Do you leave your porch light on?

83

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.

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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Steven N
1 month ago

If I stop at an RV Park during our travels I expect there to be light pollution. However, when we are truly camping at a State Park or lake for example I expect people to observe some light discipline and enjoy the darkness. Also I wouldn’t want to see someone having a fire as close as some of the spots are, likely melt the camper next door if tried the way the stack people in at RV Parks. But again when truly camping I expect to smell some wood fire smoke.

Brian S. Holmes
1 month ago
Reply to  Steven N

you used ” I ” 5 times in your comment. reread the post below

Brian S. Holmes
1 month ago

Lets see…. bright lights on every bathhouse inside and out at night , security lights on every other street intersection at night, they are bright and up on poles. Bright lights on at night on all outbuildings around the campground most we stay at have lights on top of the power pedestals you know the ones that look like a mushroom. Other campgrounds have lights at every road intersection to mark where you turn, I think you have to go to a federally run campground to avoid many of these lights but the ones at the bathhouse are always on With a large security light on a pole out side the building. I did see someone left a porch light on one night and people were running around screaming that they cant see the stars when gazing. Yeh , I know you don’t stay at those campgrounds because of how inconsiderate the camp owners are or you never stay at a Walmart because of this right? Or your neighborhood is totally dark at night and nobody is allowed to leave the pole light on in front of their house. I call, bull.
Just because you don’t agree with what another is doing it doesn’t mean they are doing something wrong. And people wonder why neighbors don’t talk to each other anymore.

Howard
6 months ago

The picture shown with this article is misleading. I do leave my porch light on while going out to dinner etc. I will let my insurance company worry about any increased break-in risk. My porch light is a small single bulb with an orange globe to discourage bugs.
What is shown in the picture is a large led string used to help outdoor activities like BBQs, parties and the like, definitely NOT a porch light. I do think it a bad idea to leave a large light display light lit all night. It is only Christmas once a year, not all year.

I do think most rv’s have window curtains. Use them and the lights go away.

David Lastoria
6 months ago

Do I leave my RV “porch light” on at night? Absolutely not, as I am not Tom Burdett, and I respect my neighbors.

Brian S. Holmes
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lastoria

Lets see…. bright lights on every bathhouse inside and out at night , security lights on every other street intersection at night, they are bright and up on poles. Bright lights on at night on all outbuildings around the campground most we stay at have lights on top of the power pedestals you know the ones that look like a mushroom. Other campgrounds have lights at every road intersection to mark where you turn, I think you have to go to a federally run campground to avoid many of these lights but the ones at the bathhouse are always on With a large security light on a pole out side the building. I did see someone left a porch light on one night and people were running around screaming that they can’t see the stars when gazing. Yeh , I know you don’t stay at those campgrounds because of how inconsiderate the camp owners are or you never stay at a Walmart because of this right? Or your neighborhood is totally dark at night and nobody is allowed to leave the pole light on in front of their house. I call, bull
The horror of it all.

Serena L Wheeler
6 months ago

Have people forgotten how to talk to each other? Simply explaining to a neighbor that their porch light is making it hard to sleep at night, or that their TV or radio is disturbing you watching your program or listening to your music is often all it takes. I’m not saying you have to become friends. But I’ve never had a problem when I used tact and was courteous in speaking with an RV neighbor. Simple, yet effective!

Josh
7 months ago

Blackout curtains/shades are amazing and the ability to close windows on which ever the side the smoke is coming from, is another amazing option that ALL coaches have. But if you feel the need to see some stars, fill up an icechest full of your cosmos and martinis and go for a walk where you can see them. Because by your Pretentious complaints, I’m going to assume you are the type of campers that stay indoors all day until it’s time for dinner. Only then, you step outside to start your electric grills and start the bitch fest.

Christine
7 months ago

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
8 months ago

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

Diane Hawley
7 months ago
Reply to  Philip Mead

Noise is worse than a light, but especially with my light sleep pattern and sensitive eyes, I do not want light shining in my eyes.

LauraC
8 months ago

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
8 months ago

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!

Ronl
7 months ago
Reply to  Scott Jernigan

While your comments have some good points, there’s a great deal of difference between children s’mores, pools and all night porch lights. There’s never a good reason for an all night porch light, ever! Campfires when it’s 90 degrees, windy , in the rain, etc., and left to burn and smolder long after the campers have gone back inside is rude, inconsiderate and disrespectful of other campers. Sounds like you should camp out in your backyard with the neighbors if that’s your idea of being a good camping neighbor.

Diane Hawley
7 months ago
Reply to  Scott Jernigan

The marshmallows might keep the ants 🐜 away from your campsite because they’ve found a sweet feast that will last them for a really long time, like weeks, if it’s a whole marshmallow. It would be great if campsites were spaced far apart.

Angela Klinger
8 months ago

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
8 months ago

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.
8 months ago

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.

Mark B
7 months ago
Reply to  Karin S.

Two words: Motion sensing.

Diane Hawley
7 months ago
Reply to  Karin S.

First, I like to say, “thank you for your service.” This is said to those in the military, but just as importantly, police play such an important and risky role to keep us safe.

I love motion detection lights! You are alerted when someone comes close and know when to look out your window. It scares them away too, so you may not have to look out. 👀 I have them around my house and they’ve proven to be wonderful. Animals trigger the sensor, just so you know. A few of my neighbors leave a light on all night every night, wasting energy and money, lighting the way for a criminal. If they’d use motion detection, it sometimes would alert me to look over to see if there is a prowler. Happy traveling!

Terri Makely
8 months ago

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

Mark B
7 months ago
Reply to  Terri Makely

If it’s new you had better get it out now. WARRANTY. It will be in the shop for weeks/months after you find those first issue.

Jane
8 months ago

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!!

Diane Hawley
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane

I’d want to kindly talk to them about it, being quick and to the point.

Aurora B
8 months ago

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.

Diane Hawley
7 months ago
Reply to  Aurora B

Sounds like you have a nice set up if… the lights are not bright. Sounds like most people don’t say anything to a neighbor about a complaint. No one wants to cause more of a problem, because you don’t know how they will react. I will try to remember as soon as I get to the campsite and hopefully meet them, to mention, “please don’t leave your light on.”

Sharon B
8 months ago

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.

Diane Hawley
7 months ago
Reply to  Sharon B

I agree, lights out at 11. Use phone or other flashlight instead. The park person needs to drive around to be sure people abide by the rules to help maximize our camping experience.

Einar Hansen
8 months ago

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
8 months ago

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
8 months ago

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