Lighting up Camp

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Overland USA

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Rolling Meadows, IL
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We've made several adventures this year, and often pull into camp after dark. What's your strategy for lighting up camp, especially for setting up or tearing down?
Personally I prefer set up during last light and break camp at first light. We don't even own head lamps just flash lights for emergency's.
 

tsteb112

Rank IV

Pathfinder I

1,212
Greenville
I have led lights as fog lights and on a switch flush mounted to the rear bumper. Plenty of light with little draw.




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Cort

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Grand Rapids
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Totally depends on the campsite and my neighbors. Light pollution while camping is a thing.

Sometimes I use my 25 year old Coleman’s duel fuel lantern, other times my goal zero light a life set up with up to 4 lamps. If it’s the summer it’s pretty bright late at night so it’s just an led headlamp.
 

whistlepunk

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Bend, Oregon, USA
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Headlamps are the primary light source for tasks. We also have a few Black Diamond Moji lanterns that we place around camp and in tents as locating lights. We also have a couple of battery powered LED light strings that we may or may not use depending on the campsite and conditions
 

Talisker

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The Lake District, UK
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Similar to most, we use a combination of head-torches, Coleman Dual-Fuel lantern, mini gas lantern and a couple of rechargeable led workshop lamps with mag mounts.

Planning to fit an LED strip to the awning (anyone done this, is it worthwhile?) and some LED floods of the roof rack.

Have to say though, the classic Petromax lantern is on my wish list, purely on looks...



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W4P

Rank IV

Advocate II

816
Sudbury
. Light up your night!cheap,trimmable, waterproof. The 5800 k is white super bright! Installed friends RV awning!!!wow!!!!!many models including rgb for disco overlanding!!!!

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OkieGobi

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Lawton, Oklahoma, USA
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For setting up camp or cooking in the dark, I like a good old Coleman lantern. Beyond that, I prefer as little light pollution as possible, especially if there are neighbors. I also like to use headlamps for last minute tasks in the evening, getting the tent interior set up, and late night runs to empty the bladder.
 
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TerryD

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. Light up your night!cheap,trimmable, waterproof. The 5800 k is white super bright! Installed friends RV awning!!!wow!!!!!many models including rgb for disco overlanding!!!!

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I was considering putting these on the sides of my rack for light at camp as well as side lighting on the trail.

I was wondering how difficult it is to power the strips you cut? I'm not familiar with the connectors the ad talks about using with them.
 

Road

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Depends on where I'm setting up camp.

If any neighbors within eyesight--I don't mean just organized campgrounds, but dispersed camping or back country when any other camper is in sight--I don't use headlights, backup lights or light bars. It's inconsiderate when someone sets up after dark and uses their headlights or back up lights to set up and doesn't think about their light potentially bothering others. A considerate camper even dims his headlights when pulling in and out of camp whenever it's dark, set up or not.

I use headlamps and task lights a lot. Headlamps are a god send, and once I got used to using one regularly and not using my Streamlight pocket flashlight between my teeth, I wondered why I waited so long to use them. I prefer one that has an adjustable angle so I can tilt it forward or back, depending on need.

My favorite all around camp light, though, for both setting up and general lighting is the Free Spirit Recreation Ready Light (no affiliation) or @gofsr on insta. Seen in the pic below at left.

Bought two initially, then two more once I saw how handy they are and how much I use them around camp. More than once I've taken a Ready Light over to someone trying to set up camp in the dark with only headlights or cell-phone light, or to someone who is trying to do stuff around camp with insufficient light. I've even been brought full meals by grateful campers. Cracks me up how many people are so unprepared for lighting and try to use their cell phone flashlight to play cards, or read, etc.

Cool thing about the Ready Lights is that they are very efficiently solar-powered, though can also be charged via 110 or 12v and come with adapters for each. They come in a well-designed and rugged carrying pack for the tripod/legs with outside zippered pocket for adapters, and separate padded pouch for the head units (seen behind the small solar chargers in the 1st pic below).

Each light has a large main light and four removable pods, all of which have high and low settings. Each main light also has a USB port for charging USB devices. Each pod has a strong magnet and folding hook, which makes the pods extremely handy around camp, short walks to the latrine or wash up area, working on vehicles, etc.

