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Thread: LED Lighting for Mess Tent

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    Question LED Lighting for Mess Tent

    Hi All,

    We are looking into getting some LED lighting (or similar) for our mess tent to use instead of our gas lamps. Does anyone use LED lights / lanterns and if so can you recommend any to look at. Particularly interested in how people find the light levels and how many you use (obviously depends on size of tent I guess!).

    Main reason for this is we are heading to Kandersteg this year and would prefer not to take our gas lamps.

    In terms of size of our mess tent that is still to be decided (camping with another group and haven't settled on final tentage yet) but will be large enough for around 30 people to give some indication of size.

    If the answer is we are better off with gas lamps then so be it but after some feedback from people who have used battery powered lighting.

    Thanks,
    Simon.

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    We have some which have two quite long rows of white LEDs on one side and are magnetic on the other side. They grip quite well onto the steel frame of our mess tent and give quite a good light. I think they were quite cheap from Aldi or somewhere like that. The batteries seem to last well but you can also get solar powered LED lights designed for sheds quite cheap if you are concerned about battery life.

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    We have the round "halo" type (bought from wilkinsons i think). They take 3 x aa batteries and give a good light.

    I also have a mains powered set of LED lights (used for events where we have mains power)

    Where we only need a bit of light (eg overnight in the mes tent in case we need to get the first aid kit quickly) we use solar fairy lights

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Agree with Dan - we got (for about a fiver each), some 24 LED circular lights with a magnetic clip. 3 AA batteries and seem to last a long time - certainly for a long weekend. I think we had 4 which was enough for a 20' mess tent. Not quite as atmospheric and "warm" as the old Coleman or Tilley lights though....

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Agree with Dan - we got (for about a fiver each), some 24 LED circular lights with a magnetic clip. 3 AA batteries and seem to last a long time - certainly for a long weekend. I think we had 4 which was enough for a 20' mess tent. Not quite as atmospheric and "warm" as the old Coleman or Tilley lights though....
    No - not as warm and atmospheric.... but a lot smaller to transport (important on a trip to kanderstag), less fragile and no gas cylinders or fuel involved

    We used 2 in an 18' mess tent - could do with 1 more i think to give a bit more light but depends what you're planning to do in there.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Just another idea, and it probably won't be be ideal for traveling overseas because you need a car battery, but for a home camp search ebay for 12Volt G4 SMD LED bulbs. The Hong Kong sellers have them dirt cheap, I use them to light an off grid workshop and they're brilliant, just attach them using terminal blocks. They don't have that horrible blue white light that some of the standard LEDS have and the battery lasts for ages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    No - not as warm and atmospheric
    It's a shame nobody does the "warm white" variety which gives out a pleasant light similar to that from a tungsten spotlight, and insist on using the stark daylight colour. I have warm white LED spots in all the light fittings in my house and you can barely tell they are LED, other than that I now don't feel like I have a 180W electric fire in the middle of every ceiling.

    Actually, looking at the post above mine, doing it yourself using car batteries and household type low voltage fittings might be a good option to avoid the daylight white.

    Neil

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    Either get the g4 fittings or get a few meters of warm white led strip (12v) and a suitable sealed lead acid gel cell type battery, should be more than enough for a weekend camp, bring 2 or a charger for longer
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    Thanks for the suggestions, the ring or bar lights with magnets seem like a good option for our needs. I'll take a look at some different options.

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    We use festoons of compact fluorescent lamps, a 12V battery, and a 12V to 230V inverter. We also use an LED floodlight for 'outside' areas.
    MatSav


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    Quote Originally Posted by MatSav View Post
    We use festoons of compact fluorescent lamps, a 12V battery, and a 12V to 230V inverter. We also use an LED floodlight for 'outside' areas.
    Don't think I'd want 230V in a tent...

    Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Don't think I'd want 230V in a tent...

    Neil
    Done properly (ideally with the round 16amp type waterprof connectors and lighting kit thats designed for the purpose), 230v is fine. Personally if installing mains / generator power into a tent I tend to use 110v as much as possible. In my previous job we used a mix of 110 (yellow cable) and 240v (blue cable) kit to light and provide power for appliances in our tents at events / in emergencies (which was a vast improvement on what we used to do before we bought all the proper outdoor kit - daisy chains of 13a extension leads tied to tent ceilings is, i'll agree, a bad idea)

    All depends if you have a competent person who knows how to set it up safely. (This doesnt mean they need a qualification, but they do need to know what they're doing!)

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    All depends if you have a competent person who knows how to set it up safely. (This doesnt mean they need a qualification, but they do need to know what they're doing!)
    True. You can also make a nice bang with a car battery if you get that wrong, though not so likely to kill anyone. But I think I'd still go down the line that 12V is safer so is preferable, particularly now low-voltage LEDs as found in kitchens and bathrooms can provide just as good a light as tungsten or fluorescent.

    But you're right, with the proper site equipment (but only with said equipment, not with normal household kit) it's safe enough.

    Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    True. You can also make a nice bang with a car battery if you get that wrong, though not so likely to kill anyone. But I think I'd still go down the line that 12V is safer so is preferable, particularly now low-voltage LEDs as found in kitchens and bathrooms can provide just as good a light as tungsten or fluorescent.

    But you're right, with the proper site equipment (but only with said equipment, not with normal household kit) it's safe enough.

    Neil
    The only electrical fire i've ever had at a camp or event was caused by 12v (a ciruit shorting along the metal edge of a gopak table!). If using a home made system with a 12v car battery don't forget to add some inline fuses!!!

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to recneps For This Useful Post:

    MatSav (29-01-2014),Neil Williams (28-01-2014)

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    Our 230V installation in our mess tent is RCD protected, and the installation components are IP65 rated.

    RCDs aren't easy to install with an inverter though, because phase and neutral are 'floating' - there's not usually a reference point for Earth / Ground, so an RCD / ELCB can't 'see' any leakage current. However, the inverter we use has a 'sense lead' that connects to the -ve terminal on the source, and we also use a ground spike. The inverter won't provide power if the sense lead isn't connected.
    MatSav


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