Indoor camping lights

Getting indoor camping lights is a great way to enhance your indoor camping experience. They provide illumination and ambiance that’s similar to what you would have inside of a tent or outside during dusk or sunrise. A great light can completely transform the mood inside of a room or the makeshift ten. 

Best lights for indoor camping are either lanterns, string lights or table lamps, which you can also re-use for other purposes. Read the Quick guide to get necessary information about which light to get if you need information quickly. Or read the detailed guide if you want to pick the ideal product carefully.

Quick guide

Best lights for indoor camping are either lanterns, string lights or table lamps. If you plan to enjoy indoor camping with children or pets, get the LED lights for safety reasons as they don’t produce heat that much. If warranty is important to you, buy the lights from a reputable local brand that repairs them locally. If the lamp is from other countries, like China, you may have to send it abroad for repair.

Choose the type of lights that suits your needs the best. Each type has its own advantages:

Lanterns – they cast the light in all directions, but still leave pockets of darkness in the room or tent where you do indoor camping. They are the best if you need portable illumination. Get the lantern for which it says that it can produce soft white light, warm white light or equivalent of 1800 to 3000 K color temperature. This will create the illumination most similar to camping inside of a tent during night. Get the LED lantern if safety from heat (for pets or children) is an issue, as they overheat the least. Also, if you need a battery-operated one, check how long the battery lasts and if that’s enough for you.

String lights – also known as Christmas lights. Their advantage is that you can spread them around to customize the illumination the way you want it, and re-use them for Christmas and other holidays. Get the ones with big bulbs, if you need illumination for activities, not only for decoration. Also, they come in a variety of colors and styles, so choose  what suits you the best. The classic ones that have white or yellow color are good too. Get the LED ones if safety from heat is an issue.

Lamps – a decorative or a table lamp is a great choice as you can reuse it as a regular lamp in your daily life. Choose the one that offers different color settings so that you can dim them as necessary. But for indoor camping, it should have the color setting of 3000 K and under, which gives a soft warm light to simulate a relaxing light associated with camping. It should also have other stronger settings that’s good for activities of daily life. The lamp should have a non-slip base to provide stability on surfaces. Choose the one with a long cord to move it around easily. Get the LED lamp if you need safety from heat.

Detailed guide

Indoor camping lantern

Lantern in front of a wooden wall
Photo by Oliver King from Pexels

Lanterns cast light in all directions and illuminate an entire area of a tent or room.  It will still leave pockets of darkness in the room or tent, which will make the indoor camping experience feel as if camping outside during the night.

Power source

Modern lanterns have a light coming from the light bulb or LED. They are often powered by electricity, solar energy or batteries. Old-fashioned ones have a candle in a glass enclosure, sometimes with a handle on top. The other type of old-fashioned lanterns are powered by fuel.
If you buy the battery powered lantern, pay attention to how long the battery lasts. This is measured in mAh (milliampere-hour), which tells how long the electrical charge of the battery lasts. The more the mAh, the more the battery will last. Also, the brightness of the light will often wane as the battery is more drained, so pay attention to that.

Quality of illumination

Luminous power of a lantern is measured in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. So a lantern with more lumens will emit more light, but will also get heated more. Therefore, if you need a lantern with brighter light, make sure that the built of the lantern can handle the heat. 

Lanterns can have a brighter light that illuminates everything, or a softer light that illuminates less, making the area feel more homely. You will probably want a latner with a softer light for indoor camping experience.

Another important measurement is a Kelvin color temperature measured in Kelvins, with symbol K.

The color temperature scale relevant for lanterns suitable for indoor camping goes like this:

  • Less than 1850K  – candle flame to matchstick flame level, and the color of a sunset/sunrise
  • 1850 K to 2700K – soft white glow, yellowish in appearance
  • 2700K-3000K – warm white, yellowish glow
  • 3000K-3500K – Studio lamp level, but still yellowish in nature. This level is already suitable for kitchen and work spaces.
  • 3500K and more – going towards daylight level.

As you can see from above, the best lanterns for indoor camping are less than 1850K for decorative light that simulates the candles. They are also good as light for illuminating smaller areas,like inside of a tent and activities near the lantern, e.g. playing cards.

From 1850K to 3000K for lanterns that give enough light for activities, but still give the soft white glow for camping experience.

Design differences

Lanterns come in different shapes, weights and sizes.

First, you can get a portable lantern with a battery, or one powered by electricity with an electrical wire. A lantern with a wire may be enough for a lantern used indoors. But, if you hate wires, you might consider getting a portable one.

You can also buy a lantern that can be hanged or that can stand on its own.

Lanterns come with different shades, filters and diffusers. Some of them are great for creating a great ambient light.

