The joy of camping next to a neighbor’s electric palm tree

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By Chuck Woodbury
EDITOR
I am often amazed in RV parks about how so many RVers are consumed with lighting up the park at night. They spread LED lights on the ground around their site or hang them on their awnings. Some put a flashing light atop their personal flag pole, even though I don’t believe there’s a big danger from low-flying aircraft. Many leave the lights on all night.

And as you can see above, sometimes they bring along their own electric palm tree. It’s cute, yeah, but once you’ve seen one, I say, the joke is over. (BTW – The description on Amazon.com says: “Great for parties and game rooms, poolside or outside your RV.” And it’s only $107!)

At last count, there were five electric palm trees in my park.

RV makers encourage displays of lights by installing them on the outside of RVs. Very often they line the lip of an awning. Honestly, sometimes there are so many RV lights in a park you need to pull your shades at night to avoid sleeping in a room with flashing red, green and yellow lights, like back in the days of sleazo motels.

Do you leave your porch light on? Some people do. Maybe they’re just trying to be helpful so when their neighbor gets up at night to use the potty he or she doesn’t need to turn on any lights.

This is a fairly common scene these days in RV parks.

I know a lot of RVers enjoy lighting up their RVs. Maybe I’m just a fuddy-duddy because I am not crazy about it. In my book, illuminating an RV at night in an RV park is right up there with hanging wind chimes or building a campfire 12 feet from your neighbor’s window.

If you are the kinda person who loves to “share the light,” please do me a kindness and leave a comment to let me know why you do it. Is it to deter crime, or maybe critters? Or is it just fun? Do you ever wonder if your neighbors may not appreciate you lighting up their campsite without asking them?

##RVT936

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James LaGasse

Outside lights should be turned off by 10:00pm and when it comes to color changing lights or flashing lights those are just annoying and very distracting. I would rather a light be left on all night than a flashing or color changing light be used at all. It may be attractive to some but it can cause headaches and or dizziness in many people. When you have had a long day on the road and just want to relax outside bright lights or flashing lights make that difficult especially in open or crowded campgrounds. I think it’s just a matter of respecting your neighbors. Like many I don’t have good night vision so I turn on an outside light when needed or use a flashlight but in many cases the neighbors lights are all I need.

Travis

I do not mind the lights if they turn them out by 10-11pm. I had one guy that would leave the blue LEDS on the front of his fifth wheel on all night. I was camped perpendicular to the front of his rig. My RV which is hybrid lit up inside like I was camping in a strip club parking lot. I did kindly ask him to turn them off the next night and he did. Unless its Halloween weekend or Christmas in July weekend turn them off at bedtime.

Nels

I like the idea of lights on the ground around my RV, but lights out at 10:30 PM, which is about a half hour before quiet time in most parks.

Rusty

Will admit the light up the night types seem unconcerned if your annoyed by their all night lights. 10 PM seems a reasonable turn out the lights the night is waiting. I believe a camp fire is in order which it seems is also an annoyance.

Wayne

Excessive lights are annoying, but since we are all “enjoying” the life, learn to tolerate. Perhaps the great whiteway should be turned down to 50% at 9. For those who need total darkness, perhaps lowering your shades is the solution. Don’t be so sensitive, ask your neighbors to turn down the lights, via the camp host.

Sharan Harrison

I’m with you – leaving bright lights on all night (especially blinking ones) is sooo inconsiderate of one’s neighbors. It displays a sense of entitlement – of “it’s all about ME” – an attitude prevalent in today’s society. Usually the RV Park has enough security lights for Fort Knox anyway.

Pamela Watson

I don’t like a lot of light at night, but the comment you made about someone putting a flashlight on their flag and you saying that there aren’t low flying planes around is wrong. Flags are to be lit at night or taken off the pole, folded and put away until the next day. That is probably why they had the flashlight on it. It would have been just as easy for them to take the flag in, but they do have the right to fly our flag in the correct manner. Just sayin’.

Mel

I really don’t see the issue. If you have night shades, how do outside lights get in? Besides I sleep with my eyes closed so no light gets in there either.
We do have Boogey lights under our RV and awning LED’s but they go off at 9 when we head to bed.
I enjoy seeing others lights at night when I walk the dogs.

