There are lots of ways to light a campsite, but when we’re boondocking under the stars, harsh lighting can be more of a hindrance to the setting than anything. That might be why camping string lights are so popular.
Moderate, muted lighting options are best in camping settings. They create a nice ambiance without overwhelming the scene.
We’ve looked at other types of lighting in our posts on camping lanterns and solar camping lights, but today we’re looking at one of the most popular ways to light a campsite or even the inside of an RV to set a relaxing mood.
Let’s take a look at camping string lights…
- 1) What Are Camping String Lights?
- 2) What to Look for In Camping String Lights
- 3) Camping String Lights for Your RV or Campsite
- 4) LED Lights For Your Entire RV
- 5) Do You Have a Favorite Set of Camping String Lights?
- 6) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews, Giveaways & More
What Are Camping String Lights?
Camping string lights are small lights laid out along a cord (like Christmas lights) that can be hung inside an RV or vehicle, or outside around the campsite.
Camping string lights can be battery-powered, charged via USB, or traditionally powered via an electric cord.
The bulbs themselves are generally relatively small as compared with other camping lights, but they do vary in size from small lightbulb shapes to very tiny “fairy lights.”
What to Look for In Camping String Lights
There are several things you’ll want to consider when buying string lights for camping.
Let’s take a quick look at six things to note as you shop.
As we noted at length in our complete guide to 12V LED lights for RVs, LEDs are up to 90% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. They last longer, stay cooler, and use less power.
No matter how you power your camping string lights, you’ll want to use as little power as possible, so LED lights are the way to go.
If you intend to use your string lights outside, you’ll want to make sure the ones you’re considering are specifically designed for outdoor use.
Some string lights offer water resistance and protection from the elements in general, while others are made only for indoor use.
Confirm that the camping lights you buy are designed for use in the outdoors if you plan to string them at a campsite rather than inside your RV or car camping vehicle.
The brightness of a light is measured in lumens.
This is something that should be noted on the label or box of any light you purchase.
The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light.
Remember that when you’re camping, you may want to shine a bit of light on a table or on the ground to give some muted mood lighting to the area, or create a little ambiance.
But, you don’t want to overwhelm the appearance of the great outdoors at night (for yourself or your camping neighbors), nor do you want to overwhelm yourself with light inside your tent or RV/camping vehicle.
For this reason, you don’t need to look for high lumens. Just enough brightness to create some ambiance.
LEDs range from cool to warm, referring to the color temperature of the light in degrees Kelvin, or “K” ratings.
You may want to consider going with “natural” or “warm” color LEDs (in the lower Kelvin temperature range).
Higher K lights are cooler, and generally offer too bright a white light for RVs and camping areas.
Decide how you intend to power your camping string lights. Even though LEDs use a small amount of power and you won’t be keeping them on 24 hours a day, you’ll still want to be cognizant of power requirements and usage.
You have options that include traditional 120V electricity (not usually the best for boondocking unless you already keep your inverter on 24/7 due to a special need, such as a residential fridge). There are also battery-operated string lights or solar-powered models (similar to solar lanterns you can place around your campsite).
Many string lights on the market today are USB and/or solar rechargeable.
Depending on the area you want to light inside or outside your rig, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying a long enough string of lights to suit that area.
Of course, multiple strings can do the same job. Just be sure you know where you’ll be getting power from.
A solar panel or two? 120V AC? USB plug? A hand-crank battery? Whatever source you plan to power your lights from, be sure you have enough juice to keep ’em lit!
Camping String Lights for Your RV or Campsite
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular camping string lights for inside and outside your rig. Whether you plan to attach them to a nearby tree (make sure that’s allowed of course), hang them from your awning, or drape them over all lover your rig, there are lots of options.
MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights
No list of camping lights is complete without the mention of a Luci light.
Luci inflatable compact lanterns/power lanterns have been a bit hit with campers, and these solar string lights have quickly become just as popular.
These lights are 18 feet long and warm white, but they also come in an 18′ string of colored lights and in a 44′ warm white string.
All are slowly solar-charged (about 16 hours of direct sunlight is needed to charge fully), or more quickly charged via USB.
Once they’re fully charged, though, you’ll get around 20 hours of battery life from your Luci string lights on the low setting.
At its highest setting, you’ll get 100 lumens (2-4 watts).
The USB port can also charge your phone in a pinch, so your Luci string lights can also act as a little power bank.
They’re waterproof at a rating of IPx4, which means they should have no problem surviving light rain without issue.
Luci string lights wind right back up into their case for easy, compact storage.
- BUILT-IN RECHARGEABLE 2000 mAh LITHIUM-ION BATTERY. With 100 lumens across an 18 ft cord, mobile charging, and lasting up to 20 hours on a single...
- BRIGHT AND LONG LASTING. Emitting 100 lumens of power via 20 warm white LEDs across an 18 ft cord, this light provides up to 20 hours of light on a...
