When you’re headed out to the wilderness, having a good light on-hand can be quite useful. There are hundreds of models to choose from, but most of them aren’t worth the investment. Fortunately, you’re in the right place to learn about the top 8 lights for your camping adventures down the road.
The best light for camping should be lightweight, portable, powerful, and energy-efficient. You can choose either solar or battery-powered lights, both of which make the most of their energy sources. Hang them on your tent, leave them on a bench, or carry them in a backpack.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following information about the best light for camping:
Different styles and power sources
The best options on the market currently
Helpful tips and suggestions to choose the right light for camping
Tactical flashlights took the market by storm, providing high lumens without a bulky shell. The B.A.M.F.F. Dual LED Tac Flashlight is an excellent example of such impressive technology. There are plenty of models to choose from, ranging from 200 lumens all the way up to a whopping 1,000 lumens.
The aircraft aluminum outer shell of these lights is designed to withstand drops. You won’t notice any rust or cracks from shock damage. They’re as tough as it gets, despite the fact that they’re about half of the size of a normal flashlight. You can store it in your backpack, pocket, purse, or tent whenever you need it.
Each light comes with a clip to hang it on your belt, pocket, and so on. You can also choose the B.A.M.F.F.10.0 which comes with a gun mount that attaches to a gun picatinny rail. The dual LED design is what makes this flashlight stand over the competition. Using the best SMD LEDs on the market, both LEDs are extremely powerful and efficient.
The wide “flood” beam can target a very broad area within close range, while it also has a narrow beam for long-range viewing. Don’t worry about changing the batteries too often since LED bulbs are energy-efficient. These flashlights also have alkaline or lithium-ion rechargeable battery options. The 6.0, 8.0, and 10.0 will actually operate on either battery giving the user a lot of options to power their flashlight, even when recharging is not available.
Dual LED light output for optimal viewing
Ultra-lightweight, durable, and compact design from end to end
Designed with multiple lumen sizes for a customized experience
Multiple battery options including the capability to use alkaline or rechargeable
It’s not always convenient to carry a light around with you, which is why a dome light is such a worthwhile expense. The Illumidome Mini Waterproof Lantern is the top choice on the market for multiple reasons, including the fact that it’s much smaller than most others. However, it can brighten up a whole tent, camper, or vehicle.
There’s an adjustable strap on top of the lantern that allows you to mount it wherever you see fit. You can also hang it upside down via its embedded split hook design. Either way, the dome shape is specifically made to increase the reach of the light source. Take off the top reflector to change the light range from a traditional lantern light output to a full-dome light. This option is great when hung in a camping tent.
What makes this lantern so special compared to most other camping lights is that it can be used in the water. It’s made to float around on a lake, pool, or river. Take it on your next fishing trip and never worry about accidental drops into the lake or river. There’s a waterproof seal around the edge that protects the lantern as the reflectors illuminate the area. Four light modes and over 220 lumens keep everything within your vision at all times.
Includes two different lighting options (traditional lantern and full-dome) and four modes
Waterproof design that floats and can be used virtually anywhere on land or water
Comes with an adjustable strap for easy top mounting and built-in hooks on the underside
Are you looking for a versatile camping lamp to bring with you on all of your travels? The FLEXIT Solar Light is exactly what you’ve been searching for. It’s made to point in any direction with a flexible square-shaped construction for maximum illumination. The adjustable neck gives you full control of its direction, and the fully flexible panel lets you control how the light is projected. You can focus all the LEDs in one direction, or fan it out in an array to light an entire campsite.
The hook on the back of the FLEXIT light allows you to hang it from a variety of surfaces. Hook it on the side of your tent, hang it from a tree, or attach it to your backpack on an early morning hike. It even features neodymium magnets on the rubberized base. Magnetically stick it to your camping stove, or to any steel surface on your camper or RV for perfect hands-free lighting. It has over 500 lumens, making it one of the strongest solar-powered flexible lamps in the industry.
The LED panel features flood LEDs that will illuminate a very large area as well as a CREE LED spotlight in the center of the panel. This spotlight will cut further into the darkness and highlight your focal point. When it is time to charge, just leave it out in the sunshine during the day and it will be ready for the next night. If there’s not enough sun to power the solar panels, you can quick charge it with via micro USB.
Comes with multiple charging methods including solar and USB
Puts out a massive 500 lumens
Spot and flood lighting
The flexible neck and LED panel allows you to point it in any direction
Built-in hook and magnets for easy, instant mounting
If you like the previous lamp, then you’ll love the different varieties that you can check out. The FLEXIT Flexible Flashlight comes in plenty of other styles. You can get the roadside assistance lamp for a low-cost, high-reward safety measure. It’s bright orange, fitting the emergency roadside signals for most companies.
