Camp lighting is an essential requirement to any camping setup, it allows you to make the most of that special time away and provides access to many new experiences and adventures when the sun goes down. Whether you are having a few nights away with the family on a camping holiday, grabbing some mates and the kayaks for a fishing adventure or even if you are simply looking for a torch or lantern to put in the safety kit, our BCF’ing experts can shed some light on how to select the best lighting options for your campsite. We will discuss what you need to think about when buying camp lighting, the different types of camp lights, how to power camping lights, and much more, plus some handy tips and tricks to ensure your camping experience is a cracker.
What to think about when buying camp lighting?
There are so many things to consider when buying a new camping light. Each campsite is set up differently and each individual person may have their own personal requirements. The questions below will assist you in selecting the correct light and help to identify your needs.
What will the light be used for?
Camping lights can be used for an array of applications, they can provide light to a tents internal area, illuminate larger outside spaces such as seating and living areas or allow portable light, such as headlamps or torches for personal use to light walking trails and footpaths, fish at the local beach or read a book under the night sky
Where will the light be used?
Will your light have a fixed position in the campsite where it is permanently located, or will it be portable, to allow function no matter where you travel?
We advise having at least one of each of these lighting options so you cover all bases.
How much light do you require?
The size of the area you wish to illuminate will determine how much light is needed and the strength of the light required. Lights are rated in lumens and vary with smaller lanterns emitting 40 lumens to the brightest of spotlights with a maximum output of over 1000 lumens.
How long do you need the light to last?
It’s a good idea to take into consideration how often your light will be used, whether you’re a regular camper searching for a dependable light that will give you many years of use or you’re heading to a music festival and only require a few nights service. Camp lights are durable and can handle quite a bit of punishment (some are even waterproof) but to get the best out of your light we recommend it be used frequently to keep in the best working order (ensure batteries are removed when being stored for longer periods).
How much would you like to spend on a camping light?
Camp lights differ in price depending on the make, model, brightness and materials used, but it’s important that you take into consideration the quality versus cost of the unit. As with most factors in life, you get what you pay for and although cheaper lights are quite capable, they tend to not provide the same longevity as the more expensive units. It’s definitely worth spending a little more if you are wanting a light that will see you through many camping adventures for years to come.
What are the different types of camp light?
What a wonderful experience it is to grab the family, pack the tent and spend a few days away from the stresses of everyday life. Camping under the stars is a pastime we highly recommend, but when the sun hits the horizon it can become difficult to find your bearings without the use of a camping light. While it is possible to get away with a simple and cost-effective hand torch for use in the emergency kit or around the house, you may need something more substantial and specific when you’re going on a camping adventure. Below, we have listed the different types of camping light, their features and the benefits of each style.
Perfect for camping and outdoor living areas, lanterns make a versatile lighting option that can be used anywhere around the campsite. All lanterns come standard with a strong handle for easy hanging options, while the 360 degree coverage makes it ideal for use under gazebos, in smaller tents or hung from trees at the local park.
Headlamps are a lightweight and convenient solution for when you require hands-free lighting. With practically limitless applications, the headlamp is perfect for night fishing, making the process of tying knots and baiting hooks in the dark much easier, cooking dinner after a long hike, or simply lighting the way to the amenities block at the campground. Available in a range of beam distances, the headlamp is one item you shouldn’t leave home without.
The humble torch is one product that needs no introduction, as each family has surely owned at least one over the years. They come in handy for such a wide variety of situations because of their lightweight design, compact size and powerful output. They make for a very handy lighting solution whether it be to light up the darkest of nights as you hike the national park, take out in the boat for your next fishing adventure or a convenient add-on to the first aid kit.
LED strip lights are the ultimate in customisable lighting solutions. They are remarkably thin and ultra-flexible meaning they can practically fit anywhere. Attach them to tent awnings or gazebo frames, use them in the boat to illuminate deck space or hang them from a tree to add mood lighting to your next family gathering. Strip lights have an efficient power draw, long-life expectancy and come in a range of lengths with the option to be bought by the metre.
Projecting a bright beam of light that covers incredible distances of up to 450 metres, the “spotty” plays an imperative role in hunting and fishing activities. Spotlights come standard with a comfortable rubber handle and durable battery housing that allows them to withstand constant harsh treatment and ensures they last for many years to come.
Gas lights provide a warm glow that is comfortable to sit around and very bright, they are also extremely simple to use attaching to any 3/8 LH gas cylinder straight from the box. If you prefer to carry larger gas cylinders you will need to purchase an additional POL adaptor. Constructed from stainless steel and brass they are the perfect addition to your next camping adventure. Be warned, Gaslights become hot after extended use and should only be used outside.
Other things to consider
These are just some of the other things worth a bit of thought when purchasing a new camp light. You should strongly consider each topic below and make your final selection based on what will work best for you. If we had to pick, choosing the correct battery type and amount of lumens should be high on the list of priorities, as they can make a huge difference when it finally comes time to go camping.
Amount of lumens
A lumen is a measurement of the amount of visible light from a source to the human eye. Available in a diverse range, the higher lumen rating the brighter the light will appear, while a lower lumen rating, although not as bright, can be more cost-effective and still provide sufficient light for many tasks around the campground and house
Every camping light will differ in its beam distance, although being extremely important it really depends on what the light will be used for that determines whether a longer or shorter beam will meet your requirements. Narrow beams cast greater distances while a wider beam will allow you to see more in close proximity. While negotiating hiking trails on the darkest of nights or hunting through the bush in search of targets it is beneficial to use a light that casts a longer distance, however, for use around the campground or for reading in bed a shorter beam will easily do the job.
From your standard AAA’s, rechargeable, 12 volts, lithium ion, or solar, the range of batteries available is quite extensive and choosing the correct battery type can dramatically change your experience next time you go camping. Consider how long you intend to be away from a charging source, if you prefer to head off the beaten track stocking up on rechargeable batteries or investing in a solar unit would be the best choice. However, if you’re staying somewhere that includes a charging source such as a powered campsite, it allows more variety and with the added purchase of an inverter or double adaptor will be able to power almost every form of battery.
Maximum runtimes greatly differ from light to light. Being aware of how long you are capable of getting out of a battery supply is vital to ensure you are not left in the dark. Most lights come with a variety of power modes which can help to dramatically extend the maximum runtime. Using fewer lumens it may not be as bright but will extend the duration of use and allow hours of fun.
LED vs Fluorescent lights
These are the two main types of lighting you will find available at your local BCF store, both quite capable of emitting an impressive amount of light and ensuring your night time camping adventures are safe and well prepared. Below we compare the two and take a look at a few of the differences that may help you in selecting your next camp lighting.
In terms of energy consumption both LED’s and fluoro’s are a good alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs. LED is the better option, roughly working 90% more efficiently and drawing half the wattage of fluorescent lights, while fluoro’s are still 70% better when compared to the incandescent lights.
Both forms of lighting have a specific purpose in which they thrive. Fluorescent lights are the best for illuminating full rooms and larger spaces but are known to take a while to reach full brightness, while LED’s are the perfect choice for more direct uses such as torches and headlamps where the beam is focused on a specific area.
LED lights are renowned for their exceptionally long lifespan’s and can easily last 60,000 hours before needing to be replaced. In comparison your standard fluorescent light will last 10,000 hours meaning you would need to change the bulb 6 times on a fluorescent light in the same duration you will get out of one LED.