Lighting up your tent at Burning Man

lantern on a table

Lighting up your home at Burning Man

Lighting options and battery technologies have been changing and improving rather rapidly in recent years with the cost of lights going down and their capacity and illumination going up. I used to bring camping lanterns and items sold specifically for camping. Now I bring a mix of those types of lights and some softer lights too.

Bring a few in-tent lanterns

Obviously, you need to see and find the stuff inside your tent at night. I find that tabletop lanterns work well for interior tent lighting, though they can be bulky. There are so many smaller, high-lumens lights available now. Relying on my headlamp alone for lighting inside my tent doesn’t cut it for me. I like the interior lanterns and the sense of home they provide.

Usually I turn one of these lanterns on in the early evening when I’m back at camp and starting to shift from dusk into night. Around these hours, I’m eating dinner, probably doing a sponge bath and some personal care, and getting dressed and provisioned for the night ahead.

I also like to keep a soft light on most of the night as it feels like my house porch light when I come back from being out and about. This is my thing. Doesn’t have to be yours. I like the Luci lights because they are solar, easily recharged and collapsible. I also really like the Black Diamond Moji lanterns and have a bunch of them. They’re little, and they put out a nice soft light; nothing harsh and glaring.

I also like lights with brightness options so that I can increase or decrease my tent lighting as I want. I recommend bringing more lights than you think you’ll need. If you buy better quality lights, they’ll likely last longer. If you buy cheaper lights, you could get a dud or two.

Set the mood with some really soft interior lights

I really like small lantern string lights, and I love the homey feel they provide. They certainly don’t pack well, and they haven’t weathered well over the years, but I do like them a lot. This is a luxe item, for sure. If you’re into mood lighting, go for these or something similar. They can make hanging out in your tent at night feel more intimate and sweet and not so glaring and impersonal as some of the harsher LED lights do.

Batteries, bring extras

You’re going to need AA and AAA batteries for most of your gear. Make sure you check all your gear ahead of time to know what kind of and how many batteries you’ll need. Also, if you’ve stored your lights and other battery-requiring gear with the batteries in them (your headlamp, for example), the battery juice could be really low. Check your battery status before heading out to the playa. Bring what you need! And some extras, just in case.

Photo by Matheus Kohler on Unsplash

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