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.
This lantern makes a super great gift for the campers in your life as well!
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:
The power source is important because not all camp lights are wireless. Camp light power sources include:
- Solar power
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 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-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
- 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
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)
Light time: 10-15 hours
Innofox LED Camping Lantern
- 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.
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)
Light time: 72-hours
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.
- 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.
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
Light time: 35 hours on low.
Fxexblin Camping Fan for Tent
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)
Light time: 6-25 hours depending on power level
Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Camping Lantern
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 and safety features 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
Light time: 320 with one side lit on low, 2.5 with both sides lit on high.
KLYMIT Everglow Light Tube
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)
Light time: Depends on the USB power pack
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
Light time: 4 hours on high or 50 hours on low
TomCare Solar Lights
- 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.
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
Light time: 12 hours
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
Light time: 9-13 hours
- 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.
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 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
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
Light time: 50,000 hour bulb lifespan
Onforu 2 Pack 50W LED Flood Light
- 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.
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
Light time: 50,000-hour bulb lifespan
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
- 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
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
Light time: 7.5 hours on a 0.48 L tank
Lixada Portable Camping Gas Lantern
- 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.
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
Light time: 6+ hours on a 1L tank
In Tent Night Lights
Wishimals Lil Wish Lanterns
We got this cool lantern to try and it comes with a super cute story about making wishes. It comes with 2 Wishimals and a small lantern.
The lantern is quite dim, but in a pitch black tent it should provide enough light to help your little ones sleep better without waking up everyone in the tent.
Each Wishimal comes with a card and you can scan it to play through levels in the app, which would be perfect if you’re stuck in the tent on a rainy or cold day.
The other awesome thing about this lantern is that it doesn’t make noise! Your child can light it up in the middle of the night if they’re nervous about being in the tent and it’s completely quiet.
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.
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!
I’m Molly Foss, aka Momma Critter. I’ve been camping since I was 9 years old and I always wanted to be Robin Hood and live in the forest when I grew up. I’m excited to share my love of camping with my son as he grows up. My favorite thing to do while camping is roast marshmallows over the fire.