Great Camping Tent Lighting Ideas

Do you need some camping tent lighting ideas so you will be able to see at night? Camping at daylight is simple but how about when the sun goes down?

campfire lightning 101

Having some light sources is important for you to find things and to help you do activities such as reading.

Here are some of my favorite camping light ideas, passed on to me from neighbors, friends, and good old rustic family tradition. Use them to help you see at the night inside and outside of the tent.

Camping lighting ideas

I have some interesting ideas on how to light a tent and its surroundings at night so you will be able to walk, read and enjoy the evening.

There’s no power when you’re camping… is there?

Yes, actually, there can be. You see, some camping sites come with amenities, like electricity, barbeque pits, and public restrooms.

Even if there isn’t, technology is constantly advancing and you never know until you see what’s out there. Don’t be afraid to look around for power sources that might suit your needs.

Solar panels have gotten cheaper and portable. You can even buy backpacks with solar panels built into them. Or, you can buy accessories with solar panels built right into them, so there is no power source needed, such as string lights.

But my favorite option is to simply buy a portable battery pack. Some are the size of car batteries, but some are much smaller and surprisingly lightweight. Some battery packs even come with AC outlets built right into them.

LED string lights

The most common and most versatile type of decorative lighting is LED string lights. They’re also the typical decorations of Christmas trees. They come in different sizes, colors, and arrangements.

They can look like a straight pathway leading you to the door, to a dozen tiny stars on the fabric of the tent, as the nighttime sky.

string lights

Cruelty-free fireflies

There are many very simple projects that involve taking a clump of LED string lights and stuffing them into a traditional bug-catching jar, such as mason canning jars.

If you have a way to hang the jars, they can even hang from the same LED string, in mid-air.

It doesn’t need to be the whole string of lights, either. Though, if you put the whole string into a jar, wine bottle, or any other glass, this is another way to make your campsite shine.

Typically when this is done, a wide-mouth bottle is used so that the lights can be hooked up to a battery pack.

String light lanterns

Another idea is to get ahold of some string lights where the bulbs are surrounded by little lanterns, such as globes.

They come in all colors and sizes. These lanterns can really help add decor, freshness, and cheerfulness to the camping scene.

Decorative string lights

There’s something to be said about all the different styles and kinds of them that exist. They can come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes.

Choose from light bulbs that look like stars or leaves, disco balls or tree branches, to glowing rattan balls.

LED rope lights

Many people don’t like considering rope lights as a lighting source because the LED lights are encased in plastic. That straight line aspect makes them seem dull.

However, when it’s time to put them up or take them down, things are always speedy as they don’t tangle up with the big bulbs and tiny wires that always catch.

Rope ones can also be purchased in mass bulk, allowing you to do more interesting and ambitious projects. Like normal string lights, they come in a variety of colors.

However, I personally feel that they have more color options available, especially in the multi-colored area.

Don’t forget that not all string ones have to look like individual sparkles, you can also purchase rope lights that are entirely lit up, like a neon sign, or a Jedi lightsaber.

Fiber optic lights

Most of the cheaper fiber optic lights are like LED ones, except that the light doesn’t emit from the bulb but from the end of a special wire tube.

There are some professional kits that can be used to make solar systems and galaxies embedded into a ceiling. However, they’re very time-consuming projects, so I don’t recommend them.

I really like the options that the smaller, cheaper fiber optics lights have. I even found a fiber optic string light, and I loved that it looked like a fairytale wonderland.


Flashlights are a must if staying outdoors at night, right? However, you can use them inside the tent as well to illuminate the place. You can hang it on the hook or place it on the ground and direct it where you want.

Tent shadows

A simple and under-used idea is to purposefully cast a shadow on the tent as decoration.

camping lighting tips

Perhaps it might be a figurine, a pretty tree branch, the family’s crest, or even a moving shadow as someone acts out a shadow and light bedtime story with their hands.


Headlamps are a great innovation to help you with the activities that require both of your hands. Make sure that it is charged and use it when chopping firewood or going in the woods to have a pee.


Lanterns are one of the favorite camping lighting ideas that people use often. Enclosed lanterns, such as propane lanterns are easy to find and quite safe. Lanterns have their own charm.

However, when you have many of them, especially if they are decorative, they can really help to strike a charming and sophisticated mood.

Candle lanterns

Candle lanterns are commonly used by backpackers who want to warm their tents. It is a safe way to have a heating and lighting source inside the tent. With it, you will be able to read and find things.

camping candle lighting

Disposable glow sticks

Glow sticks are extremely easy to find and can be purchased in bulk and variety packs. The downsides are that they aren’t very bright and they don’t tend to last longer than a couple of hours.

But for most camping expeditions, a couple of hours is plenty to build up the charm, fall asleep, and then wake up and do it all over again.

Glowing paints are also in this category, such as non-toxic face paint. You’ll want to use non-permanent or washable solutions so that any tree or bush you accidentally wiped your hands won’t be a fluorescent pink forever.

Solar and wind-rope lights

These are environment-friendly lights that use solar and wind power to offer illumination. These are more and more in use since they are quite easy to operate with.

Standing Work Lights

If you will go camping with a car or some other four-wheel vehicle you can take standing work lights with you.

These ones are easy to set up and move from location to location and are easily adjustable as you can turn them to illuminate a specific area.

They are around six feet tall or taller so putting them inside the tent shouldn’t be a problem. Those made of LED technology are reliable as they will last for years.

You can also place them outside the tent so you will have an indirect illumination for reading or other fun activities as playing cards.

How many lumens do you need for camping?

For camping with a tent, 35-60 lumens should be enough to see at night and do night activities. If you choose a lighting source with more lumens, it means that you will see further but the battery will discharge faster.

camping at night tips

If you will use illumination for walking around the tent, in the woods, and similar activities that involve reading and finding things this lumen range should be sufficient.

Are propane lanterns safe in a tent?

You can use these to light the tent and to warm it but as it uses a propane fuel you will have to ventilate the tent properly so you won’t experience the dangerous carbon monoxide accumulation inside.

How long do LED lanterns last?

LED lights have quite a long life as many of them have been rated to last for 50,000 hours (over 5 years).

They are energy efficient as they last about 50 times longer than a typical incandescent light, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than typical compact fluorescent lamps.

What color LED lights should I sleep with?

Do you know which color of the LED light is the best for you to sleep with? The answer is a red one that doesn’t interfere with sleeping as a blue light does.

A natural red color has a low light temperature and will help you to fall asleep easier.

Final precautions

I hope you find my camping tent lighting ideas useful and fun. However, want to add a reminder to avoid using open flames if possible.

Remember that when you are camping, you’re probably tired from exertion and it’s too easy to forget, or for an unseen wind gust to strike tragedy when you’re miles away from the nearest water source, let alone paved road.

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