You’ve packed your sleeping bag, your tent, the camping stove and plenty of food; but could there be something you are forgetting? We all know that taking a torch camping is a must but what about string lights?
You might think that these serve more of a decorative purpose and of course, they do look wonderful but string lights can also provide much-needed illumination in your camp.
Gone are the days of cheap string lights that fall apart after one use; there are now many excellent products on the market. But how do you choose and which are the best camping string lights?
Latest update: March 2021
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In this article, we will be showing you some of our top picks as well as diving into the world of string lights to find out what a good set really looks like.
Why Do I Need Camping String Lights?
In the simplest terms, you don’t need camping string lights but they certainly make a nice addition to your camp.
Quite often, we find ourselves stumbling around in the dark after the sun goes down and the light from the campfire just isn’t enough. However, as the night draws in, the last thing that you or anyone else in the vicinity wants, are garish flashlights that can be terribly bright. Of course, these serve their purpose but for soft, campsite lighting, string lights are an excellent solution.
In days gone by, string lights may have been hung in a back garden as a decorative feature and probably wouldn’t have lasted more than one season. But the good news is that as technology has moved on, so have string lights. There are now many products that are incredibly durable, provide a good amount of light and look beautiful when hung around your campsite.
So, while you could get along just fine without them, having some string lights adds a homely touch.
OUR TOP PICK
What we find most impressive about these gorgeous lights is the nostalgic design reminiscent of the traditional lightbulb. They have a retro feel and look incredible used both inside the tent and in your outdoor camping areas.
For the price, you are getting an incredible amount of lighting; more than 31 feet and 25 lights, which will provide you with more than enough for an average-sized camp.
They have a waterproof rating of IP44 which means that the lights are splashproof meaning that they can be used in moderate rainfall.
You get three spare bulbs which again, is a nice touch for such an affordable set of lights. There is a built in fuse so you can guarantee that the lights will be safe to use and if one bulb goes, this won’t impact the others.
They are lightweight and easy to carry. The only downside is that they require a connection so might not be suited to wild camping.
If your main aim is to decorate your camp to make it more pleasing on the eye then these stunning flower LED lights are the perfect solution.
There are 60 lights on each string which spans an incredible 36 feet, giving you plenty to go around the camp. The lights have an on/off switch so once you go to sleep, you can conserve power. There is also a choice of eight modes including flashing, fading and twinkling.
The lights are entirely solar powered and so make an excellent choice for anyone not camping on a site where there is access to a power source. The LED bulbs are strong, bright and beautiful.
One of the first things you notice about these lights is that you get an incredible choice where colour is concerned. Choose from multi-coloured, warm white or cool white to get a look that fits your taste.
Each string comes with fifty star lights and measures 23ft. While these may be shorter than some of the others that we have looked at, they are extremely powerful and affordable. This means you can quite easily invest in more than one set.
The lights are waterproof with an IP66 rating making them able to withstand extreme temperatures as well as moisture. They are safe and easy to operate with LED bulbs that give a soft glow creating a welcoming ambiance in your camp.
If you are happy to go with a simple design that is extremely easy to use then this should be your top pick. These lights come in packs of two strings at 10 metres each, that’s plenty of light to adorn your camp.
Being battery powered, they are incredibly efficient for camping. The lights run on normal AA batteries and when running for six hours a day, they will last for up to three days. For a weekend camping trip, you wouldn’t even need to take spare batteries. The battery casing is robust and waterproof with a rating of IP65 which protects it from low pressure jets and sprays as well as residual moisture.
There are a choice of colours which gives you the chance to create a camping haven that matches your personality. The LED lights are bright but can be adjusted to suit your needs. There are also various modes and all of these functions can be controlled with a handy remote control.
YOU CAN CHARGE YOUR PHONE TOO!
The String is such a neat set of fairylights. 10 pairs of LEDs on an 18′ string that all packs away into a tiny cylinder. Up to 20 hours on a full charge (again, solar or USB). is the biggest and BEST Luci to date – four settings with a top illumination of 300 lumens. It’s claimed to last up to 50 hours on a single charge (solar or USB) And it also acts as a power bank for mobile charging – 4,000 maH capacity. Oh, and it’s fully waterproof. Check out the video at the bottom of the page.
This was featured in our Great Gifts for Campers guide
WE ALSO LOVED THIS
The Base is the biggest and BEST Luci to date – four settings with a top illumination of 300 lumens. It’s claimed to last up to 50 hours on a single charge (solar or USB) And it also acts as a power bank for mobile charging – 4,000 maH capacity. Oh, and it’s fully waterproof. This was featured in our Great Gifts for Campers guide
How To Make The Most Of Your Camping String Lights
Once you have chosen your favourite string lights, it’s time to get creative and adorn your camp. While your camp is never going to appear on a TV home decoration show, there is no reason that it can’t have a homely, comforting touch.
