Camp and self lighting for beginners

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Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby RaRa » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:36 pm

I'm looking for information on the "best" lighting solution for both my camp area and lighting myself at night. When I say "best" info what I'm looking for is experienced users advise (I'm only a second year burner myself). Ideally I want to be cost effective and enviornmentally friendly. I am open to DIY, to a point. But electronics is not my strong suit.

So here's my situation: I'm camping on my own in a large passenger van which serves as my sleeping qaurters. The seat in the back folds down to a bed, I keep the back doors open and live out of that. The van is covered by a 10x20 foot costco carport. I have two nice LED latterns that plug in to a solar powered battery. So that generally lights the "veranda" living space I get out the back of my van at night.

What I need to light is the inside of the van (without using car battery of course) and the actual carport so I can at least give myself a better fighting chance at finding my camp when I finally decide to come home in the dark ;-) The solar batter is not an option for these two things. I contemplated the following for inside the van and hung on the outside/entrance of shelter
- Battery powered rope lights
- batter powered christmas lights
- El Wire
- Saw a posting about putting light strands in bottles and jars to keep dust out, liked that plus it might look really cool.

Things I want to consider:
- COST - i'm extremly cost limited and would love recommendations of the best/cheapest places to order things online
- what will survive the elements

In terms of lighting myself at night - I muddled my way through last year, but would love suggestions on best approach for this as well. Can I make do with glow sticks, led sticks and blinkies of all sorts from head to toe?




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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:45 pm

Battery powered christmas lights work great. The solar powered ones don't seem to be bright enough for me, but others like Figjam have had better results. Two battery powered strings hung up would be all the ambient light that you would need.

Beyond that, some cheapie LED magnetic lights and flashlights from Harbor Freight will do you right.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:15 pm

We use solar walk lights purchased from the depot for 4.00 each to light our camp. Just test them before hitting the playa to make sure they work well and the batteries are good.

A quick easy personal illumination idea is the get an el wire kit from bike glow and just drape it around your neck a few turns (loosely). It is easily switched as you change outfits too. We got this idea from our neighbor Chris last burn, and it is very effective and under 15.00
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Trishntek » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:32 pm

Something I have been impressed with, and plan to add to our various play areas for illuminating tables is book-reading lamps. There are some that use THREE AAA batteries and you can choose either to use one or two LED's. We have used them here to illuminate wall art with great success. They claim to last 48 hours on a set of batteries. We have found that to be a conservative estimation based upon the use of the TWO LED's option. They also have a very robust clamp which can attach to something as large as 1 inch EMT without a problem. They also have a flexible 10 inch goose neck which makes them easily adaptable.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FLEXIBLE-BOOK-READING-LED-CLIP-BRIGHT-LIGHT-LAMP-/120775458103?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1ec73d37#ht_1892wt_990
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Homiesinheaven » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:40 pm

doesn't get much cheaper than this:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6483

just allow yourself 15 days to receive it cause it ships from China.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby tahiti_treat » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:04 am

I had all sort of self-lighting options last year, including EL wire, xmas light type things, and LED glow sticks, but my favourite was my trusty headlamp. I have one that has a "red" setting so I left it on that and let it hang around my neck. It provided plenty of illumination (especially on the boobs) so I could be seen and I could turn on the white light easily if I needed to go to the bathroom. That was really all I needed for my front - for my back I most often used the xmas lights (attached to my backpack).
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby tattoogoddess » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:20 am

Homiesinheaven wrote:doesn't get much cheaper than this:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6483

just allow yourself 15 days to receive it cause it ships from China.



I have those same ones. Paid $1.04 with free shipping, They are BRIGHT!!n Im thinking of maybe buying another one or 2 cause they are so kick ass.
http://myworld.ebay.com/fashionyouworld ... 4340.l2559


I also bough a string of solar light on christmas clearance. They seem to work well. Guess we will see on the playa.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Father_Burn » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:01 pm

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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby BBadger » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:44 pm

Homiesinheaven wrote:doesn't get much cheaper than this:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6483

just allow yourself 15 days to receive it cause it ships from China.


