Light up the Night with the Great American Backyard Campout

This coming Saturday, June 23rd, The National Wildlife Federation, REI and Coleman are sponsoring a huge event called the Great American Backyard Campout.  Designed to help encourage families to go camping, even if it just in your backyard, they are setting-up camp across the country.

We are honored to be participating in a blogger link-up to help encourage families to get out there.  We, too, will be setting up camp in our backyard (and hopefully later that weekend in Yellowstone National Park.)  Watch for our report of how it went next week.  We highly encourage you to get out camping with your family (this weekend, or whenever you can squeeze it in.)  Your family is worth it!

Light up the Night
When we are out camping/hiking/skiing, headlamps are something we just don’t leave without.  They serve their practical function of helping us see in the dark AND are a great source of entertainment for the kids (err…and adults.)
They also….
– Help watch for wildlife in the night (you know, when you hear “that sound”.)
– Provide a catalyst for shadow puppets on tent walls
– Can be used to play Flashlight Tag
– Come in handy for middle-of-the-night bathroom emergencies
– Are used to help find missing items as the light from the campfire dies down before bed
– Provide light when Burn Bans are in effect and campfires can’t happen (SAD as that is!)
– Help with reading in the dark (or under the covers)

I asked around (other bloggers, my boy-scout nephews, the general public) and got a wide range of answers for favorite camping light sources.  Here’s what I found between those experts and our own first-hand knowledge:

Headlamps:  A family favorite, we all have them.  Because we think they are the most multifunctional light out there, it is what we will focus on here.  Besides for camping, we use them for biking at night, backyard campfires, Moon-Lit (when the moon is a bit weak) Skis, and happily welcome any other uses.

Fun and Functional 
LEGO Minifigure LED Headlamp ($15)
These aren’t going to last under super harsh conditions (ours got too cold camping this past winter and had to warm up before they started working again,) but they are fun, provide a good light output, and convince kids to actually wear a headlamp.  Both our boys wear them and love them.

Playvisions Zoo Light Frog Headlamp ($15)
Also an LED light, this one apparently makes sounds too (good fun for the kids, annoying in the tent at night..)  We have NOT tried this one, but another fun option for smaller tykes.

Highly recommended by those Expert Boy-Scout Nephews of mine, these are new to me.  However, they say they “are small, practical, and a good price for the light.”  Great for those campers that love to wear hats!

For the more serious adventurers:
The options are seemingly endless for headlamps.  You have the choice of minimalist size or extra battery packs; wide angle or longer distance; Petzl or Blackdiamond or Princeton or Mammut.  We tend to wear more Petzl and Black Diamond in our family, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily the best.  It’s just what we have and love!

Petzl Tikka XP 2 ($54.95) 
The Tikka series in general has been my personal favorite.  It is what I have had for years.  This one has an excellent range, Red (to preserve night vision) and White LED, a blinking light option, and diffuser lens to switch from spotlight to area light.

 Black Diamond Storm Headlamp ($49.95)
 Built specifically for weathering intense storms, this is another light that has been highly recommended to me.  I like that it can hold up under super wet conditions.

Black Diamond Wiz Kid’s Headlamp ($18.95) 
For smaller heads and built to withstand the abuse of active, adventuring kids.  Again, another that we have not personally tried, but others have and loved it! Comes in “girl” and “boy” colors.

How do you like to “light up the night” when you are out camping? Please feel free to share your favorite light sources (and we know the options go widely beyond headlamps)!

The following blogs are also participating in providing some tips and tricks to help get your family outside for the event! Check them out!
Adventure Tykes – Melissa
Go Explore Nature! – Debi
Handbook of Nature Study  – Barb
Hodgepodge – Tricia 
Spell Outloud – Maureen

Some of these links are affiliates to help us (in a very minimal way) offset the cost of the blog and continue adventuring as a family.  See our full disclosure here.

9 thoughts on “Light up the Night with the Great American Backyard Campout”

  1. We use headlamps in our family too. They work great for when you arrive late at the campsite and you need light to set up the tent. My boys consider headlamps and flashlights “required” equipment on every camping trip.
    Great review post!

  2. Using headlamps & flashlights (as well as the much lower-tech glow sticks) is my kids’ favorite things to do when we’re outside at night. No camping experience would be complete without ’em. Thanks for sharing the options!

  3. Hooray for the Great American Backyard Campout!! We’ll definitely be sleeping under the stars in Colorado this Saturday night 🙂 Fun to think of all the families across the nation joining in together…

    And what in the world did we do before headlamps were invented?!? Seriously. Best thing since sliced bread, in my book! My daughter has one, but it hadn’t occurred to me to get my toddler boy one yet – maybe it’s time. Cool ideas, Amelia (and if I order one, I’ll definitely use your link! 😉

  4. J-man will be using his Black Diamond Wiz, which he loves.

    Believe it or not we have never camped in the backyard. I did a ton as a child but with J-Man, not yet. We will be camping in Grand Teton National Park for the campout and I can’t wait!

    Have a great time!

  5. Pingback: The Winter Fun Doesn't End When the Sun Goes Down! | Tales of a Mountain Mama

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