Every camper needs a good portable light source - it's absolutely essential to find your way back after an evening out.
Today the best of these are fitted with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). They give really bright light as well as long battery life.
It's definitely worth considering a head torch. These may not look very elegant, but they direct light exactly where you're looking and leave both your hands free.
You are also likely to need some more powerful light to see what you’re doing in and around your tent or outside your caravan or motorhome.
Many campers choose a traditional lantern. Lanterns come powered by a variety of fuels and in a large range of sizes and qualities.
Most popular are gas lanterns, which are powered by small disposable cartridges filled with Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), normally butane or propane or sometimes a cocktail of both.
Any gas equipment has its dangers but if it's used sensibly it has a remarkably good safety record. Nevertheless, manufacturers still recommend you don’t use a gas lantern inside your tent.
Liquid fuel lanterns
The main brand here is Coleman and not surprisingly the fuel is called Coleman fuel. In fact, Coleman fuel is simply a very clean version of the same unleaded petrol you probably put in your car.
If you buy Coleman fuel in small cans in a camping shop you’ll find it quite expensive. If you fill up at the local petrol pump it’s certainly the cheapest way of lighting your camp.
Electric lanterns are available of course and today the best of these are fitted with LEDs. Others have a fluorescent bulb giving a reasonable light and battery life but not as good as LEDs. These lanterns can run off ordinary batteries, rechargeable ones or an inbuilt rechargeable power pack. This power pack can be charged from the mains, a 12V leisure battery in your car, using a winding handle, by solar power or – in some of the more pricey units – by any of these methods.
Electric lanterns are simple and easy to use without the fuel challenges of gas or liquid fuel lights.
Storing liquid fuels safely
Some people are less than happy filling lamps with petrol, and indeed storing petrol around their campsite, but with the right precautions and a sensible approach to using and storing fuel, these can be safe products.
It’s absolutely essential that you use a properly-labelled purpose built container to transport and store any unleaded petrol you use.