There are many lumen sizes that you can look through, including 200, 400, and 500 lumens. The premium models also feature a spotlight in the middle of the flexible panel. This gives the user options to either flood the area with light, or light a focal point off in the distance.
Nothing beats the hands-free flexibility of these flashlights. You can wrap these lights around any surface. In some cases, there’s no need for mounting hooks or clips when the flashlight can wrap around anything in the area! However, the FLEXiT doesn’t limit the user to just wrapping the light around things. In fact, the flexibility of the LED panel is best for aiming the light exactly where it is needed. These camping lights have a magnetic base. You can attach it to any metal surface on your camper or RV and it will hang in place. With the ability to use hooks, flexibility, and magnets, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to use these lights wherever you go camping.
In fact, if you want true hands-free lighting, opt for one of STKR’s FLEXIT headlamps. They are extremely low profile, and possibly the most comfortable headlamps on the market.
Comes with a plethora of models to choose from
Perfect for emergency roadside assistance, camping, and more
Choose from different lumens, LEDs, and mounting methods
If you want true hands-free lighting, opt for one of STKR’s FLEXIT headlamps. They are extremely low profile, and possibly the most comfortable headlamps on the market.
The FLEXIT Headlamp 2.5 is already on the market, but STKR is about to release their new FLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5! Both feature “Halo” style 180° or 240° flood lighting as well as an independently controlled spotlight. However, the new PRO 6.5 uses C.O.B. LED technology to push the flood lighting to a new level. The STKR FLEXIT Headlamps have design features never seen before on headlamps making these two headlight options rule the roost of hands-free lighting.
Comes with a plethora of models to choose from
Perfect for emergency roadside assistance, camping, and more
Choose from different lumens, LEDs, and mounting methods
Are you trying to find the most powerful light to brighten up the campsite? The Mobile Task Light boasts 1,200 lumens; enough to keep your whole site illuminated throughout the night. Brightness is key to safety when you’re camping out in the woods or on a lonely trail. You’ll be able to see animals and your valuables from far away without an issue.
The strong construction of this floodlight allows you to turn it in any direction you want without breaking it. It’s made out of heavy-duty, lightweight materials to keep it intact and good to go for many years to come. The hinges can be rotated up to 180 degrees as well, so you will be able to set up the perfect lighting in your campsite.
The feature that takes this camping light to the next level is that you can adjust the light output style from full flood to focused flood with its variable LED lens. Slide the lens up for full campsite lighting, or slide it down for a more narrowed and focused flood light. The powerful C.O.B. style LED will brighten up an entire, campsite, campervan, or RV without a problem. The light projected from this specialty LED helps reduce harsh shadows from the area. It lights a campsite more like a lightbulb lights an entire room, so you’ll have no trouble navigating around the area.
One of the most powerful camping lights in the world
Aluminum LED head designed for low heat and 180 degrees of rotation
Dual Lithium-ion batteries
Rechargeable via USB and now USB-C for faster recharging
Four power modes to save energy or increase the brightness, including a rapid hazard mode for safety
Fumbling around for a flashlight in the middle of the night is frustrating. It’s almost as bad as trying to hold the light while doing a job that requires both hands. Both of those common problems are solved by the Magnetic Light Mine. These convenient little lights have magnets along all of its edges to hang anywhere that’s metal making them a great hands-free option.
Whether you’re using it in your garage, under an automobile, or while camping, these little lights always come in handy. RVs and campers are known for having roadside troubles, so why not keep one of these light mines on-hand for your next flat tire? You’ll be thankful that you did! They’re quite affordable, and can often be found in five packs. Keep one or two in your camping gear, in your RV or camper, and even in your vehicle.
The long-lasting batteries are included with each mine light. Turn it on and off with a simple sliding switch on the back of the mine. They run for up to10 hours on end, which is more than enough for vehicle repairs and quick midnight trips to the bathroom.
Comes with 12 rare earth magnets for easy mounting
Lasts up to 10 hours
Ideal for vehicle repairs and camping scenarios
Unique gift for Father's Day, Christmas, or any occasion!
If you liked the previous mine light, then you can take it a step further by using the Light Mine Professional. It comes with four different light modes that you can change whenever you want to minimize or maximize the brightness, red night vision, or flashing hazard mode. Use it for late-night illumination or dark spaces around your campsite.
Much like the previous mine light, this one comes with multiple magnets that cover the entire surface of the unit. It brightens up in every direction, allowing you to see everything around the light. There are 250 lumens per light, which is quite comparable to the other lights at the top of the list. However, this one isn’t single-directional.
