Do you leave your porch light on?


By Bob Difley

I admit to being grumpy when RVers diminish my camping experience, like playing the TV too loud, building a smoky campfire and allowing the smoke to blow into my campsite (and in any open windows), but especially leaving the porch light (and other outside lights) on when they are not outside to enjoy them, maybe thinking they are providing an enjoyable light show for their neighbors.

It’s a common practice for many RVers to leave their porch lights on when away from their RV, especially if they intend to return after dark and want to see where they are going. I suppose that many think it will also keep would-be thieves away.

But I think it does the opposite. It notifies the nefarious that there is no one home and therefore an easy break-in target. So leaving your light on is not necessarily a good safety measure.

Secondly, thieves do not usually roam around campgrounds or boondocking areas looking for targets, so providing you take other security measures, like locking your door, not leaving loose items outside, chaining up portable generators, etc., should be enough security.

Do you leave your porch light on?
Porch lights

But to feel even more secure – and safe when you return in the dark – install a motion-sensing porch light in place of your stock light, which will turn on if someone approaches your rig. This will be more startling and more of a deterrent, and still provide the light you need to see. You can find motion-sensing porch lights on Amazon – and they are easy to install.

I’m sure many other RVers – including myself – would much rather see the night sky full of stars than a bright light shining in their bedroom window. And not leaving these lights on will also prolong your battery power if you are camping without hookups, saving your electricity for when you really need it.

Does this just make me curmudgeonly or do others feel the same way? Add your thoughts below.

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If you are paying my camping fee, I’ll use whatever lights you want (or don’t want). Otherwise, my space, my choice.


I would challenge this group to go 24 hours without complaining about anything or anyone! You will feel much better.

Chuck Woodbury

Heck of a good idea, Larry.


I do not like the rope lights that RV-er’s lay on the ground around their rig – and leave them on all night long!! I’ve spent many nights trying to look out my window at the stars as I drift off only to see these dang rope lights on in many many sites! So much for enjoying the night sky! I say quiet hours/dark hours 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM!


I’m not sure if you realize the actual purpose of ground rope lights. They are actually used to keep mice and other creatures away during the night when they are most active (those creatures who love to chew on wires). The first time you go out to your vehicle and it doesn’t start, or your electrical outlets don’t work on your RV because the wires have been chewed, you may just end up buying and setting out ground rope lights.

Cheryl Bacon

I think people that complain about people with lights on are curmudgeons. Most campgrounds have some lights on all night anyway. Many have street lights, leave the lights on in the bath houses and laundry areas. Everyone is not going to rv like the next person and getting upset with something the campground has no problem with is wasted energy. Most of the lights people use aren’t even strong enough to invade the next campsite or even light up the lot they are even staying on. Also not everyone is there to look at the stars. I also seriously doubt… Read more »


Don’t have an outdoor light and don’t want one. Recommend using a flashlight.

Kevin Loving

In Texas (where I was raised), there was a “saying” about you Bob….. “He would gripe if you hung him with a NEW rope!”


you are a curmedgeon.


It doesn’t really bother me if someone leaves their porch light on, if I’m outside I’m on the other side of my RV and won’t know that it’s on and if I’m inside my RV they usually have their awning out and that blocks any direct light shining in my windows plus at night I have the night shades down and don’t notice it. So I say let there be light.

Noel Johnson

I installed a motion sensing porch light from Starlites, and love it. It stays dark around our site, but if anything moves, it lights up. but in some cases


I tried a battery operated light with motion sensor but the battery was drained the first night. Wind blows – the tree moves and turns it on and off constantly. No matter how I angled it , it would still go on /off. Gave up! Now I have little dollar store solar spotlights that usually get enough sun to keep the steps lighted just enough to see until 4 am or so.


