requires four D cell batteries, included with purchase. 

We like the look of this battery operated lantern. It’s a classic lantern light with a handle for portability. It also includes four light settings, including night, low, medium, and high. 

Pros: 360-degree lighting. Push-button operation. Waterproof. 

Cons: A bit heavy at 1.59 lbs. Made of plastic. 

Height: 10.39” (26.39 cm)

Installation: Standing

Type: LED

Light time: 72-hours

USB Options

The world is dominated by technology. Even in the great outdoors. USB-powered campsite light ideas are a convenient modern option.

Some let you charge your phone and other devices with the connected USB charge bank. Here are some of our top choices.

Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma Solar Lantern

Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma
$24.95
  • This collapsible solar-powered lantern is a lightweight companion for any adventure, providing 60 lumens of usable light on high and a 35-hour run time on low.
  • Charges with ease from any USB port via the included micro-USB cable. It also can be completely solar powered via its built-in solar panel.
  • With 6 different color modes and a multicolor fade, this lantern lets you turn any campsite into a party.
Amazon
01/31/2023 03:39 pm GMT

This is one of the most convenient campsite lighting ideas we’ve come across. The lantern collapses into a small disc, perfect for backwood sites and long hikes. Charge with USB or solar option.

We love that this light is small and kid-proof. Our son has used the basic version of this light as his night light in his room for 3 years and despite some toddler teeth marks it’s still going strong. This light is always on our packing list for every camping trip!

The new chroma has High, Medium, Low, Candle Flicker, Multi-Color modes with 7 color options!

Pros: Lightweight and easy to store for biking, hiking, and camping. Three brightness modes and a built in solar panel.

Cons: Plastic handle is easy to break, but we contacted Goal Zero and got a replacement with ease! 

Height: 4.9” (12.4 cm)

Installation: Free standing or hanging

Type: LED

Light time: 35 hours on low. 

Fxexblin Camping Fan for Tent

Fxexblin Light and Fan
$23.99
  • 3 functions: fan, lantern and emergency power bank.
  • 3 settings for the fan speed and 3 brightness settings for the light.
  • Low battery indicator
Amazon
01/31/2023 01:55 pm GMT

Fxexblin makes a two-in-one camping fan integrated lighting. For hot summer nights, this light is a camp-saver. It has an integrated USB power bank and remote control with three brightness levels and wind speeds. 

We’re big fans of the fan and light combo. Hang it inside the tent or set it on any camp tray or picnic table. The fan adjusts 180 degrees to reach you while sitting or lying down. 

Pros: Portable and hand-held for easy setup and storage. Includes a four-bar battery indicator so you know when it needs to be recharged. 

Cons: The higher you turn up the light and fan level, the less battery time you have. 

Height: 6.8” (17.27 cm)

Installation: Freestanding 

Type: LED/fan

Light time: 6-25 hours depending on power level

Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Camping Lantern

Goal Zero Lighthouse Camping Lantern
$69.95
  • Lightweight companion for any adventure, providing adjustable light up to 600 lumens.
  • Recharge the internal lithium battery using any USB port, using the sun with a Goal Zero solar panel (not included), or using the built-in hand crank during an emergency.
  • With the USB output, you can use your Goal Zero rechargeable lantern to power other small devices.
Amazon
01/31/2023 01:45 pm GMT

The Goal Zero lantern is a USB charged light source and it also has a hand crank. 1 minute of cranking will get you 10 minutes of light.

We love that this light also works as a mobile phone charger, we often use this feature. You can choose to have 360° of light or 180° to save power and not blind the whole campground (we almost always use 180°, this is a very bright light.

This is also a great hiking companion because it has an SOS mode. We own this lantern and bring it on every camping trip we go on. The versatility can’t be beat.

Pros: Dimmer knob for a variety of light modes, separate red SOS light. 

Cons: Only lasts 5 hours on high with a full charge. 

Height: 6.5”- 9.5″ (16.5 – 24.1 cm)

Installation: Free standing or hanging

Type: LED

Light time: 320 with one side lit on low, 2.5 with both sides lit on high. 

KLYMIT Everglow Light Tube

KLYMIT Everglow Light Tube
$39.99 $30.53
  • Lightweight and flexible design offers a variety of lighting options, packs down small so you can take it on every outing
  • White LED light, up to 270 lumens, great for camping, hiking, and any night time adventure
  • Powered by an USB input, quick and easy inflation and deflation.
  • LG and XL models have a dimmer to control brightness, carabiner loop and magnetic attachment points.
Buy on Amazon
01/31/2023 11:05 am GMT

KLYMIT Everglow light tubes are a unique inflatable camp light. The tube packs down into a convenient carrying case and takes seconds to inflate. It emits 270 lumens. 

We enjoy how compact this light is when deflated. It’s a great hiking gadget. The only issue we have is that there’s no power source included. You need to purchase a separate USB power pack.

Pros: Lightweight. Easy to inflate. Dimmer switch for different light levels. 

Cons: Requires separate USB power pack. Polyurethane isn’t as durable as other camp light products. 

