Usually when I require light inside the tent I just prop a torch (flashlight) up somewhere, if it's bright enough then up at the roof of the tent the reflected light gives a nice ambient glow. Has anyone got a preferred / better way of doing this? I'm curious both in terms of utilising existing common equipment, such as torches, and in terms of any new or unusual lights that might be used specifically for this purpose (or others of course.)

  • 16
    I assume by "torch" you mean what we Americans would call a "flashlight." Our torches would be quite dangerous in a tent.
    – Kevin
    Feb 14, 2012 at 0:49
  • 1
    @Kevin Yes, no blazing open flames ;)
    – berry120
    Feb 14, 2012 at 0:55
  • 6
    by "light" i thought you meant "set on fire"!
    – Sirex
    Feb 22, 2012 at 12:14
  • @Sirex I'm not sure whether that would come under the scope of this site or not...!
    – berry120
    Feb 22, 2012 at 12:47
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    I think the best answer is, from below, “strap your headlamp to a solid water bottle” (although I guess a non-solid water bottle would work too?) but if you want to buy a product, the Luci Solar Lights from MPOWERD are really nice because they're fun, good for ambient lighting, easy to find in the dark (a big inflated cylinder) and perhaps you can even use it as a pillow if in a pinch. ;) Dec 21, 2015 at 1:59

6 Answers 6


My own preferred method is to use a UCO candle lantern attached to the loop in the ceiling, it generates light that radiates outward, and also generates enough heat to make the tent enjoyable when you're settling in for the night.

I combine the above with a headlamp for personal reading.

  • +1 This looks much better/safer than my effort of floating one of these tealight candles in a little water in a cooking pot.
    – Graham
    Feb 14, 2012 at 16:46
  • tiny carabiners help with the attachment to ceiling loop. May 9, 2012 at 12:50
  • Aren't you concerned about breaking the glass in your pack?
    – njzk2
    Feb 20, 2016 at 15:06
  • njzk2: not really, the glass is pretty small and robust, when collapsed it sits in the metal base, and I use a snug neoprene case designed for the lamp.
    – furtive
    Feb 21, 2016 at 17:15

A trick I've seen recently is to strap your headlamp to a solid water bottle with the light pointed into the base of the bottle. Lay the bottle on the side and you have a substitute for a lantern. The plastic and some water act as a poor-man's diffuser.


When I was younger, I had a flashlight where the cone part pulled out and it became essentially a lantern. I would tie it to the top of the tent (most tents I used had a hook there), and that provided good light throughout the tent. Lacking that, if you have a Maglight (or, I'm sure, many other brands), you can screw the cone off that for essentially the same effect, though you'll have a bright spot and you can/should really only do this with one of the smaller, lighter ones. Beyond that, your method does sound reasonable.


My tent (REI Quarterdome) has mesh pockets on the ceiling – I find stuffing a headlamp up there is a reasonable space lighting solution.


Our smaller tent is a dome, the top has a smaller mesh square that clips inside it. I put one of those puck style led stickup lights in it for a light.

Our bigger tent is a 2 room tent that we never use the divider in. I use the clip that's supposed to hold the divider to hold either a head light or one of the smaller battery lanterns.

A clear gallon water jug with either a stickup light or a headlight under it throws a lot of light. So does a zip lock bag full of water but that can get messy.


Some of the Mammut headlamps can be fitted with an optional diffuser for ambient lighting. Haven't tried it, but it looks like it could be a neat solution.

Mammut TR1 Headlamp

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