Couldn’t agree more Bob. We like to camp in public parks. They are usually very dark. If I need to go outside at night I use a flashlight. Before 10 PM I may turn the light on, if necessary, but turn it off when it’s no longer needed. Campfires are enjoyed in the dark and only if the wind isn’t blowing towards a neighbor. Otherwise, we forego the fire. It is so aggravating to close all the windows and vent on a nice evening to keep someone else’s smoke out of the RV. I’ve had to crank the AC down… Read more »


Some lights are unduly harsh … what some call “scare lights” … and do not need to be on unless they are being used. Others don’t bother me. BUT … if I want to be alone and in the dark and quiet of nature I will choose that kind of location before parking my RV. And if I choose to park overnight in a commercial RV park, I will know that there are any number of things that neighbors can (and will no doubt) do that can irritate me if I let them. When I have neighbors, I do not… Read more »


For those returning to their campsite after the sun has set, I suggest they educate themselves about flashlight technology.


You are right Captn John, it is not about YOU. Use a book light please.
Generators after 10, smokey fires blowing at your neighbor and bright lights all night do not foster friendly camping.


I agree, no lights. But what about those generators that run constantly sometimes for hours?
I’ll take the annoying lights over the gens that can be heard 100 yards away.

Captn John

Sounds like there should be more boondockers. Nothing like being away from everybody to be without lights from anywhere. Unless too cold or too hot I’m often outside reading until 1AM. I plan on continuing as stated above, it is not all about you.


Motion sensing or even app controlled. Get rid of the dancing led display after you go to bed. And, the projector displays need to go also.

Mike Sherman

Campgrounds need to dim or shut down their LED streetlamps after 9-10 p.m. also. When we host, we will often times knock on the door and ask the camper to please turn off outside lights. “Quiet Hours” should also be dark hours.

Robert M

I have a solar light purchased from Home Depot (also available online) attached to the RV near the door that has a motion sensor. If we come home or someone approaches after dark the light comes on. It turns itself off after 5 or 6 minutes. Problem solved.

Bill Dunn

Outside lights are just plain rude. Porch lights, decorative lights, mouse prevention lights . . . They are all rude. Folks who leave their porch light on all night are the worst. There is just no excuse for it. I camp to enjoy the outdoors. My neighbors’ lights detract from that experience, If you are not actively using a light then turn it off!

Billy Bob Thorton

Ditto. It’s not all about you. Turn your lights off already. That is the bad side to technology, too many “features” that allow the moron segment of RVers to ruin the peacefulness of the camping expierence.

Donald N Wright

I tend to use a couple of the Luci lights in the campsite, just enough light to see the ground with out bothering the neighbors. A couple of the Walmart garden solar lights are handy too. I do not have or need an outside light display on my Aliner, and I have not lit up my Coleman in years. I prefer almost darkness.

Leo Suarez

This article is not written well. You are combing several issues. A porch light (usually a small light by the door) and a patio light (usually a large string light or bank of LED lights integrated into awning or length of RV). I agree leaving any of these lit overnight is annoying. However if we go out to dinner or somewhere else where we will be returning after dark I will leave the (little) porch light on, since I want to find my way safely to my RV, then I turn it off.


Don’t take it personally, but respectfully your practice is the reason this article was written.



Karen Willis

I agree with you. My RV has a light under the steps. I leave it on if I am out after dark, until I return – I don’t want to fall up my steps. Anyhow, in my experience most commercial campgrounds also have post mounted lights that stay on overnight.


Yes, agreed too! I find most people leave them ALL NIGHT! HELLO RVers, knock it off. Bring a flashlight with you. Respect others that enjoy the darkness. There is no such thing as leaving lights on for safety. If you want safety, there’s other ways to provide that without getting your neighbors cranky! If your afraid of camping without lights on, maybe you should go home!


I agree as well. Last week we had a neighbor who left two big outside lights on day and night that really limited our star gazing. She seemed a little on the edge and was in an older RV, so I’m afraid the lights stayed on whenever she was plugged into shore powe, therefore I was reluctant to ask her to shut them off.

Pat H. Smith

Yes I agree. There shouldn’t be porch lights on all night. I can see you off an adventure and need it on when you return. BUT please turn it off. There is nothing worse than a light in your face when you are trying to sleep. Or if we are outside trying to look at the stars. The night sky is so beautiful. Take the time to enjoy it. I grew up without night lights or flashlights. Enjoyed walking in the dark. You would be surprised how much you can see once your eyes adapt. Teach you kids to love… Read more »