The correct placement of your string lights is one of the most important factors to consider. The best way to determine where they will go is to look at how you are going to use them. Some people like to use string lights to illuminate communal areas such as a dining space or lounging area. This is a nice way to add a little light without it being too bright.
You might also install them in one of the tent bedrooms which is particularly useful for children who might be afraid of the dark.
String lights are also an effective way to light paths during the night. If you are wild camping then lighting the way to the toilet area is essential in avoiding trips or accidents under the cover of darkness.
One of the most important things when looking at where to put your string lights is that they do not serve as a tripping hazard. There will typically be a battery pack attached to one end of the lights and a long wire coming from this before any lights. It is important to make sure that this is kept well out of the way, especially if there are small children or pets.
Furthermore, you should always make sure that the string lights are positioned in such a way that they cannot be easily pulled down or tampered with.
Things To Consider When Buying Camping String Lights
It can be tempting to search for a set of string lights and go with the first product you stumble upon. While this may feel much more convenient, there is a chance that you may end up with something that doesn’t meet your needs. While camping string lights are not one of the essential pieces of camping equipment, and certainly not one of the most expensive, you still need to look at the features before making a commitment.
Indoor Or Outdoor?
For the most part, we would imagine that you will be using your camping string lights in outdoor areas of your camp. However, you may decide, as we have discussed, to install them inside the tent.
There are string lights that are made for indoor use and those that are designed to be used outdoors. We would always recommend getting outdoor string lights even if you plan to use them inside your tent as they tend to be much more resilient.
Outdoor string lights will usually be waterproof which is essential if you are camping in the UK; we all know how unpredictable the weather can be.
Most modern string lights come with LED bulbs. These are far preferable to the more old fashioned types of bulbs that were once used for two main reasons.
Primarily, LED bulbs will last much longer and with string lights, when the bulbs go, it typically means buying an entire new set of lights.
What’s more, an LED bulb will generally shine much more brightly. It is unlikely that your string lights will serve as your main light source but there is little point in having them if they emit nothing more than a mild glow.
One of the best things about outdoor fairy lights is that they come in so many different sizes and lengths. Whether you want a single string of a few lights to add a bit of personality to a small area of your camp or something much more dramatic, your choices are anything but limited.
When buying camping string lights, you will typically be given information on how many lights are on each string and the length of each string. Even if your chosen lights come on a small string, they are often affordable enough to invest in several sets. This also gives you the option to go for the less is more approach if you wish.
Alternatively, you could go all out and invest in an LED curtain. These are sheets of string lights that can sometimes cover huge areas as large as a house. While your tent may not need this much illumination, it can be fun to experiment with lengthier string lights for a more dramatic light display.
One of the biggest struggles for people when choosing their camping string lights is that they are spoiled for choice when it comes to design. In much the same way that there are endless choices in length, there are hundreds of styles to choose from.
Whether you want a string of tiny, single lights or an extravagant string of ornate lights, you will certainly be able to find something that matches your style.
You should also be prepared to choose between colours. Often, string lights are white; this could be a soft white for a calmer glow or a bright white which is better when you need maximum illumination.
However, there are also coloured string lights or those that flash. If you want to create a light-filled wonderland and turn your campsite into something rather magical then this is a good way to do it.
Perhaps one of the most important considerations when choosing your camping lights is how they are powered.
In the main, string lights will either be solar-powered or will run on batteries. Both options are excellent for camping especially if you do not have immediate access to electricity.
Both forms of power have their pros and cons. Solar power means that you won’t need to take any additional equipment or replacement batteries. Simply leave the lights outside during the day and they will automatically light up once the sun goes down.
However, solar power is not as reliable as batteries and even though you may need to take replacements, these are small and will not take up huge amounts of space in your pack.
Since your camping string lights will be going on lots of adventures with you, it is important that you find a product that will be durable and won’t break the moment you hang them around your camp.
The most important thing to look out for is a battery pack that is secure and hard-wearing. But you should also keep an eye out for string lights that are well put together and made from quality materials that are designed for outdoor use.
Adding some string lights to your camp can benefit you in several ways. Not only do they make a nice aesthetic addition but they are also a great way of providing low level light.
It is important to look at such factors as length, style, durability and whether the lights are intended to be used outdoors.
You certainly won’t be short on choices as there are thousands of options out there but we believe that this selection of the best camping string lights has everything you would expect from a product like this.