I'm dead serious when saying these are pretty much all I use now around camp. Most other lanterns I have go unused. No fuel needed, no batteries to stock up on or have chargers for. I rarely even use the Rigid task lighting on my trailer anymore in camp, though do like the rock lights on the underside when it's buggy. Keeps the bugs low, not up around food or my face.

They are also super portable, so I bungee them to my awning arms shining up into the canopy, use them in the van stuck to the door frames over the fridge or over my bed, under the hitch or trailer tailgate shining down on my firewood. I use the main lights with the panel folded horizontally, light shining down, for all sorts of camp chores from setting up a tent, to starting a fire after dark, to cooking. I've taken the main head off and used them under my van, too, when needing a general wide light. Just be careful to protect the solar panel on the other side.

All the light in the image at bottom is from two Ready Lights, though set on high and set up more for lighting the photo. Most of the time the main light is almost too bright for general camp use. I typically use just the pods around camp after dinner, placed in strategic spots. Makes for a really nice, soft, ambient light, and easy to turn on/off as needed, like over the fridge.

I've also used the main lights on their tripods to set up a wide perimeter when needed, shining down, and hung the pods in trees and brush for a landscaped lighting effect around a perimeter when camping with a group. Helps keep track of kids and pets.

They're pricey, at around $250 ea, though have proven their worth many times over. I'm thinking of getting two more for workshops and group camping. The staff at FSR has always been super helpful. I wouldn't get these on Amazon, though, where they are priced a hundred dollars more.

You do need to anchor them in heavy winds. They come with stakes for holes in each foot. Only thing I'm not real keen on with these is that the upright is not adjustable. You can adjust the head unit's angle from flat to straight up and swivel it around 360, or take the head unit off the pole if need be, but the pole is not adjustable in height. I've found that every once in awhile I'd like the main light to be lower, like over a table or work surface. I'm used to using heavy-duty lighting stands in studios and know it's possible.

I rarely have to set up in the dark, though often tear down as it's getting dark, or have to suddenly tighten things up in the dark because a storm's coming, and my Ready Lights are the first things I grab.

Not sure you can get them in sand color anymore, though they are typically available in olive drab and black.

roaddude_solar_bigbend17-0968.jpg

FSR-ReadyLight.jpg

roaddude_solar-xv2-2.jpg
 
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Kevin108

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+1 for headlamps and Coleman lanterns. Last trip out, the rain finally chased us away from the fire but we still had plenty to drink and stories to tell. We sheltered under the awning with the Coleman Northstar and continued to enjoy the evening.

 
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W4P

Rank IV

Advocate II

816
Sudbury
The roll of led from riorand, Amazon or similar can be cut at a four dot spot. A connector cane pushed on or better yet to be waterproof solder wires. Easy to do it's 12v. There are remotes,dimmers, color control remotes all from the Taiwan express bus. The backside uses decent quality 3m tape. Still stuck on. Agree with brightness and disturbing the area comment but that's advantage of dimmers and cutting to length. Can be tucked under.very inexpensive experiment. Also you can get less bright soft white.

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W4P

Rank IV

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Sudbury
I was considering putting these on the sides of my rack for light at camp as well as side lighting on the trail.

I was wondering how difficult it is to power the strips you cut? I'm not familiar with the connectors the ad talks about using with them.
When i bought Amazon didn't have connector.its just a pushon custom for strips. Can be bought from riorand website or others but easy to just solder and it's water and vibration proof.

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Horse Soldier

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Pathfinder I

1,798
Louisville Ky
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I use a solar powered led lantern. It is called a Lucy, very bright. I string a a couple up and they last 8 to 12 hrs depending on brightness setting. Just put it on the dash on let it charge up and that night its ready. Walmart, Academy sports store, they cost about 15.00 dollars each. No batteries to change and no charging cord to keep up with.
 

Pick Teej

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Smethport, Pennsylvania
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Looking for ideas on lighting the campsite that aren't going to require 100 batteries or draw too much power from a vehicle. a few lights in a few locations so we aren't relying on cellphones, flashlights, and headlights constantly.
 

chuckoverland

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Spokane, WA
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Revel gear makes awesome lights! $30 for a 30 foot strand of leds, packs super compact, is dimmable and has different mood lighting modes and draws hardly any power, I would definitely check them out!


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