You mean give yourself 15 days on top of the 15 days or more they'll take to actually find what you're buying to begin shipping it. I always laughed at people who paid for the more expensive EMS shipping they'd offer to shave off a day or two, when the majority of time it took for the product to make it to your door was DX finding it and packaging it for shipping. Don't get me wrong, I love DX, but a DX order is something you plan a few months in advance of when you'll need it.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby CornMan » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:21 am

I've had luck with propane lanterns. You can get some high temp spray paint for engines and lightly spray the glass globe for a more colorful look. It adds warmth to the coldness of the LEDs.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:53 am

There are SO MANY flashing, blinking lights of every imaginable color, that adding one more bit of lighting may end up confusing you. But don't let that stop you from trying.
I often use the surrounding lights as a guide to my camp. But if I wanted to go big, I would get one of those serious battery powered strobe lights that they put on life jackets, erect a tall pole and send it aloft. The neighbors won't complain, since they will end up using it as a guide as well.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Homiesinheaven » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:08 pm

BBadger wrote:You mean give yourself 15 days on top of the 15 days or more they'll take to actually find what you're buying to begin shipping it. I always laughed at people who paid for the more expensive EMS shipping they'd offer to shave off a day or two, when the majority of time it took for the product to make it to your door was DX finding it and packaging it for shipping. Don't get me wrong, I love DX, but a DX order is something you plan a few months in advance of when you'll need it.


yeah, DX is kinda weird but my order only took 15 days. maybe i was lucky...
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby garyt » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:08 am

I go to a dollar store and pickup like 10-15 of those solar powered landscaping lights to lid up my area. I usually put it next to all my stakes and anchors. You could spend a little more and get better ones which will last longer. As for the inside, I used two of those coleman D-cell lanterns. Last year I went to big lots and other thrift stores and found christmas LED lights powered with AA batteries to add ambiance.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby CapSmashy » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:34 am

BBadger wrote:You mean give yourself 15 days on top of the 15 days or more they'll take to actually find what you're buying to begin shipping it. I always laughed at people who paid for the more expensive EMS shipping they'd offer to shave off a day or two, when the majority of time it took for the product to make it to your door was DX finding it and packaging it for shipping. Don't get me wrong, I love DX, but a DX order is something you plan a few months in advance of when you'll need it.


I think the longest wait I have ever had from them was 3 weeks. Most of our orders here shown up within 10 or so days.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby CapSmashy » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:36 am

Why buy boring white leds when you can get rgb's for a little more.

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/30-led-3m- ... -3xaa-6488
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Trishntek » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:11 am

garyt wrote:I go to a dollar store and pickup like 10-15 of those solar powered landscaping lights to lid up my area. I usually put it next to all my stakes and anchors. You could spend a little more and get better ones which will last longer. As for the inside, I used two of those coleman D-cell lanterns. Last year I went to big lots and other thrift stores and found christmas LED lights powered with AA batteries to add ambiance.


Recently, I purchase 24 of those dollar store lights. We had a group campout recently and I had let the lights charge for several days prior. I now have SIX that actually work for more than and hour. So for $24, I paid $4 each for the ones that actually work.

I have some I bought 2 years ago and have survived one burn that I paid $4 each for at the big box store. Out of 24 of those, 19 are still going strong and ready for the playa again this year.

You get what you pay for,,,, jus' sayin'
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby CapSmashy » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:14 am

Getting those lights to work may be as simple as putting in a new battery. Most of them use a AA sized rechargeable.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:16 pm

We like detailed questions on eplaya! I need X, I researched Y, my constraints are Z.

The most sustainable solution is something you would use year round or several times a year.

Snow Koan Solar will solar charge batteries on playa you could use for other uses in the year. The Alternative Energy Zone village has many experts on solar and batteries.

Lumens per Watt is most efficient with LEDs, EL wire much less so, but it is a great on playa on body source.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Lonesomebri » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:22 pm

A couple of those beautiful Chinese Lanterns, the rice paper candle balloon types, released within the Costco carport shade shelter will provide all the ambient illumination needed to carry out important tasks like fleeing for your life and screaming "Holy shit".
If the weather cooperates, with the wind blowing just right, releasing a few of these lanterns outside will help illuminate the entire neighborhood.

Thanks for all the great ideas everyone, I’m here for contrast.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:38 pm

Candle lanterns are one of the most dangerous things on the playa and are banned.

A candle lantern balloon touching down in a camp could easily start a wind driven fire which would result in large scale loss of life and the end of the event.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:35 am

It's hard to tell with that cute puppy smile, but those flames all around Lonesomebri might indicate that he's sent by the devil to disseminate false information.

Indeed, some seeing eye, bad idea. but a funny post bad idea
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Lonesomebri » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:28 am

So I can't release flaming Chinese Lanterns inside the privacy of my shade shelter?
Telling people that is dangerous.........yeah..........get out the word!!!!
I feel I should maybe also warn people to not snort the dust either........

I assumed the included photo of the forest fire would convey..........something........

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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:13 am

Some eplaya readers are not as smart as you.

Risk is probability x impact of fail. If the impact of fail is severe, it's worth spending energy preventing it. Individual risk taking of death or injury on the playa I have no problem with. And there have been a small number of playa related deaths. Risking others I have a problem with. Risking the event few would favor.

