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The Best Camp Lighting Solutions to Brighten Dark Nights Outdoors

Graphic: Chelsea Stone

My fondest camping memories from when I was a kid involve this old green lantern my parents always set on the picnic table. It used kerosene and mantles to produce light, and I have vivid memories of my dad telling us kids to “Stand back!” every time he lit the lantern for fear the thing would unintentionally explode.

Camp lighting solutions have come a long way since then (and I’m not even that old!). These days, kerosene lanterns are practically extinct, or at least, selling for a lot of money on Amazon as a #retro gift. But now that there are newer and better-functioning options to add to your camping kit, which lights should you consider? Check it out.

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Luminoodle Waterproof USB Powered LED String Lights

With 5-foot and 10-foot options, the Luminoodle produces 180 lumens of light. It’s also waterproof and ultra-lightweight, making it the perfect portable option for outdoors.
Graphic: Chelsea Stone

These adaptable lights add a touch of ambience to any camping situation. Line the perimeter of camp, hang them from the ceiling of your tent, or bundle them into a bunch to create a useful lantern. Plus, they’re cheap, so you really can’t go wrong!

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ENO Twilight Camp Lights

This 120-inch-long string of 23 lights from ENO includes a padded carrying case. Plus, with just three AAA batteries, you’re guaranteed 72 hours of illumination.
Graphic: Chelsea Stone

Especially designed for hammocks, this string of 20 lights stretches from end to end on a hammock so you can enjoy a little visibility while reading or relaxing. The lights themselves are water resistant and come in four different multicolor light modes (green, red, blue, or six-color fade) as well as multiple white light options.

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Goal Zero Lighthouse 400

This Goal Zero lantern’s internal battery is rechargeable via any USB port or from a Goal Zero Nomad Solar Panel. Or, utilize the built-in hand crank to get a quick charge instantly, so you’re never far from the light.
Image: Amazon
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Sometimes you don’t need fancy twinkling lights; you need a standard lantern. When that happens, why not reach for the Lighthouse 400. Its adjustable LED light can go up to 400 lumens, and the entire thing is rechargeable via the USB port. Added bonus: The USB port can also charge your cell phone.

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Big Agnes mtnGLO Tent Camp Lights

These Big Agnes mtnGLO LED Tent & Camping Lights come in a a few festive hues that will make any tent feel instantly cooler. Easily hang them in string form with the included plastic clamps, or keep them in their pouch to create a lantern.
Graphic: Chelsea Stone

Big Agnes knows camp solutions, and this 100-inch-long string of LED lights proves that they also appreciate the finer things in life. Three light modes (off, on, and flicker) illuminate camp or your tent, and the four plastic clips make it easier to customize where and how you want the lights to hang. Simple, basic, and oh-so-luxurious.

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BioLite SunLight Solar Portable Light

Utilize this BioLite’s built-in solar panel to recharge during the day, and you’ll light up your night in the full RGB color spectrum, including party mode and red-toned night vision. This light also features a handy hanging clip and kickstand.
Graphic: Chelsea Stone
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It’s not a lantern or a headlamp, but it is a light and an eco-conscious one at that. The SunLight Solar Portable Light uses an integrated solar charging panel to recharge, providing up to 50 hours of light time. It offers a range of colors in case you want to turn your campsite into a disco party, but our fave feature is the kickstand: Prop it up on your picnic table, tent floor, or a rock, and let the magic happen.

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Black Diamond Moji Lantern

This Black Diamond Moji Lantern’s frosted globe creates a unique ambience. And with up to 100 lumens of light, it certainly gets the job done.
Graphic: Chelsea Stone

It is the simplest lighting solution on the list, but that’s why the Moji Lantern shines after years in production. It is efficient and affordable too, making it tough to beat for car campers or backpackers alike. LED lights emit 100-lumens worth of glow, and the three AAA batteries can last up to 70 hours (on the lowest setting). For reference, I bought mine five years ago and have yet to swap out the batteries. And, it’s lightweight: At a mere three ounces, there is no reason to leave it behind.

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About the author

Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather Balogh Rochfort is an outdoor expert and full-time freelance writer and author in the outdoor industry.