Here are 14 camping lights we'd recommend, with emphasis on variety, a consideration for value, and a few thoughts from our own experience.
Of all the camping gear you don't want to forget, lights are awfully high on the list. And of course, different situations call for a different type, whether it's a comfortable headlamp, a bright lantern, or a trusty pocket flashlight.
There's a lot to choose from, and believe me, I've tried a good number of them. From the high-end, tech-driven lights to the less expensive, basic choices, there are plenty of options when it comes to camping lights.
If I take anything away from my experiences, it's that sometimes a feature-rich piece of camping gear can be great, but oftentimes, you just need a product to do its job efficiently and without hassle. That is to say, if you just want a flashlight that flips on and off with a switch, you certainly have that available. But if a little more bang for your buck is important, then you'll find just as long of a list of feature-packed lights to choose from.
Factors to weigh into your decisions include who you'll be camping with, where you'll be doing it, and for how long you'll be out there. Spare batteries used to be a big concern, but nowadays, there are rechargeable options. That's great, but brings with it a new set of things to think about.
Keep these things in mind as you're shopping around, and make sure you've got the right camping lights at the ready when the sun goes down.
Headlamps, Lanterns, Flashlights, and Other Camping Lights
Here are 14 picks that would all serve you well on your next camping trip.
Here's one of your most basic choices, built with durability at the forefront and simplicity coming in at a close second. If you're camping near a lake or river, the waterproof capabilities speak for themselves. The twist focus lets you switch between a wider or more narrow beam.
There are camping situations where a large, powerful spotlight isn't exactly appropriate, such as crowded public campgrounds. They can be a little much, but if you're on your own with more space between you and the next camper, a spotlight like this Ozark Trail model really comes in handy.
The pistol grip is more comfortable for when you have to hold it steady for a long time, and its size isn't overly cumbersome. It runs on three C batteries and offers three different illumination settings.
Here's the best choice for a camping trip with the whole crew, especially one that includes kids. These inexpensive mini LED flashlights fit in a pocket, are light but sturdy, and come in a 10-pack so no one goes without some light.
Speaking of multipacks, these three lanterns are great for a tent camping trip; One can be devoted to the tent, one to the outdoor space, and one to carry around if you're on the move after dark.
Here's a take on the classic fuel lantern that acts as a citronella scent source, which helps keep biting insects away from your camping area.
Only there's no fuel to use with this lantern, as it lights up with a wick just like a normal candle. The reusable lid helps keep it clean and dry when not in use.
Lights that kids can use are super important when camping with little ones, and you can make it fun with this set that includes a lantern and a headlamp with an owl motif. My kids love anything having to do with animals, and they'd get a kick out of turning these things into toys the first chance they got.
This set of Coleman lights are a step away from the typical camping light selections, but they make sense when you have a big area that needs brightening.
Plus, they provide a hip, refreshing way to stylize your campsite and make it feel even more special, especially if you're on a trip with a spouse or loved one.
This pack of flashlights is for those who want simplicity. They come with batteries and have an on and off switch. No bells or whistles, and a really decent price.
If size is important, or lack thereof, then a penlight like this one from COAST is well worth including in your camping supplies. You can clip it in a shirt or pocket like a pen, and it's battery operated.
It has one mode and provides a clear, even beam of light. It would be great for backpacking, as it takes up minimal space.
This headlamp picks things up a notch and is for the serious camper who will be active after dark. The strap over the top of the head makes it extra secure, and it is rechargeable with an included USB charger cord.
Several modes add to the versatility, and it's impact resistant construction will keep you confident throughout its six-hour run time.
Everyone's familiar with MAGLITE, and a list of camping light suggestions isn't complete without one. This one is a little unique, as it runs on either the included rechargeable battery pack or three C batteries.
Here's a suggestion that's a little specific and wouldn't work for everyone, but if you're into overlanding or off-roading, an LED light bar on the front of your vehicle can make a huge difference at the campsite.
Wouldn't that look great on the hood of your Jeep or pickup? If you really need to light up the night, get one of these easy-to-install LED systems.
This light is AA battery powered and has three useful applications: as a lantern, a regular flashlight, or a side panel light.
It's great for light inside a camping tent or out on the trail at night. You can even read a book with the kind of light it pumps out.
If you'll be in a sunny area and unsure of the electricity accessibility, then a solar-powered light is really going to pay off. This particular lantern is USB rechargeable with an included cord, too, and it comes with a handy adjustable stand.
Any of these would make great camp light choices, but some are better picks depending on what sort of trip you're going on. Just don't take these sort of supplies for granted; you'd hate to arrive at the campsite without enough good light sources for you and the crew.