Camp site versus camp lighting. Camp site lighting refers to the need for general lighting to illuminate a large part of a camp site, usually for group activities. Camp Lighting would include the needs of individuals while camping, to work in a tent or at a picnic table or move about safely. Individual camp lighting needs are usually adequately met via flashlights or lanterns. General camp site lighting often requires more robust sources of light.
Do you really need extra lighting at a camp site? Very often moonlight or the campfire provides enough light for most activities and lends a nice ambiance to the evening. Artificial light might be needed for tasks that require detailed work, like food preparation or reading or games, but it can also interfere with other activities and impair your night vision unnecessarily. Bright lights kind of destroy the normal ambiance of a campfire. Auxiliary camp site lighting is definitely optional and you should exercise discretion when using it. That being said, what are your options for lighting a camp site when needed?
Many times all you need is gas or battery powered lantern on your picnic table. Camp site lighting usually involves illuminating larger areas for group activity. You might use several strategically placed lanterns to provide general illumination. That can be very helpful on dark desert nights. If I need to light up the whole camp site for general activities I have a 500 watt halogen light I can run off my RV generator. It mounts to my RV ladder on an extendable stand that lets me put it high above the 11' roof of my RV, giving me coverage over a huge area. There have been very few times I have needed that much light in camp.
There are many ways to light a camp site. A long standing traditional camp site light is the lantern, a kerosene lantern or a Coleman lantern. Having a lantern hanger on a tree or RV or a lantern pole can give you more choices for where to use it. For general camp site illumination you may need several powerful lanterns strategically placed around the are where activities will take place. Many RVs have camp site lighting. The porch light standard on most RVs provides some illumination. Others have more comprehensive flood lights that can really light things up. There may be other specialized lighting needs. For example, I use a set of strobe lights on the roof of my motorcycle trailer to identify our camp to late night arrivals. I have seen strobes built for the top of flag poles for similar purposes. I also adapted flood lights from a retired ambulance as outdoor work lights on my motorcycle trailer.
Campfires are often enough to light up a camp site for most activities. More light might be needed for food preparation and sometimes even for eating, but you don't want TOO MUCH light. Excessive light spoils the mood and destroys your night vision. You might need a lot of light for nighttime group activities but normally you should limit the amount of light pollution. We get enough of of that in town! It is usually really nice to enjoy the starry skies when we are camping.
Modern LED lanterns offer some nice options to gas and liquid fueled lanterns. They are bright, efficient, and easy to use. Some even have remote controls so you can turn them on and off and adjust the level from quite a distance away. Some are have built in solar chargers so all you have to do to keep them charged is leave them out in the sun during the daylight hours. LED lantern are usually cool to the touch so they are safer in tents and under awnings and canopies. They are also quiet. People are sometimes bothered by the hiss of white gas lanterns. Old style incandescent lights and lanterns were about 90% efficient as heaters and about 10% efficient as lights. LED lanterns produce almost no heat and the batteries and bulbs last a long time. LED bulbs are usually rated at tens of thousands of hours. Battery life depends on the total power being used and the quality of the batteries. I once left an LED lantern with 17 LEDs on in my barn overnight. It was powered by 4 really cheap "D" cell batteries. The lantern continued to function perfectly for more than a year without changing the batteries! An incandescent lantern would have completely drained the batteries before morning the night it was left on.
If you have generator you can use high-powered halogen flood lights to illuminate large group functions. I rigged a light stand with a 500 watt halogen flood light that attached to the ladder of my Class A RV for use when we needed broad camp site coverage at night. With the light about 6' above the roof of my tall RV it did a really good job lighting up pretty much the whole group area. I just plug it into a convenient outdoor outlet on the back of my RV. You can find a variety of halogen work lights at your local home center. They usually have tripod stands that fold up nicely to make transporting them to camp easy and keep them steady in use. You would normally want to use them on the ground but if you REALLY needed broader coverage you might set them on top of an RV. I would suggest strapping them down to the luggage rack to prevent an errant breeze from blowing them off the roof.
Tiki torches are a fun and popular option. Fueled with citronella oil they will also help keep insects at bay. Tiki torches are easy inexpensive, easy to transport, and kind of romantic and festive. And they usually contribute to a nice ambiance rather than wiping it out. You will need to make sure the fuel containing bases are empty or are stored upright to avoid fuel spills in transport. Some bases are metal cans with screw-on lids. That type can help prevent spills en route. Look for the ones with the caps tied onto the cans with a little chain so they don't get lost so easily.
Candles are good and even romantic for table lighting but usually don't put out enough light for area lighting -- unless you have a whole LOT of very BIG candles! I once saw some large candles on sticks to shove into the ground to provide pathway or area lighting but haven't been able to find a current source to buy them now. They might have been custom or artisan made.
Handheld flashlights are handy for illuminating your path or looking into dark cabinets or for specific tasks but are not particularly good for general illumination. You might attach your flashlight or personal headlight to an empty milk jug to use it for general lighting.
Glow sticks won't provide much in the way of area lighting but they can be useful in marking trails or flagging obstacles such as guy ropes on tents an awnings. We sometimes used them to mark the signs we put up on the road to help late comers find our dirt bike camp at night in the desert. Once advantage to glow sticks is that they usually don't put out enough light to destroy your night vision -- or the ambiance around a campfire.