Another great feature of this mine light is that it has a built-in emergency signal. When you turn it on, it blinks red, alerting nearby emergency services that you need assistance. Equipped with 3 “AAA” batteries, it has plenty of power right out of the box, and changing the batteries is easy.. It also includes a one-year limited warranty.
Comes with multiple magnets to mount it anywhere
250 lumens, red “night vision”, and an emergency red blinking light
Uses four different light modes for energy conservation
Perfect for camping, road trips, car troubles, and more
Unique gift for Father's Day, Christmas, or any occasion!
What to Look For
Although you’ve seen the best lights for camping, you probably still have a few questions. There are plenty of styles to check out, so it can be difficult to figure out which one works for your situation. The good news is that this section will clear everything up and direct you to choose the light that you’ll love.
Here’s a list of features to keep an eye out for:
Decide if you want battery or solar-powered lights. We’ll dive into the pros and cons later in this post, but it’s important to remember that there are many differences between the two options. Some of the solar-powered lights on this list can also be charged by USB cables, though.
Think about the differences between handheld and mounted lights. While many of them can be used in both ways, you should think about whether you prefer to hold a flashlight or mount a dome light for better illumination. Dome lights provide a wider area of brightness, but they’re not as targeted as flashlights.
Don’t forget to check the lumens. Knowing how bright a light is will help you determine if it’s right for you. For example, there’s a 200-lumen bulb above, but the task light blasts a powerful 1,200-lumen bulb in a single direction. For camping purposes, 200 lumens should be the bare minimum. Keep in mind, cheap flashlight factories boast unreal lumen performance for a low cost. Most are unethical about their performance reports. Just remember, you typically get what you pay for. Invest in quality over false advertising.
Consider whether or not you’ll need weather-proofing. Fortunately, most of the lights above have some sort of weather-resistant shell or coating. You don’t have to worry about moisture ruining the internal components. This layer is necessary if you plan to camp near water or during rainy days.
Finally, think about the size of the light. Some of them are rather large, while others (such as the tactical light at the top of the list) are designed to fit in your pocket. Compact lights aren’t always the best, but they’re an excellent choice for those who are always on the move.
As you can see, there’s a lot to look out for when you’re getting a new camping light. However, it shouldn’t be a stressful process. Whichever one seems to fit your situation will do just fine.
If you want to learn exactly how to choose the right light for camping, read on.
How to Choose the Right Light
Now that you’ve seen what you need to consider before getting your light, you’re ready to choose the right one. Thanks to the low-end prices and high-quality reliability, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on the list.
Let’s review a five-step process to choose a light:
Start by determining what you’re trying to illuminate. Are you camping in a tent, car, RV, or under the stars? Once you know how big of an area you need, you can focus on choosing the proper amount of lumens. The task light will brighten up an entire campsite, whereas the mine lights will be enough for small tents.
Figure out if you’ll be using the light on your hiking adventures. When you’re moving around, you’ll need a portable light. Unfortunately, they’re not all ideal. For example, the aforementioned task light can be a bit too bulky, and the mine light won’t stay in place. However, there are hanging lights and tac lights to choose from.
How often will you use the light? The run time is very important. Some of the lights on the list can run well over 100 hours, whereas others are made for short bursts of intense light but for only a short amount of time. Once you replace the batteries, you’ll be good to go. That being said, you probably don’t want to keep buying new batteries left and right.
Determine what you’ll use it for. Will it be an all-purpose light that you use in your garage, house, camping, and more? If so, then you should consider one of the FLEXiT lights. They are the most versatile choice around and boast irreplaceable convenience features.
Get a light from a reputable brand to avoid failure. All of the lights featured in this article come with a warranty, so you’ll have much-needed peace of mind. You’ll be able to get the most out of your light without worrying about breaking it. These lights are as tough and reliable as they come, and the company will stand behind them giving you the best customer service one could expect.
Picking a camping light isn’t something that should take too long. It’s fun, and you’ll be able to keep yourself safe every time you head out of your tent or vehicle. If you’re not sure how to properly use different types of camping lights, continue to the next section.
How to Use Camping Lights
Depending on what type of light you go with, you’ll have to make sure that you’re using it properly. Contrary to popular belief, not all lights are used the same. Improper usage could result in a shortened lifespan for the light, but it can also reduce the effectiveness. Both issues are easily avoidable, so let’s explore the methods below.
Using Dome Lights
Dome lights are growing in popularity for campers because they’re easy to set and forget. You can hang it in the center of your tent for a completely illuminated area or leave it outside to brighten up your campsite. Dome lights have the added benefit of keeping your hands free to work on other tasks and fill a greater area without the shadows of their own body or reflector. TheIllumidome mentioned above offers both lighting styles, making it the best mini lantern option.
