A crackling campfire sure sounds romantic, but for those of us looking to really light things up, a few embers just aren't enough. Oftentimes we're left to illuminate our campsite or tailgate with lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps, hoping they can cast enough light to get some late evening cooking done or clean up around camp.

Don’t be left in the dark this camping season. Photo: Courtesy of Practical Power.

But there are several plug-less illumination options out there that are changing the way we set up shop outdoors, providing more light in less of a footprint than ever before. From the post-trail tailgate to a weekend in the woods, for those looking to get a little creative with their outdoor lighting setup this season, here are a few of our favorite camp light alternatives for 2018.

Power Practical Luminoodle ($20)

Meet the next evolution of string lighting. Photo: Courtesy of Practical Power

For those that are tired of the standard lantern lighting situation, brighten up camp with the Power Practical Luminoodle, the battery-powered string lighting built for outdoor adventurers. Featuring LED strips that pump out 180 lumens of light, and ties and magnets for hanging from the car or around the campsite, the Luminoodle comes in 5 and 10-foot lengths, and is the perfect piece for kicking up your ambient lighting game. Simply plug the Luminoodle into a car USB or a portable battery pack and get creative with one of the most malleable lighting options on the market.

Petzl Noctilight ($20)

The ultimate power boost. Photo: Courtesy of Petzl.

Instead of buying a whole new lighting unit, the Petzl Noctilight urges us to get the most out of what we already have. A light diffuser built to fit a standard headlamp, the Noctilight turns your headlamp into a lantern around camp, pumping out enough light to illuminate the dinner table or hang outside the tent. Genius? We think so.

Biolite Base Lantern XL ($130)

BioLite’s Base Lantern has a convenient shape, perfect for packing. Photo: Courtesy of BioLite

With over 50 hours of rechargeable battery life, the Biolite Base Lantern is built to run off the grid, providing a whopping 500 lumens of light and USB ports to boost any of your electronic devices. But what puts the Base Lantern on our list is the lantern's smart, flat shape, making it easy to pack in any backpack, and much easier to transport than its traditional lantern alternatives (weighing only 1.5 pounds). The lantern is also Bluetooth compatible, allowing you to dim or set a wakeup alarm right from your phone.

Kogalla Ra Straplight ($130)

Finally, a light as flexible as your weekend plans. Photo: Courtesy of Kogalla.

Featuring a string of five ultra-bright lights pulsing at 800 lumens, the Zyntony Ra is a jack-of-all-trades in the lighting game. Its multiple mountain options and magnetic backing make it easy to attach to a car hood, hang around the campsite, or even attach to a jacket, and a flexible stainless-steel flex circuit lets you customize your lights to your lifestyle. The Ra runs off of specialty battery packs, but its illumination-to-size ratio is unmatched.

Suoaki Solar Lantern ($20)

Pack it up, pack it in, this is one portable lantern sure to make your backpack happy. Photo: Courtesy of Suoaki.

Want an eco-conscious lighting option that won't disturb the whole forest? The solar-powered Suoaki Solar Lantern is a highlight in the world of solar illumination. Featuring a solar panel and USB port for charging, the Solar Lantern also uses a Smart Protection Chip to protect from overcharging and wasting energy. Instead of glass or plastic, the Solar Lantern window is made of light-diffusing rubber, packing down to under 2 inches for maximum portability.

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