They can also have adjustable intensity levels, which is great as you can use the weaker light for indoor camping, and stronger light for other task-oriented purposes.

Some lanterns change light colors which is great if you want to have different colors for indoor camping.

In the age of connectivity, some lanterns can be remote-operated with Bluetooth, Wifi and infrared technology, or operated through various smartphone apps.


LED lanterns will produce the least heat, so they are safer around children or pets. Therefore they are more suited for indoor camping experience with children or pets.

Lanterns should also be durable and last long enough. Most of them are made of plastic which can be a great and durable material. Best advice to check durability of the lantern is to read online reviews for the product. Also, buying the lantern from a reputable brand increases the likelihood of getting a quality lantern.

It’s important to pay attention to the warranty. If your lantern breaks, you will probably want to fix it through warranty. Buy the lantern from the company that offers customer service locally, to avoid needing to send it to another country for repair.

Indoor camping string lights

String lights
Photo by Dzenina Lukac from Pexels

String lights are often more known as Christmas lights.

They are great for indoor camping because you can spread them, and customize how you want to illuminate the area, or decorate it with ambient light. You can also re-use them for Christmas or other holidays.

Power source

String lights are divided into incandescent and LED lights.

Incandescent lights have a warmer glow and they are cheaper than LED lights. LED lights often use less energy, last longer and heat slower.

Bulb size

String lights have different bulb sizes. Large bulb lights often provide better illumination, and are better if you use them as light sources for activities. Smaller bulbs are better for decoration and providing ambiance, and better if you want to wrap them around poles and other furniture. 

Different types

There are many different types of string lights. You will usually find them under names like “string lights” or “Christmas lights” when searching the web shops.

Here are different types that can help you find what you need. Note that most lights can be more than one type:

Incandescent string lights – these are the most classic Christmas lights that use incandescent light bulbs. They can come in many different colors.

Lights with big bulbs – the best type if you need lots of light. Those are the best for indoor camping if you need light for activity, and not only for decoration.

Smart lights – this can be operated remotely through an app.

Rope lights – those are more often LED, and they are great for decorating pathways, staircases and doorways.

Net lights – those lights have a wire looking like a net, which means they can be stretched over structures, furniture, walls and trees.

Animated lights – these lights often change colors in an animated sequence.

Icicle lights – those have tiny white lights that simulate icicles and fallen snow.


To ensure safety, don’t leave lights turned on all the time to prevent overheating. Use smart plugs or timers if you want to automate when the lights should turn on and off. 

LED lights heat slower. They also have an epoxy covering, and not glass so they are less likely to break. They are also more expensive than incandescent lights. Don’t power too many lights in the same extension cord or outlet. Buy lights from reputable brands.

Indoor camping lamps

Table lamp on a table
Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

You can also get a decorative or a table lamp. Getting a lamp for indoor camping is a great option if you want to use the lamp in your daily life too.

Power source

Most common table lamps are LED lamps or lamps with incandescent light bulbs. LED lamps will consume less energy and heat slower. As you will be placing the lamp on the floor, table and everywhere else, you risk feeling the heat due to  the lamp getting hot. To avoid that, get the LED lamp because they produce the least amount of heat.

Also, lamps with long power cords are moved easier. Get the lamp with a cord over 4 feet. Some lamps, especially the ones suitable for outdoor use too, are battery-operated. Therefore, they are cordless and easily transportable. There are lamps that are solar powered as well. 


Get the dimmable lamps. With those lamps you can adjust the brightness and dim the lights as necessary. In that way you can achieve warm brightness to illuminate the inside of your makeshift tent when indoor camping while still preserving pockets of darkness. 

Also, some lamps come with USB ports so that you can use them to charge your devices.

You can also get a smart plug for the lamp. You can use it to control the lamp by voice or mobile app. You can use it to turn on/off the lamp,  adjust the color or  hue of the lamp and more. Some lamps also have timers so that they can turn on and off automatically.

Different color settings

You can get a lamp with different color settings to achieve different ambiances and adjust for different activities. Color temperature is represented with a measurement unit K (Kelvin).

Color setting for 3000 K gives a warm white color for relaxation. This is the color setting most suitable for indoor camping. 4000K gives cool white color for reading and

5000K gives daylight color for focusing on important tasks.


Lamps made from metal, such as aluminum, will be pretty durable. Try to get the one with a non-slip base to ensure stability and that the lamp can’t be moved easily. Some lamps are also waterproof. This is an important quality if you plan to do indoor camping with children and pets. They can spill drinks and damage the lamp.


To ensure safety, get the lamps that are ETL Listed or UL listed. This means that the product passed the electrical safety tests and got safety certifications.

It’s also important to buy from a local reputable brand and that it comes with a warranty. In that way you can repair it through your warranty without the need to send it to another country.