Monday, August 24, 2015

Camping Lights

Remember those days of camping?  Out in the woods, sometimes even just a blanket made into a tent in the backyard!

Today, camping is something completely and totally unrelated to those tent days.

Over the years I've camped "under the stars" using just a sleeping bag made up folded blankets until I could afford to buy one.  I've camped in those old Army canvas tents.  Even the newer nylon ones.

As I matured (aka got old) I found that the ground didn't give as much as it used to when I was young.  In fact, it don't give at all.

In come the popup campers.  Shortly after getting married, we got a popup camper. My wife was insistent it had to have "solid" walls on the sides.  Don't ask me why!!  We bought a Palomino and it was great with an inside stove, frig and two slide-out beds and a large amount of storage.  She loved the fold-up cupboards.  And, yes, it had snap walls that created the illusion of solid walls.

But this was supposed to be about lights.  I'm getting there.

It was about this time in history, mid/late 70s that I noticed campers were getting a tad more sophisticated.  Electricity seemed to be more readily available.

Lighting up the campsite, at first, was using the Coleman lantern which, after you pumped it up and got the filament ignited - cast light at least 20 feet away.  In the Boy Scouts, about 4 of them and you had the area well lighted.

We finally moved away from the popup camper and got us a driving unit. Yes, the RV, the Land Yacht, as my one friend called it.  A simple RV - 28 ft long, sleeps 8 somewhat comfortably dependent upon size.  Everyone loves it since tooling down the highway, it is so easy for a person to amble back to the restroom and doesn't have to bother the driver to stop at the next available gas station.  Of course, most of the passengers get very upset if I decide to get up to use the rest room. For me, it is still about finding a place to pull over and stop.  Of course, it doesn't have to be a gas station.

Again, about the lights.  Well, my RV has a 16 foot awning.  It needed lights!  My first lights to buy were simple.  Plain lights, 10 of them.  Wow!  So impressive.  Next time out, I found a string of cool stars in red, white and blue.  Definitely, that was an upgrade.  Still, I wasn't satisfied.  I discovered a string of pink flamingoes - 10 of them.  Unfortunately, even though I was excited, my wife and our camping buddies, well, they weren't as excited about them.  So, I finally settled on a string of bamboo lanterns.

Sure, they looked good.  In fact, all of them looked good but... well, I wasn't satisfied.

I discovered LEDs.  In fact, I found a string - 16.4 feet long - consisting of 300 LEDs and the great thing was ... they could be almost any color I wanted them to be.  They flashed.  They faded.  They were fantastic!!  I was in Heaven.  Oh, did I mention there is a remote control so I can change the colors on the fly and decide if they will flash or fade in their rotation.  Here's some images.  Yes, I know it is daylight.  In the dark, they really stand out.
Let's make the lights red - my wife don't like this color...
(I think she associates it with some district. LOL)

This is with the lights on blue...

And now they're green...

Press a button - orange...
Here is what purple looks like...

And here they are - turquoise...

Yes, my lights were noticed by other campers - mostly kids who thought the rotating colors were cool.  One young lad brought his dad back to show him and they asked where I got them.  I wasn't going to keep it a secret.  I bought them on Amazon and the price was very good.  How do I know? Another camper talked with me and she was very upset with her husband because he got his lights at a certain camper store and paid over $200 for them last year.  Uh, I paid about $27 for mine.  What is really nice is the fact they are LEDs and don't use too much electricity and don't get hot.

This Halloween, the campground we go to on a regular basis will be having their bash. It is worth the trip just to see how the campsites are decorated.  I can only imagine the meters will be spinning so fast, you'll never see the marker on it.  They (the campers) decorate the trees, put out those blow-up Halloween decorations and it is just unbelievable.  We were leaving on Friday morning and some of the people had come in on Thursday and started decorating.  I couldn't believe it. Ghosts, goblins, witches, haunted this and that - I was going to be quite the show.  They even have a contest for the best decorated campsite.  THEN, the kids go Trick-or-Treating.  Imagine, 200 campsites and probably most of them are participating.  We wanted to join in the festivities this year but the two weekends are already booked full... over 2 months away!!  Next year, for sure!!

I've been moving all my outdoor lights at the house to LED.  Here's my simple glass ball globe that I have outside.  I change the color of it with the holidays.  At Halloween, I put orange string of LEDs in it.  At Christmas, a multi-color LED string of lights.  Valentine gets red and of course, St Patrick's Day gets green.  This is what the Christmas globe looks like.

The colors are muted due to camera, but in real life, there are points of different colors.

Yes, I love to play with lights. I got some ideas of other things to do - it just takes time to get all the kinks worked out.

Until next I ramble on...


  1. We traveled full-time in our RV for 6 years and enjoyed the creativity of those who displayed wind creatures and fun lights. Looks like you're having loads of fun.

    1. I'm not going to go crazy with all those silly things like wind creatures, plants, signs, flags - oh, who am I kidding? I've already designed our "name" plaque and know where two shepherd hooks are and picking out the plants to take. Even got my eye on a carpet to keep the dirt down. I know I have to take the plants along - got 2 pots on the porch and each time we come back, they are near death for lack of water. I'd love to travel full time but the wife needs roots - so she says. lol.