Do you leave your porch light on?

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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.

Check out Bob Difley’s RVing eBooks on Amazon.com.

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Christine

My full-time job is dealing with people and problem solving everyday. I work long hours under stressful situations. The office is loud and busy. Camping is a way to unwind and restore in the serenity of a wooded and secluded lot. I’m always amazed by people who choose to “camp” in what is virtually a parking lot stacked side by side with RV’s. One might as well sleep in a camper in your driveway. Unless I’m tailgating or at a particular event, give me peace and quiet away from people.

Philip Mead

There is nothing worse than your neighbors porch light shining through your bedroom window all night.

LauraC

I don’t really mind if folks leave their light on before they go to bed if they want to venture out to walk the dog or take out the trash, but to leave outdoor lights on all night when your neighbor is so close you can nearly reach out and touch their coach…that’s just rude. Same with campfires. I do feel that RV parks should have a spot out away from the coaches where fire lovers can go and be together and have sing alongs, etc. I do resent smoke coming in my windows and my coach smelling like smoke for the next week and a half. I’m NOT a curmudgeon or even that old, I just was raised to be considerate of others and I think our society has forgotten that virtue.

Scott Jernigan

I don’t know if just the lights alone make you curmudgeonly, but add the “allowing” campfire smoke to blow into your space definitely does. Sounds like you should avoid campgrounds and stick to the outback where lights and campfires don’t ruin your camping experience. Without electricity half of your annoyances would be avoided. Oh and what about those campers that bring children….with their running around catching lightning bugs, laughing out loud and having fun, little inconsiderate monsters. Same kids will probably be at the pool with their floatation devices taking up more pool space than they should. Let’s not even get started on the s’mores and those melted marshmallows attracting the ants, then allowing those ants to just come marching over to my campsite. The nerve!

Angela Klinger

We enjoy sitting outside looking at the stars but you can’t do that with so many porch lights on. We winter at a park in Arizona and our neighbor keeps his light on all night and our bedroom window is close enough that his light shines in as we have our window open and the blinds up to enjoy the temps and the breeze.

Marissa Benson

The blindingly bright lights as shown in the picture could be annoying I suppose. Truthfully I haven’t ever been bothered by them. They have not interfered with our view of the sky as they are normally blocked by our trailer. They do not keep us awake by shining into our windows either. Our windows aren’t even tinted.

One of our favorite things is to take a walk around the campground to admire all the lights people decorate with. It may be cheesy but we like to see the Japanese lanterns and chile pepper-shaped strings of lights that show the campers’ unique personalities! They aren’t so bright we can’t see the stars. We still need a flashlight to navigate. For us, it is all part of the magic! I say shine on!!

Marissa

Karin S.

Before writing my post I read through the others. Whoa!! I was amazed to see all the anger folks have towards those who leave their porch lights on overnight. My 5th wheel’s porch light came with a VERY bright, white LED light. In order to be a better camping neighbor, I switched it over to an amber light. As a retired law enforcement officer with 25 years of experience, I know criminals like the ‘cover of darkness’ to do their stealing and to skulk about. I leave my amber porch light on not only so I may see out the window should I hear something, but also to keep the would-be thief away. (I know this is not 100% the case, but it mostly holds true.) If I have to bring in the awning due to potential foul weather, I will then “suck it up” and turn off our porch light. Otherwise, our awning shields the light from our camping neighbors.

Terri Makely

We just bought our first RV and haven’t even been out yet and I still agree! The stars out and away from city lights is one of the many bennies of a camping/RVing lifestyle

Jane

I so agree!! Last campground neighbors put a white large bucket on a pole then ran a work lamp and put it inside the bucket. It put out so much light that it lit up all the sites around it. The light was on a dusk to dawn timer. The worse part is these people were never outside their rig at night Never!!

Aurora B

I don’t use my outside door light very often. My outside rope lights are on a timer. I have some outside on the ground and inside my awning. They aren’t too bright and no one has ever complained. They go on at dusk and off at 10:30 pm.

Sharon B

All campgrounds and RV parks should stipulate that all lights by 11:00pm must be off other than a small light to find your location. but that probably would be abused too.
These huge creative multi light bars with the colors of the rainbow are fun but should be mandatory they are off by 11:00pm.
But no matter what the light issue there are those who came from outer space not abiding by any rules.

Einar Hansen

We only use the porch light when someone is at the door. I don’t like leaving it on as well as other campers. I helps to dull your night vision and when we are camping we like to see the stars. My wife and I both carry a flashlight with us at night. And even some of the new flash lights are way to bright. So I carry a mini mag light with a red filter that you can put on it. That’s what they do on ships at night so it won’t dull your night vision.

S. Nelson

I also get annoyed when fellow campers leave there outside light on “ porch light “. I purchased a motion sensor light and love it. The one I purchased has a timer so you can adjust the length of time the light is on( for those of us that don’t move as fast as we used to). The other issue I have are the campers that leave the accent lights on , end cap, under awning lights etc.

O B

Most people have a phone and most phones have a flashlight app
Use it !!
Let no light shine on !!

Mark

What’s with the obnoxious blue LED lights on the front caps of the fifth wheels? Why do people leave them on all night? Have you ever parked across from one? You can’t even look in that direction. I understand that some people have the need to impress others with their “coolness,” but they’re ridiculously obnoxious. Please turn them off.

Jana

Need a polite way to ask people to turn off their lights

Kit

This is my biggest pet peeve, alongside the new trend of lights under the rig. I prefer the night sky and porch lights dim my experience. Leave them on when you need them, but PLEASE…shut them off after you go inside at night.

Donald N Wright

I usually have a Luci light or two somewhere in the campsite, just enough light so I don’t trip over something. I have not used my Coleman lantern in years.

CampTown

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

Larry

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