Height: 34” (86.36 cm)

Installation: Hanging

Type: LED

Light time: Depends on the USB power pack

Solar Options

Solar powered lights are an economical and green option for campers. These long-lasting light sources draw energy from the sun, storing it during the day to use at night. Here are some of our top solar campsite lighting ideas. 

LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Phone Charger Lanterns

The LuminAID 2-in-1 phone charger and lantern shed 130 lumens of light. It offers five unique lighting options, including Candle Flicker. The built-in 2000mAH battery charges in two to three days of continuous sunlight or through a USB cord. 

We love that this lantern is inflatable. It starts as a 1-inch solar panel and handle and inflates to a 6-inch cube. It makes a great hiking companion. Store it in your pack, or clip it on with a carabiner. 

This is a great emergency light to have for indoor and outdoor use. Be sure to pack one for your next camping trip.

Pros: As seen on Shark Tank. Compact and lightweight. Multiple light settings. Charges your phone.

Cons: Takes multiple days to charge. 

Height: 6” (15.24 cm)

Installation: Hanging or standing

Type: LED

Light time: 4 hours on high or 50 hours on low

TomCare Solar Lights

TomCare Solar Lights
$68.99 $62.99
  • A stunning alternative to the real “flames” — LEDs in the light cast a warm, soft, mood-enhancing glow.
  • It collects solar energy all day, then turns on automatically at dusk.
  • Light up 12 hours after fully charged. Charging time: 8 hours
  • Waterproof and Durable, withstand all kinds of weather all year round.
Amazon
01/31/2023 11:10 am GMT

TomCare Solar Lights add campfire ambiance to any outdoor area. The flickering lights mimic torches while remaining safe to the touch. Perfect for families with young children. The torches stand higher than most camp lights at just over three and a half feet. 

We like these tall torch lights because of the warm glow. Some LED lights are blinding in the dark. We also like that TomCare comes as a four-pack. Plant them at the four corners of your campsite to illuminate the entire space. 

Pros: Solar powered. Waterproof. No wiring. 

Cons: Requires 8 hours of charging to reach maximum 12-hour light capacity. 

Height: 43” (109.22 cm)

Installation: Ground stake 

Type: LED

Light time: 12 hours

Nupostai Solar Pathway Lights

Bright Solar Pathway Lights
$56.99 $49.99 ($8.33 / count)
  • Premium solar panel with a 800mAh higher capacity battery.
  • 2 light modes (Multicolor &Warm White) project colorful sunflower pattern.
  • Adjustable height and convenient external switch.


Amazon
01/31/2023 11:20 am GMT

Solar pathway lights are versatile lights for your camping trip. These pathway lights run for 9-13 hours after charging in the sun for 4-6 hours. These are well-suited for placing around the tent or other obstacles to illuminate the campsite. 

We like that this light has multicolored and warm white options. They’re great for sites near other campers because you don’t need very bright lights to give your campsite enough light to not trip on your tent. 

Pros: Fun patterns and colors your little ones will love. Long run time after full charge. 

Cons: Needs full sun to charge, may need to move the lights during the day.

Height: 16.4″ (41.6 cm)

Installation: Ground stake

Type: LED

Light time: 9-13 hours

LYIKEA Solar String Lights

Solar Rope Lights
$23.99
  • 72FT/ 20M solar outdoor rope light use 200 units of Ultra Bright lamp beads with multi-color: RED, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE
  • Remote Control with 8 Modes: Fireflies, Flashing, In Wave, Double-lamp Flash, Slow Flash, Chasing/Flash, Slow Fade, Twinkle/Flash, Steady.
Amazon
01/31/2023 11:25 am GMT

String lights (or fairy lights) are great camping lights. Solar string lights hanging on your tent are a great way to light up your campsite without blinding your neighbors.

We like that these rope lights have fun options from twinkling to steady to chasing. These are great camping tent lights that will bring a touch of color and fun to your camping trip.

Pros: Fun colors, remote with timer for auto-shutoff. 50 hour run time after full charge. 

Cons: Rope lights are not super bright, enough light to see your tent but not enough to play a game.

Length: 72′ (2190 cm)

Installation: Camping string lights

Type: LED string lights

Light time: 50-60 hours

Plug-In Options

Plug-in campsite light options work well in RV sites and car camping trips with access to electricity. To use plug-in lights, you require a power source, either at the campsite or through a mobile generator. These are our favorite electric lights. 

SUDISER 1680 Lumen Portable Camping Light

Metal Telescoping Camping Light
$49.99
  • Powered by 84 ultra-bright LED lamps, and adjustable design which can increase light range up to 2ft.
  • Convenient to quickly install, adjust work light without any tools, just rotate locking knobs or twist locking collars by hand. The telescopic tripod can be extended from 2ft to 6ft.
  • The camping light comes with a 6.6ft power cord.
Amazon
01/31/2023 04:14 pm GMT

The SUDISER telescopic camp light includes a tripod. The light extends from two feet to six feet, illuminating long distances. If you plan on cooking, fishing, or spending time outside after dark this lamp will light the way.

We like that this lamp is powered by an 84 ultra-bright LED with two feet of the light range. It also has a 6.6-foot power cord, which works with a charging block or as a USB plug. 

