ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Use Solar Lights for Campsite Safety

Updated on March 19, 2020
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life. He shares his experiences along with valuable tips for RV owners.

Solar Light Technology

Cheap Solar Powered lights provide safe lighting for campsites.
Cheap Solar Powered lights provide safe lighting for campsites. | Source

Solar Lights are ideal for Campsites

The use of new technologies can often make a camping experience so much more convenient. RV owners should, and most do, take advantage of and use high tech products everywhere they can, when traveling or camping.

One big problem for campers is the lack of adequate lighting in their campsites at night.

Many campgrounds are laid out with relatively wide streets and numerous street lights providing lighting that's as good as you find in many cities. But these campgrounds are not the norm.

In fact I've often found that when I'm staying at one of these campgrounds, I really don’t need to supplement the lighting at my campsite at all.

On the other hand, I have set up in an older campground with lots of shade trees and fewer street lights and these campsite conditions often generate a need for a little extra supplemental lighting in certain places for extra safety.

And almost always, when I stay, in a State Park campsite, or if I am “rough camping” in the woods, I need ways to add light sources to properly light up parts of my site for just for safety's sake.

Campsites can be Dangerous

So, why do we need to set up additional lighting in our campsite?

I may be stating the obvious but here goes. Your campsite is inherently not safe for people to be walking around at night, if they can't see everything lying around the campsite.

Sure, you laid out your personal things, like chairs, tables, coolers and such, when you first got there, ust like you always do.

But over time, in fact usually within hours, you and your family or friends start moving around and each one has their own opinion of where some of your campsite accessories should be.

Great set of Solar Lights

Add Light around Campsite Obstacles

Here are a few of the things people tend to move around a lot in a campsite;

Side Tables

When a person is sitting around a campsite, the presence of a small side table to set your drink or snack on is so convenient, but where it is placed is a personal thing.

In fact, probably the most “stolen” item, by your fellow campers, in a campsite is an unused side table when one user gets up and another site down.


Every RV owner eventually ends up with a collection of fold-up chairs that they keep in their RV storage areas for use at their campsite.

And, if you watch, throughout the day, chairs tend to move along with the angle of the Sun by those "tanning people" as well as for access to other conveniences setting around the campsite, by others.


Most campers will fill up a nice sized cooler with their favorite beverages. Then they will set it outside the camper, but nearby for easy access by everyone.

You always provide this cooler full of beverages; if for no other reason than to keep people outside of your camper and not be constantly coming inside to get another drink. So almost naturally, you will find that your cooler will migrate, with your friends help, all around your campsite.


Yes, Shoes are a problem. People will be changing shoes through out the day as they do different things.

You might wear a pair of flip-flops to walk around the campsite, and you might also wear a pair of Tennis shoes for your daily walk and you might even wear a pair of water shoes for walking on the beach. If you are a wilderness camper, you might change to a pair of hiking boots to take advantage of popular hiking trails that are nearby.

And where do all of these shoes end up? Why, usually, they are tossed around the campsite when not being worn.

Other obstacles

These are just a few of the more common obstacles at a campsite, but you might be surprised at the things a camper will hurt themselves tripping over in a dark campsite.

Just a few of these potential obstacles might be; lanterns, backpacks, extension cords, a grill for cooking, firewood, clothing, and many other personal items used during the day.

My recommendation is to never assume you know where anything outside might be at any moment. With multiple people using a campsite almost anything can migrate to another place other than where it was originally placed.

How much Light do you need at your campsite?

We all want our campsite to be a safe place for ourselves and anyone else with us, and properly placed lighting is one way to do this.

OK, first of all, let me explain that no one wants to be relaxing in a campsite that is full of glaringly bright lights. In fact, a normal campsite really just needs a low level of ambient light, just bright enough that you can see everything within 15-20 feet of you wherever you might be standing in your campsite. Anything more than this is really overkill.

You don’t need to light up your end of the world, you just need a little extra light to push the night darkness away allowing you to move around safely.

So, how do you light up your campsite enough and at a low price at the same time.