The event is always one lawsuit or administrative judgement away from ending. Testosterone-fueled pronouncements on eplaya significantly increase that risk, and are just antisocial.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:09 pm

some seeing eye wrote:Some eplaya readers are not as smart as you.

Translation: Some eplaya readers are such brain dead idiots that I feel I have to endumben my communication simply so they don't trip over their own feet, fall and hit their heads, giving themselves lobotomies that kill off those half dozen remaining braincells.

I do not like this situation, yet I fear I must respect this reality...
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby BBadger » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:46 pm

Trishntek wrote:Recently, I purchase 24 of those dollar store lights. We had a group campout recently and I had let the lights charge for several days prior. I now have SIX that actually work for more than and hour. So for $24, I paid $4 each for the ones that actually work.

I have some I bought 2 years ago and have survived one burn that I paid $4 each for at the big box store. Out of 24 of those, 19 are still going strong and ready for the playa again this year.


I bought some of those cheapo lights and inside each one is a NiCd AAA battery (not the AA it specifies on the labeling). That type of rechargeable battery has a memory effect, which means you have to discharge the batteries fully periodically to get back lost capacity. So I got to thinking (or just wondering) if the charge cycle of the batteries is best served by not charging them for a few days prior, but instead to let them charge and then fully discharge as if they were left in the lawn night after night.

I'll have to experiment with this more.

Lonesomebri wrote:If the weather cooperates, with the wind blowing just right, releasing a few of these lanterns outside will help illuminate the entire neighborhood.


So that's how Bambi's forest burnt down! :(
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby garyt » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:31 am

Trishntek wrote:Recently, I purchase 24 of those dollar store lights. We had a group campout recently and I had let the lights charge for several days prior. I now have SIX that actually work for more than and hour. So for $24, I paid $4 each for the ones that actually work.

I have some I bought 2 years ago and have survived one burn that I paid $4 each for at the big box store. Out of 24 of those, 19 are still going strong and ready for the playa again this year.

You get what you pay for,,,, jus' sayin'


Agreed. However, my budget was just not working for me. I got it last minute because I had $10 to spare otherwise I would not have even gotten them. I made sure to try each of them at the store and even then maybe a few died on the playa and it didn't last all night. So yeah, not the best of quality but its like panda express, its so cheap it doesn't matter if it taste like cardboard, so as long it fills the belly. :p
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby Lonesomebri » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:39 am

BBadger wrote:
Lonesomebri wrote:If the weather cooperates, with the wind blowing just right, releasing a few of these lanterns outside will help illuminate the entire neighborhood.


So that's how Bambi's forest burnt down! :(


BAMBI WAS ON FIRE WHEN I GOT THERE !!!!!!

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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby tisha2 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:35 am

def agree that a simple headlamp is the way to go for personal lighting. resuable and not trash. be sure to bring plenty of extra batteries. and this doesn't exactly meet your needs for finding camp, but it's a great way to also use your headlamp to light your camp when you're in it:

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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby gyre » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:22 am

some seeing eye wrote:
Lumens per Watt is most efficient with LEDs, EL wire much less so, but it is a great on playa on body source.

Any figures on this?
I've seen suggestions that elwire is very efficient, but no real comparable specs.

I'm sure you are aware that LEDs vary drastically in efficacy.

I lean toward the high output LEDs for this purpose, but I don't have specs for dimmer LEDs in lumens.
I like the very wide dispersion without optics.
Efficiency isn't impressive, but the flexibility in running down to very low voltage seems like a big benefit when running off battery packs.

Last I checked, the better fluorescents are still more efficient than LEDs, past a very low output threshold, but LEDs may be enough light.
12 vdc lamps and fixtures are widely available.

Depends on how much light you want.
I find it possible to get by with low light most of the time, but always need brighter light at times.

If you are running battery packs, convert to D cells when possible.

Be aware that most nimh C or D cells are not, just AA.
There are adapters.
Use those before buying fake D cells.
There are real nimh D cells.
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Re: Camp and self lighting for beginners

Postby portaplaya » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:56 am

RaRa wrote:What I need to light is the inside of the van (without using car battery of course) and the actual carport so I can at least give myself a better fighting chance at finding my camp when I finally decide to come home in the dark ;-)


I think you over-estimate how difficult it is to find your camp. Once the playa is populated, you never really get the full-darkness that happens on a moonless night in early august. And in this case the moon will be full on burn weekend, so you'll have decent ambient light for finding your camp.

The many suggestions provided, however, are great for lighting your camp once you have found it. Under a sunshade, the moonlight does not illuminate enough to keep from tripping over things. Possibly, however, your personal light (headlamp?) will be enough to get into bed and collapse. Unless you are really expecting to do a lot of messing around camp at night you only need the minimal amount of light for safe navigation. (your solo, right? Just go to bed!)
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