Make a Simple LED Camping Lantern

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Make a Simple LED Camping Lantern


Here’s a simple way to create a bright and long-lasting light for emergencies, backyard, or light camping. Instructable member ycomet cobbled together this LED strip-based lamp after realizing his old Petromax lamp was not going to cut it on the next camping trip:

I though about this project just as I was getting ready for a camping trip. I reached out for the Petromax and realised the net was rotten after a long time put away in the shed. Then I looked at the electronics cabinet and found some LED strip and LiPo batteries and immediately decided it was about time I stopped burning fossil fuel for something as simple as lighting.

The final setup is basically two plastic food jars of different sizes, one inside the other, LED strip tucked between them and some wiring to the inside of the inner jar where the battery is stored. The screwcap neatly closes the container making it water-proof (fingers crossed)

The build basically consists of two plastic jars, one that fits inside of the other. A strip of LED is wrapped around the inner jar, that jar is placed inside of the outer jar, and a power and switch circuit were added. That’s it. A LiPo battery pack was used and a full 5630-type strip light was used, with 60 white LEDs.


The way the lamp is built now, it isn’t waterproof (Ycomet lists it as “splash-proof” in the Instructable), but as several people have pointed out in the comments, you could easily use a reed switch or even a pressure switch beneath the relatively soft plastic of the lid, to create a truly waterproofed camping light. This was just hastily made with what was on-hand.


You can read the full instructions for the build here.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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