Campsite Lighting Options to consider

Well, there are a lot of ways to get some extra light outside your RV, and here are a few of the most popular;

Drop Lights

Considering that many campgrounds provide AC-voltage at the campsites, some people just bring a string of “drop lights” and hang them on tree limbs or whatever is available at the campsite.

Decorative Lights

Or maybe you bought a string of decorative lights that also operate on 120-VAC. They are cute and they give good light for campsites.

Watch out though, because both of these options will require the use of extension cords and these cords are nearly impossible to see at night and end up causing a lot of people to trip and fall.


Many campers will have one or two lanterns that either operate on gas, or rechargeable batteries, or sometimes on 120-VAC. These are also good sources of light, but they cast a lot of shadows that can hide things you might trip over.

Solar Lights

This option is by far my favorite for my campsites. You can pick one of these lights up for a couple of bucks at many different stores, especially any store that sells camping gear.

Outdoor Solar Light facts you should know

OK, so here are some of the things you should know about the most commonly used Solar powered lights.

Physically- This type of Solar light comes in two pieces. one is the pointed end that you drive into the ground at your campsite, while the actual light slides onto this stake in the ground.

No power cords required. These lights have a built-in battery that the solar collector part (on the top) can fully charge it during one normal day of daylight, typically at least 10-12 hours.

Low Level Light - These lights will provide a low level of light in a 360-degree perimeter to the package for typically around eight hours. Some state they operate all night, but the are more expensive.

Locating Lights - The great thing is, you can have multiples of this light source and place them where they provide the safest lighted areas of your campsite.

Price - I have found that, as far as Solar lights go, yo get what you pay for.

In fact, a couple of week ago, I picked up 4 lights for $0.92 each at Wally-World and when I set them up at my campsite, two work properly while one of the others barely lights at all and the fourth never worked.

A week later, I picked up two more at another store for almost $3 each, and both of these operate very nicely.

What is a Lumen?


A lumen is a standard unit measure of the amount of light emitted by a device.

For comparison, a standard 60-Watt light bulb will emit around 800 Lumens.

A high efficiency LED lamp that emits this many Lumens will consume up to 12-Watts of energy.

Lumens, that's what is missing

The most frustrating then tome about purchasing Solar powered lights, as well as many LED replacement lights, is figuring out just how much light is being generated by the unit.

To me, over the years, I have used these lower cost Solar lights at a lot of campsites, and for the money, I highly recommend them. They do not need an external power source, and they do the simple job I require at my campsite; cheap ambient light.

But, there’s no law that requires the manufacturers (mostly foreign) of these simple lights to list the actual level of Lumens generated. So you end up spending your money and hoping you get what you need, a reliable source of low light for use outdoors.

In my opinion, if we had some idea of the radiated light we would all be willing to purchase better, higher quality versions of this much needed product, but for now, I just buy cheap and return the bad ones to the store.

So, even though I think these solar lights are the best for campsite safety, I still suggest that when you purchase them, keep your receipts.

Lumen Lookup Chart for Light Bulbs

Old wattage equivalent
1600 Lumens
100 Watt Light Bulb
1100 Lumens
75 Watt Light Bulb
800 Lumens
60 Watt Light Bulb
450 Lumens
40 Watt Light Bulb

Here is a list of equivalent Lumen values you would need to replace these standard incandescent light bulb Wattage values.

Outdoor Solar Light Tips

If you end up, like me, using Solar lights at your campsite, here are a few tips for you.

Locating Lights

If you cannot get that plastic “stake” end into the ground (too hard), take a soda bottle or empty jar, fill it half-way with water, and place the plastic shaft of the light into the bottle. The light will charge and operate fine even if it’s tilted at a slight angle.

Bug Killer

In fact, if you put a teaspoon of Dawn dish-washing detergent into the water, you will then have a safe and cheap bug killer. The light, like all lights will draw those night-time flying pests, and they will land on the surface, stick to it and not be able to fly away.

Storing the lights

Many of these lights will come apart if you just throw them into a bag for use at your next campsite. Take a piece of tape and wrap over the top of the light and down the sides of the body. This will hold the whole assembly together as you drive down the roads.

by Don Bobbitt, June 2016

How to change Solar Light batteries


Use the Comments section below to ask any questions you might have pertaining to Campsite Lighting and solar Lights.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)