Decent lighting is essential for safety and convenience. Here are five types of lights to keep you in the know and out of the dark when camping. By Nell Hofmeyr
The Trusty Headlamp
If you include only one light in your camping kit, make it a headlamp. Whether you’re busy at the braai or hitting the trails at night, a hands-free light source pays off every time. While cheap options are available, it’s worth investing in a high-quality product that strikes the right balance between brightness, burn time and comfort. If stargazing or a night walk is on your itinerary, choose one with Red and Green LED mode to preserve night vision and avoid disturbing wildlife.
The Versatile Lantern
A lantern is essential for any camping trip and it helps to have more than one at your disposal. Designed to illuminate a large area, this versatile light is ideal for brightening up the kitchen corner, outside seating area and the inside of your tent. It can be freestanding, hung or even carried around depending on the size and weight. Consider a rechargeable, solar LED option for maximum burn time and convenience. T4A tip: The collapsible kind make great space savers!
Also read: What to cook on your camping trip
The All-Seeing Blacklight
Besides looking cool, a UV light is a surprisingly handy thing to have in the wild. Use it to detect scorpions in the dark – they fluoresce under the UV rays – and marvel at these ancient creatures. For people that can’t abide bugs, there are UV lanterns that incorporate a high voltage grid, zapping flying critters into oblivion.
The Classic Torch
You can’t go wrong with a good old compact, portable torch. By aiming the light in a single direction, you can see better for ‘close-work’ tasks like locating your tent or searching for a lost item. Size, brightness and beam distance are key considerations.
We recommend a lightweight device small enough to fit into your pocket for easy access. If you can find one that’s waterproof and capable of sending emergency signals, even better.
Also read: 10 commandments of camping
Not essential, but nice to have – fairy lights provide soft-lighting and plenty of atmosphere. This is ideal for big groups who plan to make evenings a social affair. Arrange a string of these on your awning and you’re bound to have the prettiest tent by far.
Be a considerate light-user
Remember these guidelines for your next trip:
- Nobody likes the guy with a lighting set-up strong enough to power a small village.
- Keep lights shielded and pointing down.
- Shining your flashlight into other people’s tents after dark is obviously a big no-no.
- Your campsite is shared with the hundreds of creatures who live in the area. Protect them from exposure to artificial lighting as much as you can. White and blue hues have the worst effect, while yellow, amber and green are less harmful.
- Switch the lights off when others start hitting the sack. If you’re just relaxing around camp, your fire will provide ample light and it’s much more atmospheric.
Have you upgraded your GPS Maps on SD Card? Featuring over 1 million roads and thousands of useful points of interest, our maps are comprehensive and detailed enough to accommodate every trip and type of traveller. Buy the latest version online to travel Africa informed.