The Best Camping Lights & Lanterns (Our 5 Favorites)

the-best-camping-lights-&-lanterns-(our-5-favorites)

Here’s a nice variety of camping lights from colorful strip lights to Edison string lights and lanterns to headlamps…

I saw an owl swoop down the other night, hunting its prey with precision that only a creature with its superb night vision can achieve. And there I was, fumbling in the dark despite the glow of a nearby campfire. 

As much as humans enjoy nighttime, we’re pretty useless without a reliable source of light. So, whether you want to light up your campsite or walk through the campground, I have some great lighting options for you.

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Our Favorite Camping Lights

camping lights
Sometimes you need the light.

Sometimes the best thing to do at night is turn off all the lights and gaze up at the billions of stars in the sky. But other times, you just need to see where you’re going or what you’re doing! For those other times, Jennifer and I recommend the following outdoor camping lights.

Oh, and by the way, these lights are all in our “essential outdoor Amazon shopping list” if you want to check out some other great outdoor gear, too.

1. RecPro White Awning Light

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Even though the rest of this list isn’t in any particular order, I put this RecPro light at the top because it’s specifically designed for RV use. This 16’ LED light is easy to install along your awning mount. It can be trimmed, too, to match your awning’s length.

Best of all, it’s a permanent installation so you don’t have to put it up and take it down every trip. Plus, it wires directly into your RV, so you don’t have to mess with plugs and can turn it on with a flip of a switch.

This kit is 12v DC only and does not include a 110v or 12v DC power supply.

2. Brightech Solar Powered Edison String Lights

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These commercial-grade weatherproof patio lights are shatterproof, so they travel well. The Edison bulbs create a nice ambiance while providing plenty of soft light for your outdoor area. 

What I like best about these camping lights is they’re solar powered. You don’t need an outlet or batteries and can place the solar panel almost anywhere with the included stake and clip. They last 5-6 hours on a full charge.

Some might think these are too bright for every night or prolonged camp use, but they’re certainly nice for group dinners or outdoor game nights.


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3. Odoland Camping Lantern with Fan

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This camping light is a great multi-purpose option because it’s also a fan! You can clip it to your awning and direct it any which way you want. It’s lightweight, so you can also use it as a lantern while walking around the campground. 

The downside of this option is that it’s battery-operated. But, with over 30,000 reviews and 4.5 stars, people don’t seem to think that’s much of a downside.

The 2D batteries can light up to 37 hours. They can also keep the fan working for 5-15 hours, depending on what speed mode you use. The batteries are not included.

4. Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern Set

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If one Odoland camping lantern isn’t enough for you, then maybe this Vont 4-pack lantern set it. You might think, Where am I going to store 4 lanterns?! But these babies are collapsible and very durable. 

You can even reduce or increase the light as you collapse or expand the lantern, letting you control how much light it emits. They can survive a 10-foot drop and even be temporarily submerged underwater. 

Like the Odoland, these are battery operated, but that hasn’t stopped them from getting over 45,000 reviews and 5 stars on Amazon. These also come with the first batch of batteries to use, so that’s nice.

5. Foxelli LED Headlamp

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If you follow the 330 rule like Jennifer and I do, then you’ll have your campsite set up well before dark. But, for those times that don’t go as planned and you arrive late, this headlamp makes night setup so much easier!

It’s also great for just walking around at night instead of carrying a flashlight or lantern around. This headlamp is only 3.2 ounces and is easily adjustable for a comfortable fit. You can tilt the light, too, so you don’t have to look down while walking.

If your dog RVs with you, you might want this headlamp just for your nightly walks! In fact, I should probably add this to our shopping list of the Best Pet Accessories for Camping with Your Dog.

Bonus: HYH American Flag Lights

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Okay, so these aren’t for everyday (or should I say every night) use, but they’re perfect for RVers’ favorite holiday: Independence Day! So, if you’re looking to brighten up your next 4th of July trip, these patriotic lights are for you. 

And don’t forget about Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or any other day you’re feeling particularly proud to be an American!

It’s quite big at about 3’ x 6.5’ and comes with a clear plastic frame.

A Note on Light Pollution

Camping Lights
Remember the stars.

I think it’s only right to end this article with a friendly reminder to always be mindful of light pollution while camping. After all, many of us are trying to get away from big city lights and buildings to see the open sky. 

So, when using any lights while RVing, always be considerate of your neighbors. Make sure none of your lights are pointing at any of their windows or tents or encroaching on their campsite. 

I also recommend at some point in your travels to visit Dark Sky Locations. These locations are free from light pollution, either because they’re remote or because of local regulations minimizing it. 

Sometimes you forget how many stars are in the sky until you look up to a sky that’s free of light pollution. It makes you feel so big and so small at the same time. A feeling every RVer should experience.

Have you planned trips around stargazing? Please share your experience and where you went in the comments below.


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