Camping: Solar Lights and You!
I keep talking around the topic of lighting your tent and campsite, but haven’t directly touched on it yet. So here we go!
Lighting around your Campsite
It’s so important. It helps you stay safe by warning you of where objects are so you won’t trip over them. They also remind the local animals that there’s one of those strange hairless apes around who can’t see them in the dark.
If you’re camping in a crowded area, it’s also a polite reminder to your neighbors that the edges of your site aren’t their automatic overflow.
Ideally, you want one light in every direction of your site. If you already have a light source on one side, then don’t worry about that side. If you have a side of your site you don’t use and you don’t want any kids running around that way, leave it dark. If, on the other hand, you have part of your site you’re trying to stay away from because you think you’re near something’s house, put a light towards that direction. It will remind you, and whoever your camping with, to stay away from that section, and will discourage the animal from venturing closer.
And, amusing in a not-really-funny way, if you have a cord you are constantly tripping over, put a light where it will best reflect off the rope and save yourself from a clotheslining.
Short, fat, skinny, bulbous: solar lights have come in a wide variety of styles for several years now. The lights I use most often are old enough that they aren’t sold anywhere anymore. But, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t burned through some of the more recent options, or that I haven’t spotted a few new inventions that I think will become new staples in my supplies!
There is one particular recent developments in solar lights actually looks really awesome. It’s like an inflatable snow globe you see around the holidays; but little and meant to produce light, not Christmas songs.
Since it’s snowy and the sun hasn’t come out in a few months already here, I can’t say whether or not this lasts all night. It does seem to still get enough light to last until I’m not awake anymore, so at least a few hours. Between the fact that there’s no direct sunlight for me to set it in, much less for an extended period of time, and the fact that the sun goes down before the neighbor’s kid gets off the bus, it’s a crapshoot on my end trying to judge how long it should actually last. But, it seems like it should do pretty well.
Of course, if you’re familiar with solar lights you already know that they don’t last all night, no matter how great the packaging makes them sound.
One of the reasons I was so excited when I first saw this was because of the lightweight design, and the lantern even flattens for transport.
So, if you’re hiking a long distance between campsites, or camping long term, or living in a tent, this one is pretty well perfect.
For most styles of solar lights, hanging them would be a nightmare if not completely implausible.
So, another reason I decided to focus on this one is to talk about the fact that it can be rigged to hang from a tree or tent pole fairly easily.
The wind might prove to be an issue, so keep a weather eye out to make sure your new light won’t get blown away or banged up too badly on any branches.
If you do decide to hang lights, please don’t use those icicle lights. I had a friend whose house burned down ’cause of those things, and I’ve been not-irrationally worried about those lights ever since. I know, the technology has changed, but the new type burned my other neighbor’s gutter.
As I mentioned above, lights shouldn’t be stored in soft-sided cases or totes. A nice small toolbox can work for most, but with these new collapsable ones, I’m thinking about laying them flat on top of my grill, in its bag. The grill closes flat, and we keep all the parts under the lid.
It’s something to think about, but putting it in with your extra batteries or tarps could also keep it out of reach of both little fingers and pointy supplies.
So what do you think of the new solar light design? Have you tried them? Do you think the shape is as awesome as I do?
Leave a comment and let me know!
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