Camping is great. It’s wonderful to experience the freedom of outdoor living and to connect with Mother Nature. I’ve been going on camping trips as long as I can remember, firstly with my parents and brother, then as I got older with my friends and now I regularly go camping with my own children. I’ve had a lot of chances to make mistakes. Things like forgetting spare clothes, not taking enough water, forgetting maps and even forgetting food. I’ve learned from my many mistakes to be a better camper, and nowadays I can thoroughly equip any camping trip within an hour, just from my complete mental checklist (sorry if it sounds like I’m bragging, but I want to highlight the importance of planning and preparedness). One of the most important lessons I have learned is not to underestimate your need for appropriate camping lighting.
I learned about the pitfalls of inadequate camping lighting a long time ago as a child, camping with my father. I have many memories of stumbling around a dark campsite with a only small battery torch, often with half dead batteries, or even trying to erect our tent in the half light of dusk with only a small battery lantern to light our way. Even as a teenager, camping with my friends, we would usually throw whatever we could find into the back of our car and hope we didn’t forget anything (it was usually in the pitch black of night that we would curse our lack of camping lighting). In fact, it wasn’t until I started taking my own children camping that I realized how important it was to properly stock our camping trips with the right camping supplies. When you’re responsible for young children out in the bush, you really want to be prepared, particularly with the right camping lighting, among other things.
Planning your camping lighting needs before you embark on your camping trip is essential.
Some of the questions you might ask yourself are:
- “Am I camping with my children and need a fully lit campsite?”
- “Will I be doing some night fishing and need a small fishing are lit?”
- “Will I be exploring in a low-light environment?”
- “Am I a lone hiker needing only a source of person lighting such as a battery torch?”
This list will will reflect your own individual camping needs, and it could be quite long depending on the situations you might need camping lighting for. For most campers it will be important to have a variety of camping lighting sources. (Back to camping lesson 1 – Planning!) The next thing you should consider is the types of lighting available and what will be appropriate for your needs. Some camping lighting sources are (we will discuss these further and in more detail in other posts):
- Camping lamps – battery lantern, battery operated lamps, LED’s or fluorescent lamps, kerosene lanterns, duel fuel lamps – remembering that a variety of camping lamps require different camping fuel such as kerosene, propane gas, solar power, unleaded petrol, paraffin and lamp oils, and lpg.
- Solar lights such as solar spot lights and solar path lights.
- Personal camping lighting such as a head lamp, battery torch or battery flashlight.
- Floodlights if you want to light larger areas such as communal areas around the campsite.
- Spotlights if you’ll be searching for wildlife of nocturnal animals.
As you can see, the extent of camping lighting that you require depends on the type of camping you have planned and the type of campsite you have planned for. Again, be aware of your overall camping requirements (not just camping lighting) BEFORE embarking on your camping trip. Always keep in mind the safety and comfort of all your camp mates when you plan your camping adventure.