General Camp Lighting Discussion


Newly Enlightened
Jul 20, 2016
The Mountains (they were calling....)
I would like to start a general discussion thread for camp lighting, similar to the Power Outage discussion thread. Some possible topics could include:

-Different areas of the campsite; common, personal, etc and how much light you typically need/require for each.

-Other considerations; how much work do you foresee having to do after dark and what about unexpected tasks which may need to be performed after dark?

-Type of lighting you prefer; electric lanterns or flashlights? What about propane, liquid fuel, oil/Tiki torches (yes, I've seen people use these) or candle lanterns?

-Primary or rechargeable cells and how many do you bring?

These are just ideas. You can also post photos of the lights you bring, how they're set-up, etc. Share you thoughts and beamshots, field tests and so forth.


I like to try to bring each one of my lanterns with me camping at least once. I feel like it's the ultimate test of their usability and practicality and I like playing around with different configurations and light levels. I also tend to be doing a lot of my work after dark, even in the summer since I spend much of the day hiking and exploring which is what really drove my passion for electric lanterns. I had the opportunity to go camping a few days before Thanksgiving this week and I brought with me some recent acquisitions, as well as some old favorites.


So maybe you're thinking "But Suby, isn't that a little bit overkill?" I think not! Each and every one of these lanterns had a purpose. Also, bringing extra lanterns means having extra batteries. I can swap batteries and/or lanterns to suit my purpose, etc. Just makes my set-up that much more modular. Moving onto the details:

-This particular site was a bit spread out and the food locker ended up being about 15 feet or so away from the table. I set up the UST 60-Day Duro on the locker and left it on high. At 1200 lumens (actually, probably closer to 950-1000) that may sound excessive in the extreme, but it was far enough away from everything else that it was not glarey or obnoxious, yet it cast a nice ambient glow over much of the site enabling me to move around camp without needing a headlamp or flashlight. As the evening progressed, I would gradually ramp it down as I finished up cooking, cleaning up and fire tending until I finally had it on low for a bit as a marker or general orientation light. I should also add that I had no one across the road from me and there were enough trees (Redwoods :) ) and brush on either side that it couldn't really disturb my neighbors. This is a 6D lantern so I wasn't too concerned about run time.

-I hung the 30-Day Duro and Streamlight Siege upside down with their globes off from the peaks at either end of my shade structure as down lights.



Both lanterns are on high in the above photos and with ceiling bounce from the white roof they provide plenty of kitchen lighting. I felt like it was comparable to the FL fixture in my kitchen at home. I would also ramp then down to medium and low as needed. Probably either would have been sufficient in a pinch, but the two together on medium provided a pleasant light for unpacking and setting up the kitchen area, cooking, etc.

-The Energizer Traditional was used as occasional supplementary and task lighting. I was originally going to set it up next to the stove, but found it unnecessary. I did set it up on a stump the last night when I was taking down the clothesline in the dark and it was plenty of lighting for the task (wish I'd snapped a pic). I mentioned in the other thread that I was a bit dubious about this lantern, but I'm satisfied with it now.

-The Fenix CL30R was another supplementary and task light. I hung it from the clothesline over the same stump the first night when I was splitting firewood. Real smart I know, splitting wood in the dark but with this thing on it was not dark! I had plenty of light to work safely. I also carried it with me as I moved around the campsite; heaidng to the bathroom, carrying wash buckets to fill, empty, etc.

-The Fenix CL25R and CL20 were my tent lights, supplanting my usual Black Diamond lanterns. I always like to have a downlight, hung from the peak of my tent (in this case, the CL20). I'll turn it on high after I get in the tent so I can see packing/unpacking, changing, etc. I'll also have a second lantern (in this case, the CL25R) on the folding table, next to my cot. I'll set it on low as it starts to get dark as a marker light for my tent and also so I can see when I'm getting in. In this case, I had my rainfly up so moonlight mode just wasn't enough as a marker light, but low was plenty sufficient. I can also reach over and turn it on easily in the middle of the night if I need to.


Aug 26, 2005
I know this is an older thread, but I think it deserves to be revived.

I don't do camping myself, but I prefer non-flashlight lighting / area lighting, so many of the same goals.

Two things come to mind:
1) Haven Tents' USB RidgeLight: ( Warm white flexible LED strip inside a silicone cover. USB powered and dimmable. CRI is atrocious, but the warm white color makes it comfortable.

2) BrightTech USB string lights: ( ) Surprisingly bright and good CRI. 24' long, so plenty of length to cover a campsite. The only downside is that they don't dim, but you can add an external dimmer.

Because each of these is long, the light source isn't concentrated, so minimal glare compared to traditional lanterns and flashlights, or any other single-point source of light.

On the more traditional side of things, the Fenix CL20 is still one of my favorite lanterns. Great light quality, good neutral white, compact size. Too bad they've not made them in years. I prefer being able to use eneloops or primary batteries, so the proprietary-battery rechargeable version isn't of interest to me.

As much as I like the BLF LT1 and have a pile of them, I actually think the BLF LT1 Mini is a better lantern. All of the same features but in a much smaller, lighter package. Yes, fewer lumens, but works well enough for many things I do. The original full-size BLF LT1 is H.E.A.V.Y. I'm sure you could knock someone out with it.


Flashlight Enthusiast
Apr 30, 2015
The LT1 Mini is OK, but it needs a base to keep it standing - I 3D printed one along with a diffuser that makes it much more versatile.


But I generally prefer a flashlight with a base and a diffuser over a lantern for camping.