Anyone ever leave a light on to help find camp?

KyleR1985

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
233
I know we have pinpoint GPS. And I know everyone is a master woodsman, and I should just improve my navigation skills.

But I'm pretty sure we've all made a few more circles looking for camp in the dark before. I can swallow my pride in order to avoid that.

Is there a lightweight solar powered light that charges during the day, and comes on as the sun goes down? I know they make them for lighting a sidewalk and such at your house. I'm looking for something specifically for backcountry use - ie. lightweight, compact, etc.

Seems like you could hang that sucker on top your tent, or from a tree branch, and have a nice little beacon to home in on at the end of a tough day.

Come on, I know one of you fellows has done this before....
 

Bubblehide

Senior Member
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
1,351
Something like this?

you might be better off with colored light for seeing it from a distance.
 

GotDraw?

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Messages
706
Location
Maryland
I was at a bivvy camp late summer in CO one year around 10k ft and my brother and buddy were out pre-season scouting in the evening. A very dense fog rolled in just as it got dark, I was concerned they might have a bit of a challenge locating camp. I keep a micro-strobe hung on my backpack that I can quickly turn on so I can find the pack in case I ever have to to drop it. The strobe I use is waterproof, weighs nothing and will "strobe" for 100+hours on two coin batteries. I hung that strobe from a tree branch and my brother and buddy found camp no problem. The strobe lit up the fog nicely as it flashed.

MICRO STROBE (dog collar strobe)-- NOTE- this strobe will flash 100+ hrs on one set of coin cells, most do not last that long: MICRO STROBE

After telling you all the above, every other time I've been out reflective guy lines on my tent or hammock have been more than enough to find camp. I do have a couple of small, red-reflective tags I keep in my kill kit. I have used those a few times when the path to camp is obscured in deadfall or tight packed pine.

I would not be inclined to use the strobe unless necessary due to concern about attracting curious bears.

JL
 

mfllood3800

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2016
Messages
3,072
Location
Utah
I just hang my socks out, and smell my way in.
lol
Seriously, I will use refl marking strips near camp to let me know I am super close, or in some areas I used it to guide me thru the nasty to reduce the possibility of needless wandering. Plus I use this same roll of refl for marking certain spots, kill sites etc. I am super anal about removing them when done. I'll be honest it isnt just that I am sick of seeing these all over the woods from previous years, But I dont want folks to be attracted to what attracted me in there. Just one less single use item I dont have to carry. I do use a collapsable solar charge tent lantern, but I use it @ night and morning to get going and would hater for it lose charge if I did come in late and it was on for a few hrs.
 

motts

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
245
I also use reflective cord to hang my bear bag, surprising how hard it is to find when you get back to camp after dark
I'll second this but also add that the age of the line/how hard it has been used plays a part in it. The reflective tracers in the line wear out over time from repeatedly rubbing across the bark on trees. I've been using the bear line from Lawson for a couple of seasons now and it has gotten significantly less reflective in that time.

Reflective shelter guylines seem to hold up better and also help in finding your way back.
 

Ucsdryder

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2015
Messages
910
Try finding a brown horse in a dark aspen grove in the middle of the night. Oh yeah, without pinpoint it on the gps.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
89
I use luci lights to mark my duck hunting spots on public land. Hang em above to decoys when you throw out the spread and you can see them from quite a ways out. I'd imagine it'd work well to hang one from a branch at your campsite. They're light and less than $20. Mine's going on 5 years now
 

Broomd

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2014
Messages
2,040
Location
North Idaho
I always pack at least two headlamps when hunting/camping. I mark my kill with an LED lamp if I have to leave and return for more meat, horns, etc,.. It's amazing how far that tiny light will shine for easy backtracking right to the spot.
 

Runwilderness

Member
Joined
May 21, 2020
Messages
60
Location
Idaho
A small keychain LED light is quite visible in an otherwise completely black wilderness night. I’ve run multiple all night trail races were the course is marked at night by a combination of reflective tape and LED keychains. The reflective tape is much brighter when you hit it with a 300+ lumen headlamp, but the keychains can be seen out of the corner of your eye or when if headlamp dies.
But post it high and visible from multiple directions. Unless you’ve got floodlights lighting up the night, you’ll need line of sight to see the marker.
 

Squirrels

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2016
Messages
969
I know we have pinpoint GPS. And I know everyone is a master woodsman, and I should just improve my navigation skills.

But I'm pretty sure we've all made a few more circles looking for camp in the dark before. I can swallow my pride in order to avoid that.

Is there a lightweight solar powered light that charges during the day, and comes on as the sun goes down? I know they make them for lighting a sidewalk and such at your house. I'm looking for something specifically for backcountry use - ie. lightweight, compact, etc.

Seems like you could hang that sucker on top your tent, or from a tree branch, and have a nice little beacon to home in on at the end of a tough day.

Come on, I know one of you fellows has done this before....
I'm Tom Bodett from Motel 6 and we'll leave the light on for you
 

Rich M

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
1,185
Location
Orlando
You can always grab a $1 solar light from Walmart - the kind folks put in their yards.

We use em when we go camping, just to provide some light. They are light weight and you could set up 1 or 2 or 3 where they'd be visible from diff angles. In daytime, they wouldn't be too noticeable to passerby's.

They are lightweight, not so compact but hang em on your pack, they are weatherproof.
 

hobbes

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
932
My son and I hunted from a friend's tiny handbuilt cabin on a mining claim one year. Its in the middle of nowhere on the side of a mountain with no roads. I marked it with a gps the evening that we got there, but I must not have had a good lock on it. The gps did not bring us back to the cabin the next evening when we climbed back up the mountain on a very dark evening. I was glad that I'd paid enough attention to sidehill over to a tiny drainage then follow it back down to the cabin. The mountain side is a broken up mess of benches, boulders, and seeps, so difficult to navigate.......I was wishing for some kind of beacon on the cabin.
 

dtrkyman

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
540
I once took the wrong drainage heading back to camp, found my way back to the creek but was unsure if I was north or south of camp, hiked a lil north to a high spot and was relieved to see the glow of camp, my buddies were back and had the lantern going inside the wall tent.

Have not used a light at my solo camps but it is not a bad plan, I have reflective guy lines and put reflective strip on my food sack that I hang up high.

I also attach a couple reflective strips to my pack, had a heck of a time locating my pack a few times and they are even helpful in the day light!
 

AZ8

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
61
Location
Arizona
Usually hang a small led light in a tree.

I’m usually camping on a non-busy 2 track road and coming back to camp in the dark I was always missing the turnoff, even though I knew it was coming up soon! Lol Anyways, I bought a couple 48” reflective rods from Home Depot and I stick them in the ground before the turn off. They light up nice when my vehicle/UTV lights hit them.
 

Corvus Corax

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
142
Location
Washington State
I’ve used chem lights to help me, or someone heading in behind me find an obscure turn in the dark. Only good for 12 hours though. They also sell cheap little retro reflective trail marker pins that you could use like a blaze on a tree.
 

Marmots

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Messages
98
Location
Idaho
Cheap red bicycle commuter safety lights will blink for a couple days to a couple weeks off of the same AAAs you pack in for your headlamp.
 
Top