Pros: 1680 lumens. Lightweight. Energy-efficient. 

Cons: Requires even ground to settle the tripod. Might tip over in high winds. 

Height: 2’ (60.96 cm) collapsed or 6’ (182.88 cm) extended

Installation: Tripod

Type: LED

Light time: 50,000 hour bulb lifespan

Onforu 2 Pack 50W LED Flood Light

Onforu 50W LED Flood Light
$45.99 $39.99 ($20.00 / Count)
  • 56 ultra-bright LEDs, produces up to 5000 lm high brightness light.
  • Come with a plug, the 110v-120v led light can also be mounted on a tripod as a work light.
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor, can be used for camping, gardens, playgrounds, docks, stadiums, etc.
  • A wide and thick adjustable metal bracket makes the light more stable.
Amazon
01/31/2023 11:34 am GMT

The Ondoru flood light is well-suited to large campsites. The two-pack includes adjustable mounting brackets but can also combine with a tripod. Each light includes an ultra-bright 56 LED, producing up to 5000 lumens. 

We’re fond of these lights for cabin campsites. They illuminate the outdoor area and work well as a security feature. 

Pros: Easy to install. Waterproof. Heat sink fins don’t let the lights overheat. 

Cons: Extremely bright lights with a long-range. Not suited for small campsites. Requires an outlet. 

Height: 6.3” (16 cm)

Installation: Bracket or tripod

Type: LED

Light time: 50,000-hour bulb lifespan

Flame Options

For the old-school camper, the light of choice is sometimes fire. Apart from your campfire, safely contained propane lanterns makes a great light source. Take a look at a couple of our preferred flame lit camping light ideas.  

Coleman Gas Lantern

Coleman Gas Lantern
$44.99 $36.17
  • Up to 1000 lumens casts light up to 23 meters
  • Up to 7.5 hours (high) on one 16.4 oz. propane cylinder (sold separately); lights with matches
  • Porcelain-coated 2-tier ventilator helps resist corrosion and rust
  • Features high-temperature tolerance to prevent cracking from heat
Buy on Amazon
01/31/2023 11:39 am GMT

Coleman is a classic camping gear brand, and this gas lantern won’t disappoint. The lantern casts light up to 75 feet and burns at 1000 lumens. For a gas-powered lantern, this is a bright light. The body is rust-resistant and includes a collapsible footed base. 

The Coleman lantern is another flame light requiring a propane tank. The tank sells separately. We like the Coleman because of its Perfectflow system, delivering even and consistent fuel throughout use. 

Pros: High tempered globe keeps flame protected. Control knob to control brightness. 

Cons: This lantern lights with matches, rather than a push start like other Coleman lights. 

Height: 11.3” (28.70 cm)

Installation: Hanging or standing

Type: Flame

Light time: 7.5 hours on a 0.48 L tank

Lixada Portable Camping Gas Lantern

Lixada Portable Camping Gas Lantern
$22.99
  • Durable stainless steel construction.
  • Piezoelectric ignition system for quick and easy lighting.
  • Adjustable valve controls gas flow and brightness.
  • With a ring for easy attachment to the tent hook.
  • Comes in a storage box for easy carrying.
Buy on Amazon
01/31/2023 12:10 pm GMT

The Lizada gas lantern is a small butane lamp. The light works with a ceramic piezoelectric ignition system for easy lighting on the go. This is one of our favorites for long hikes or bike trips, where you don’t want to carry a lot in your pack.

We’re big fans of the adjustable gas valve. The valve lets you turn your brightness up or down as needed. We don’t recommend this as a campsite lighting idea for families with small children. 

Pros: Comes with a plastic travel case. Includes gas tank adapter.

Cons: Doesn’t include a gas tank. Not for use in enclosed environments.

Height: 9.4” (23.87 cm) without gas canister

Installation: Hanging or standing

Type: Flame

Light time: 6+ hours on a 1L tank

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are another amazing option for providing a little camping light. If you’re just looking for a way to ease your toddler’s bed time routine or to have a dance party to get the wiggles out, glow sticks are the way to go.

PartySticks Glow Sticks 100pk

Critter Owned!
8″ Glow Sticks 100pk
$19.99 $8.49
Learn More
01/31/2023 07:56 pm GMT

Glow sticks are simple fun that kids (and adults) can easily enjoy while camping. Use them to highlight tripping hazards in your site or just for a pop of color while playing night games before bed.

They float for fun times in a lake or pool, and can be made into necklaces or bracelets to keep an easier eye on your kids after dark. Glow sticks make an awesome reward for good helpers or as a night light in your tent.

Pros: Non-toxic, approved for ages 3+.

Cons: Dim light, will not light a large area. 

Length: 8” (20.3 cm)

Installation: Holding or bracelet

Type: Glow Sticks

Light time: 10-12 hours

Campsite Light Ideas FAQ

Batteries, flame lights, and everything in between offer plenty of campsite lighting ideas. Hopefully, you find a few you like among our favorites. 

Here’s to plenty of bright nights and happy campers!

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