Shedding Light On Camping Accommodations

by Ken Morris

While a certain percentage of avid campers prefer to see by the light of a wood fire and a simple flashlight, there are dozens of choices when it comes to lighting the way around an outdoor site. Some of these alternatives involve electricity, while others call for bringing along a kerosene lamp or propane for such items as a cook stove.

Should the camper decide to stay with a simpler plan, such as a combination of wood fire and fuel-driven lamps, preparations will include stocking up on wood, liquid fuel and wicks for the lamps. As a backup plan or alternative, many campers who rely on natural fuels for light also take along battery-powered flashlights and lanterns for those wet nights and quick trips away from the campsite. This was the case for us on our last trip to Benidorm, Spain.

But if the climate you are traveling to calls for more comfort than wood and fuel lamps can provide, it may be necessary to make arrangements for a campsite with electricity. When campers move beyond the more “primitive” level of tent camping and open fires, they often arrive at their outdoor destination in a truck-mounted camper or self-contained motor home. Connecting to electrical service at the campsite provides power for cooking, indoor lighting, recharging battery-powered items and much more. (While some campers and RVs may have electric heat, campers are often warmed by bottled LP gas.)

With most campgrounds it will be necessary to take a few minutes for booking the electric campsite, as the number of RV campers has gone through an amazing growth in recent years. A few minutes spent confirming that a site with electricity will be waiting at the other end of the trip will eliminate most of the stress that comes with making a home away from home. As the family settles in at their “electric” campsite, a number of amenities become available. One family member may prepare a meal on an electric stove or on a range supplied by the same bottled LP gas that serves the camper’s heater. Other family members can turn on a chair-side or bedside electric lamp and read, just as they would at home.

Campers and equipment companies have added another option to the list of ways to shed light on your campsite. In some ways, this new method is a return to the natural sources such as wood. When the sun shines, campers now have the option of operating solar-powered accessories for hours. A unique item known as the photovoltaic cell gathers the sun’s energy and stores it in rechargeable batteries. The best thing about this method: the batteries are often lighter and less bulky than batteries used for traditional flashlights and lanterns because the bulbs require less power.

No matter how you choose to light your way when camping, plan for two methods of lighting. The choices are there!

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