BioLite SiteLight Overhead String Lights
These camping string lights from BioLite offer 150 lumens of ambient light.
Biolite says these lights are dimmable, but this is only true when they’re connected to the BioLite PowerLight or BaseLantern.
You’ll want to note that the light cast is a cool white light, so if you’re looking for a warmer, more yellow light temperature, you may want to look elsewhere.
The cooler the light, the more of a blue cast it throws. Instead of a warm glow, going too cool can make your RV or campsite look like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory! So just be aware of the color of whatever you decide to buy. Not saying these are too cool… just keep it in mind.
These string lights give you 10 feet of cord with 4 lights per strand. There are 21 inches of cord between each light.
These can be daisy-chained if you own more than one set, or connected to other BioLite camping lights.
Power is via USB, and an adapter is included.
- 10 feet (3 meters) of cord - Four lights per strand with 21 inches (533 mm) between each light
- Daisy Chain Output - Connect additional strands or mix and match with other BioLite SiteLights
Coleman OneSource Rechargeable Camping Lights
These are a bit more pricey, but they do come with a 3-year warranty that speaks to Coleman’s confidence in their durability over time.
Coleman’s OneSource string lights offer 20 feet of nylon braided cord with 38 LED lights that can be dimmed from 250 lumens all the way down to 25 lumens.
Powered by a rechargeable battery that’s interchangeable with other Coleman camping lamps, they use about 5 Watts of power. Coleman estimates that you’ll get about 9 hours out of a full charge on high (250 lumens), and about 90 hours on low (25 lumens).
The OneSource string lights are IPX4 water-resistant and have a bail handle for hanging in your tent, on a tree limb, in your RV, or another camping vehicle.
You can charge your phone or other devices off the battery, and the string lights wrap around the battery dock for easy storage.
- CONVENIENT: Coleman OneSource powers your outdoor gear and devices with one interchangeable rechargeable battery system
- ADJUSTABLE: Dim string lights from 250 lumens to 25 lumens
Brightech Ambience Pro USB Powered String Lights
This set of string lights offers 24.5 feet of outdoor shatterproof patio lights that use 1.5W of power. (The portion with lights is 17 feet in length.)
They’re USB powered, so you can use any standard battery pack for portable operation.
Ambience Pro string lights are available in a warm white light (2700K) or a soft white light (3000K), and use “WeatherTite” technology for water resistance.
They’ve been tested successfully in 50mph winds, rain, and snow, and their shatterproof plastic shells have a heat resistance of up to 122°F.
You’ll want to note that these lights can be quite bright. If you’re boondocking in the wilderness, you can light the site up to your heart’s content.
But, if you’re sharing a campground with others, good RV park etiquette suggests that being discreet with sound and lighting is best, as bright lights (and lots of noise) can disturb neighbors.
Brightech offers a 3-year limited warranty on these string lights when they’re purchased from Brightech USA, (which you can do through the link below).
- USB LED String Lights: Take a standard power pack for charging phones and plugin Brightech string lights. Don't need to worry about power off even...
- Commercial Grade WeatherProof Patio Lights with Shatterproof Bulbs: Brightech’s Ambience Pros hanging String light has our WeatherTite technology -...
Coleman LED Lantern String Lights
This is a cute little string of 10 tiny Coleman lanterns strung across 6 feet and powered by 3 AA batteries (not included).
These LED lights are multi-colored and use about 10 Watts of power, offering up to 20 hours of runtime.
We want to reiterate that this is a short string of camping lights (only 6 feet long). But for those looking for a small set of multi-colored lights that run on AA disposable batteries, these little lantern bulbs are a neat camping novelty with lots of great reviews.
- String of Ten tiny LED lanterns
- Portable - powered by 3 AA batteries (sold separately)
LED Lights For Your Entire RV
Besides string lights, we prefer LEDS for everything on our RV. We’re such big fans of LED lights, that we retrofitted virtually 100% of the bulbs on our RV, both inside and out, with M4 LEDs, which are the best-quality lights we’ve ever seen.
If you’re looking to get rid of your rig’s incandescent, halogen, or fluorescent bulbs, and replace them with cool, energy-efficient LEDs, not only do we use and recommend M4, but RVgeeks readers get a discount on every purchase.
We’ve replaced virtually all of the incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen bulbs in our RV with high-quality M4 LEDs. In addition to the power savings while dry camping, we haven't had a single...Show More
We’ve replaced virtually all of the incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen bulbs in our RV with high-quality M4 LEDs. In addition to the power savings while dry camping, we haven't had a single LED bulb fail since upgrading.
Use the discount code listed here to save 5% on your entire order!Show Less
Do You Have a Favorite Set of Camping String Lights?
Do you have a favorite set of string lights to light up your campsite, or do you prefer the light of the stars and/or a campfire?
We love to hear about how our fellow RVers most enjoy camping, so drop us a comment below!
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