When planning your next summer camping trip, you should always have a quality headlamp, flashlight, and lantern on your packing list. The right battery lights will keep you safe and comfortable throughout your journey through the wilderness.
Here are some essential qualities you should look for in a good camping light:
1. Battery Operated. As nostalgic as those old kerosene lamps may be, battery operated lights are much more practical. You can turn them on and off whenever you need to, and they require much less paraphernalia. During bad weather, they’re a lot safer to have in your tent. Make sure to find one with a long battery life, or one with a recharge crank so you’ll have light until you choose to return to civilization.
2. Small. When you’re lugging your belongings up a mountain, an extra pound or two makes the biggest difference. You want something light, compact, and easy to carry.
3. Bright. Your light may need to be small, but its impact should be big. When rummaging through your knapsack, cooking your food, or scoping out a campsite, your lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps need to emit a massive number of lumens. This will keep you organized and out of danger. You may also find it helpful to invest in a light with several different brightness settings. That way you can set up your camp and read yourself to sleep with just one light.
4. Hands-Free. If you only bring a flashlight, you’ll have a difficult time performing any tasks after dark. You’ll definitely want a headlamp to illuminate whatever is directly in front of you, helping you see when hiking, gathering firewood, or pitching your tent. A lantern that’s freestanding, magnetic, or hang-able is also a good idea when creating a well-lit campsite.
5. Weatherproof. This one’s really a no-brainer when it comes to spending the night in the wilderness. Odds are all your camping equipment will be in harsh conditions at some point on a trip. You need a light that won’t wimp out if it gets a little damp or cold. Look for a hearty, weatherproof or waterproof light, that can hold up under extreme temperatures.
6. Emergency Signals. For extra safety on camping trips, you want a light that has the ability to signal for help. The best lights will have this feature built right in, activated by a special button or switch. If you get lost or run into trouble, this is one of the best ways to get help fast, especially after dark. We even found a crank-chargeable flashlight that can power your cellphone in a pinch!
7. LED. As a general rule, LEDs make the best camping lights, because they offer all the qualities already listed here, and more. They’re light, bright, compact, long-lasting, and very durable – able to withstand cold temperatures and jarring vibrations better than any other light source. Plus, they don’t attract bugs, because they don’t emit UV rays like other kinds of lights.
For more information, check out our camping lights page here.