Proper Flashlight Tips
Instead of using a flashlight right out of the box, consider learning about its features. For example, many tac flashlights are made with a zooming option that widens or narrows the area of illumination. The best option is a light with two different LEDs that give the benefits of both far and wide lighting at the same time. Also, if it has a clip, you can hang it on your clothes or a tent. Learn the modes, and how they are activated. Modern flashlights have more than just a power switch. Often half taps or long presses of the power button can activate the flashlight differently. When you’re pointing a flashlight towards a person or animal, shine it near their feet to prevent eye damage.
Magnetic Mine Light Usage
Mine lights aren’t very common, but there’s no denying how useful they can be. If you read about the two light mines on the list, then you’ll probably understand why they’re so ideal for camping. Attach the light to the side of your camper, on your tent’s poles or stakes, on a metal clip attached to your pack, or on a nearby metal post just to name a few ideas.
Setting Up a Task Light
Task lights are some of the strongest lights in the industry. They put out a high amount of lumens to brighten up a wide area. The only downside is that they’re usually a bit bulky, which makes them hard to use on hiking trips. All you have to do to use a task light is set it up on the far corner of your campsite, facing diagonally to the opposite end for the widest area of illumination.
Mounting a Flexible Light
Much like magnetic mine lights, flexible lights aren’t the most popular option quite yet. However, they’re incredibly convenient in the sense that you can stick them just about anywhere. Whether you’re using magnets, built-in hooks, or flexible material, you can bend a flexible light in any direction.
Should You Get Solar or Battery-Powered Camping Lights?
As mentioned earlier, you can choose either a solar-powered light or a battery-operated light. There are countless differences between the two, but they both get the job done when you’re camping.
Without further ado, here are the advantages and disadvantages of solar and battery-powered lights:
Pros of Solar Flashlights
You never have to worry about replacing the batteries with solar light. As long as the sun is shining, you’ll have an infinite source of power to keep your light going throughout the day. This fact can save you quite a bit of money, considering the ever-growing costs of batteries.
Cleaning a solar panel is easy. By using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush, you can scrub it down in a matter of seconds. Add a drop of dish soap to a cup of warm water, stir, it around and dip the brush into the solution until the panels are cleaned. Removing debris from solar panels is a great way to enhance their efficiency.
Solar panels are much cheaper than they used to be. You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for high-end panels as you might’ve just a few years ago. As the materials to create solar panels go down in cost, so does the manufacturer and eventual selling price tag.
Cons of Solar Lights
When there’s no sun for several days, solar panel lights start to dim quite a bit. Depending on the storage capacity, some of them won’t even work for a few hours without sunlight. However, this depends on the battery bank inside of the solar light. High-end solar lights can absorb energy through dense cloud coverage.
If you don’t clean the panels on your solar lights, they can eventually become rather ineffective. Furthermore, scratches and cracks can permanently reduce the quality of the light, as well as how much power is absorbed from the sun by the panels. You’ll have to get a brand-new light since the panels are often irreparable.
Solar charging is slow
Pros of Battery Lights
You don’t need the sunlight to keep your flashlights powered when you’re camping with a battery-powered light. As long as you have a few spare batteries with you, you’ll be set for hundreds of hours. With efficient bulbs, you can get over 100 hours out of a battery before it’s time to get a new set.
Typically speaking, battery lights provide higher lumens than solar lights because they have more energy storage. Furthermore, they don’t fade away as they lose power, as you might notice in a solar-powered light. In the middle of the night, this difference can be a huge deciding factor.
All of the battery-powered lights on the list come with the batteries included. Rather than having to charge it out in the sun when you get the package, you can use these lights right out of the box. It might not be a huge difference unless you’re unboxing the light when you arrive at the campsite.
Cons of Battery Lights
Batteries are very expensive, and there’s no sign of the prices going down any time soon. In fact, the price is constantly increasing, which can make battery-powered lights a long-term investment. However, energy-efficiency can reduce the need to purchase batteries as often.
If you leave old batteries in your light for too long, they can start to secrete battery acid. This substance is dangerous to your health and the longevity of the light. It can corrode the connection terminals, ruining the light completely. By replacing old batteries before they start to swell, you’ll be able to prevent such an issue from occurring.
Camping lights are easy to find, but choosing the right type can be a bit tricky. With so many cheap models on the market, it might be tempting to cut corners and save money. However, you’ll end up replacing the light so many times that you could’ve just gotten a nice light for a little bit more money.
Here’s a quick recap of the post:
You can get dome lights, flashlights, light mines, task lights, or flexible lights for camping.
Make sure that you choose between solar or battery-powered lights to fit your needs.
Always review the lumens of a flashlight before you make the purchase.
Consider the width of a flashlight for camping when you’re getting it.
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