LED Camping Lights – Everything You Need To Know

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

LED camping lights are a great way to get efficient and effective light throughout your campsite. When you are camping off grid, adequate lighting can make all the difference in how you get through the dark hours.

Whether it is an LED headlamp for rifling through your bags and pantry, or an area light that helps you move around safely, or a spotlight for investigating a sound in the distance, LED lights serve a variety of purposes, and there is a range of products available for these different purposes.

In this article, we will investigate the benefits of LED camping lights and look at the different types and applications. 

What is an LED Light?

LED stands for ‘Light Emitting Diode’. LED lighting is a newer lighting technology that is taking over the previously popular incandescent and fluorescent lighting technologies.

LED lights work by sending a small electrical current through a microchip, which then illuminates the tiny light sources, we know as LED’s resulting in the visible light we see. 

What are LED Camping Lights Good?

As a result of this different lighting technology, LEDs last longer, are more versatile, and last up to 90% longer than other forms of lighting.

This efficiency on both power usage, and lighting performance makes LED lights fantastic for camping. Not only do they give off more light, but they use less battery power.

Types of LED Camping Light

There are a range of different LED camping light types you can choose from, with each suited to different lighting needs. I’ll describe each type below, and include a picture, as well as some recommendations for use. 

LED Headlamp

LED Headlamp

LED headlights induce a small light that you attach to your head with an elastic strap. The benefit of these lights is that you can keep your hands free to do whatever you need to do, and the light will shine in whatever direction you are facing.

Very handy for night walking, night cooking, and looking through your baggage in the dark.

They range in price anywhere from $10 up to $100+ and as the price goes up, so does the brightness of the light, quality of the elastic, and other aspects of the lamp. 

LED Torch

LED Torch

An LED torch is just an adaption of the classic torch, using LED lighting technology. Usually held with a single hand, you just point your hand wherever you want the light to shine.

An LED torch will look and feel like any other torch you have used, except the quality of light will be better (brighter), and you should get more hours of light from the same amount of batteries. 

LED Strip Light

LED Strip Light

LED Strip Lights are a narrow row of evenly spaced LED lights, manufactured into a string. They are usually encased in a nylon sleeve with velcro straps so you can string them up inside your annex, or over a cooking bench.

They are a very effective source of light for cooking, or just a common gathering area, and often include dimmers and switches for greater control.

Many 4WD annex manufacturers incorporate strip light fighting into their design so you can easily add a strip light to your annex once set up, and some even include a strip light built into the annex, about halfway down the middle, which I have seen work really well. 

LED Lantern

Sometimes you want to position the light in an area without having to hold it, and LED lanterns add value in this way. You can set them on top of a table, and hang them from your tent roof, and create general light over a broader area.

Like torches, you have likely come across a camping lantern before, but an LED camping lantern will give you greater light quality, for a longer period of time. 

LED Spotlight

If you hear a noise out in the dark and want to see what is happening in a certain direction with more clarity than your torch can give you, then you might want to equip yourself with an LED spotlight. Spotlights give you a sharp strong beam of light that can penetrate a longer distance than typical torches and lights. 

LED Light Bar

Light bars are similar to Strip lights in that they provide a long strand of globes that can project the light around a big space.

The key difference is that the light bar is a more rigid structure, than a strip light. You often see light bars affixed to people’s roof racks permanently, but around your campsite, you might want to hang LED light bars on tent poles, annex poles, or upright on your awning.

They come with dimmer and switch options, but you could easily leave them on all night, as they use very little power. 

LED Camping Light Accessories

When you are setting yourself up LED camping lights, there are some additional details or accessories that you may want to get.

In some cases, these things may come included with your LED camping light, and in other cases, you will need to purchase them separately.

Pole Attachments

To set your LED camping lights up around your campsite, it might be helpful to make sure you are given clips and hooks so that you can hang these lights up around your sites. Whether it’s a plastic clip or velcro loop.

The ability to hang your lights up on or in your tent, or onto your annex or gazebo, can make a big difference to your quality of light throughout the dark hours. 

Dimmer and Light Controls

There will be times when you will want to adjust the level of light, down or up, and also times you wish to switch the light off. You will always be able to disconnect a light, but some units also come with on/off switches and dimmers.

Dimmers can be great to turn down the level of light when everyone goes to bed, so you are minimizing the battery usage but still creating light to guide anyone who gets up in the night.

Rechargable

Some units include rechargeable batteries by default that you just recharge using a USB or 12v or 240v transformer.

If your LED camping light has disposable batteries, then you might want to consider purchasing a rechargeable set up of batteries that fit (AA or AAA, etc.). 

LED Globe Colour

Certain lights colors attract insects and bugs, and certain colors do not. If you are setting up LED camping lights in your common areas, you will most likely want to minimize bugs, so keep this in mind, especially when looking at light bars and strip lights.

References

https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_led_bulbs