Primitive camping in the middle of nowhere can seem like paradise on Earth if you are into total darkness. It can get creepy dark in the middle of the woods. At a campground however, it is just the opposite. Campers who are not necessarily into a lot of artificial lighting can find themselves annoyed when there is too much of it. Thus is the well-known lighting dilemma among RV owners.
There are times when lighting is indispensable. For example, winter campers can find themselves setting up in the dark if they don’t arrive until late afternoon. A bit of light goes a long way when you’re trying to install your AirSkirts inflatable RV skirting.
On the other hand, there are times when campers would rather do without the lights. They do not want external lighting when they are trying to sleep. They do not want any unnecessary lighting when they are trying to star gaze. You get the point.
1. Campground Lighting
Though there are no hard and fast rules dictating how much lighting campgrounds should have, the general rule among property owners is to keep it to a minimum. You generally won’t find streetlamps unless you are staying in a luxury campground designed to be more like a permanent residential neighborhood.
Conversely, you will find external lighting around public restrooms, laundry facilities, the main office, etc. If you happen to be camping in a site within view of such facilities, you may have no other choice but to live with the external lighting.
2. Your Own Lighting
The bigger issue for many campers is the lighting their neighbors bring with them. It is obvious that RVs have interior lights built in. Those lights are going to be on for a certain number of hours each evening. Neighbors expect that. But what about exterior lighting?
A hand-held lantern or two is generally enough to let you move around your site at night. A flashlight works well enough to get you to and from the restrooms. When considering any lighting option, be cognizant of the fact that you have neighbors. Try to keep exterior lighting to a minimum whenever possible. Also consider turning off your exterior lights before you go to bed.
3. Decorative RV Lighting
You cannot talk about RV lighting without talking about the decorative lights RV owners hang on their rigs. It is not unusual to see campgrounds lit up like Christmas year-round. It’s just a thing with RV owners. They love to adorn their motor homes and trailers with decorative light strings.
A general rule of etiquette is to treat decorative lighting the same way you would if you were decorating a brick-and-mortar house. Excessive and gaudy may get a lot of attention, but the attention probably won’t be good. Feel free to decorate as you see fit. But be tasteful about it. Also do your best to use soft lights whenever possible.
The one exception here might be during the actual Christmas holidays. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, it may be okay to go a little bit overboard. In some campgrounds, full-time RV years actually have their own holiday lighting competitions. If there is an occasion for which excess lighting is tolerated, it is the Christmas season.
Campers tend to have a love-hate relationship with lighting. Lighting is sometimes a necessary tool. Other times it is an enjoyable decorative element. But too much light can ruin the camping experience. The trick is figuring out the difference. Get it right and you will have just enough light to make camping comfortable without ruining the ambiance. Get it wrong and you could have some unhappy neighbors.