Jim

I do like awning lights. That is my choice. What you choose is up to you. People enjoy there rv and want to keep a light on. If total darkness is what you choose then you should camp further into the woods. People have become so touchy about everything these days.

Don Baker

I also do not like all the lights but have resorted in using the brightest ones I could find in a few parks due to raccoons getting into the engine compartment of our Class “A”. I had over $300 in damage done when they tried to make a nest and that did not count all the sleepless nights from their scratching and noise or the nasty fact that they crapped while in there. This has happened in several parks in different areas one park was very helpful and trapped the raccoon the next night and hauled it to a different area. Another park would not do anything and I resorted to several different deterrents and several sleepless nights before finally leaving the area.

Rita M. Black

I don’t like to leave my porch or awning lights on overnight or have any reason to do it, usually. But, there are times I will forget to shut them off. I feel embarrassed in the morning, but don’t mention it in the morning unless someone mentions it.

Nanci

We keep a string of LED rope lights tucked tightly under the motorhome that are timed to go on at dusk and off at dawn. Didn’t have under the car and got a pack rat or two.Guess we will keep them on. Oh, guess the other eight Motorhomes lined up with the rope lights will keep theirs on too. It is illegal to set traps for the pack rats in this desert southwest regional park so at least the lights seem to discourage them. And yes, I do have a string of dragonfly solar lights in our canopy tent.

Paul Goldberg

Adding to the noise 🙂 When we are in our winter home base we have fairly extensive lighting. Most of it is ground level illumination from solar powered garden lights. Under our permanent hard awning we have a string of lamps that are dimmed to 50% or less to provide visibility of anyone approaching our place. Another solar lamp lights up the sign with our site # – required in the park to aid first responders. Finally a motion detector solar lamp, away from our coach, to illuminate everything when someone comes on to the site after dark. This provides safety for us when moving around and will at least send an intruder to someplace less well lit. We have had problems with squatters in our area and sometimes they find a way past our gates and fences. When we are on the road either boondocking or in campgrounds we minimize lighting and turn it off once we are settled in for the night.

PJ Nyvall

How about a 100 watt bulb in a white 5 gallon pail, if you want to really light up the park!
I could see this guys pail from six block away, and boy could they party late into the night!

Brenda

At least lights don’t make noise. The curfew time should mean lights out, noise off. Go outside, use a flashlight. Can’t find your RV, use reflective materials on your “welcome” sign at the post.

Thomas

I vote no to lights. I would like to go out at night and look up and see the stars. Light pollution spoils that. It’s night time people. After a certain time it’s time to shut them off. If you NEED SOMETHING ON,make it a dim light, not superbright leds.
Plus, it’s better to shoot at the light than being shot at if you are the light.

Cindy

I do know that too much light can confuse migrating birds and therefore cause them to lose their way. I doubt there is that much light in an RV park, but it is an issue that should be thought about at least. A few low level lights on the ground isn’t so bad, but big ones up in the air are a different story.

Cindy

I’d like to suggest my neighbors get room darkening blinds. 🙂 Seriously, I used to leave some lights on for when I took the dogs out at night. I think keeping them on the ground in that case isn’t bad. I also have bad vision and lighting helps me see better. I once took my dog out at 11 p.m. only to fall down my own stairs breaking one ankle and the other foot, plus bad contusions. Lights help me get out safely, especially if there is an emergency. I like the overhead lights in campgrounds and prefer to be under them. I also like wind chimes, but that’s another issue.

DAVE TELENKO

YE OL Chinese proverb: Ya can please some of the people ALL of the time & ALL of the people SOME of the time, but NEVER ALL of the people ALL of the time! Any questions?
Snoopy

Richard Molloy

I have been full time in a class A diesel, with my wife and 2 small dogs for 3 years. Have been in many campgrounds from shore to shore. So I cannot say we are camping, but I do enjoy a campfire many nights. I also have lights, led on one side that can change 8 colors for holidays or for mood, and red, white and blue on the drivers side. They are not so bright as to bother any sane person. They are also on a timer to go off after 6 hours. I also do not like the bright white lights I see around some campgrounds as they are boring and not conducive to RV life in my opinion.