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Should You Keep Your RV Exterior Lights On Overnight?

Should You Keep Your RV Exterior Lights On Overnight?

Should You Keep Your RV Exterior Lights On Overnight?

You’re packing up a picnic dinner. You realize you’ll be returning to your RV well after sunset, so you flip on the exterior lights.

You lock the door and head out for an evening adventure. All is well, right? Maybe not.

We consider the effects of leaving your RV exterior lights on at night. You might think twice the next time you leave for dinner.

Let’s dig in!

Should You Leave Your RV Exterior Lights on Overnight? Most Say No

Some people will leave their RV exterior lights on if they’re planning to return after dark. You don’t want to trip over a bicycle tire in the dark after enjoying a late evening dinner.

However, if you’re inside the RV for the night, turn the outside lights off. There isn’t a good reason to leave the exterior lights on overnight.

Truck with RV lights on parked under the stars.
When RVing for the night, make sure to turn the outside lights off.

Reasons to Turn Your RV Lights Off at Night

Although some people think that exterior lights deter thieves, this actually isn’t true. Leaving your exterior lights on at night also attracts bugs, wastes energy, and annoys fellow campers. Let’s look closer at these reasons to turn off your RV lights.

They Attract Bugs

If you’ve camped for any length of time or spent time outside at night, you quickly learn that bugs love bright lights. If your exterior lights are on, bugs will settle in along the LED strip. As soon as that door opens, say hello to all of those flying pests. Turn off the exterior lights so bugs stay away from your RV’s door.

Pro Tip: Minimize bugs around your RV by avoiding These RV Lights Attract Massive Amounts of Bugs.

They Waste Energy

If you’re boondocking, you want to save as much battery power as possible. Leaving the exterior lights on isn’t a smart idea. They use up unnecessary energy that could be saved for important systems like the air conditioning. Even if you’re not boondocking, you’re wasting electricity by leaving the exterior lights on.

Pro Tip: Boondocking is a great, free option for adventurous RVers, but make sure to follow The Don’ts of Boondocking | 10 Rules to Follow for RV Campers.

Woman sitting next to her RV in the dark.
Save energy by turning off your exterior lights at night.

They’re a Nuisance

Your fellow campers would prefer to gaze up at the starry night sky rather than see a blaring LED strip through their window. Don’t annoy your neighbors by leaving the exterior lights on at night. Some sites are so close together that your front porch is their backyard.

Your neighbors might find it difficult to fall asleep if your exterior lights shine through their bedroom window.

Leaving Your Lights on Isn’t as Much of a Safety Tactic as You Think

Some campers think leaving the exterior lights on will deter thieves. But that simply isn’t true. It actually alerts other people that you’re not home.

They notice that no one is outside, and yet the exterior lights are on. This indicates that you’ve left for the evening and invites thieves to break into your RV. If you haven’t changed your door locks or installed other preventative measures, your camper is a sitting duck.

Thief breaking into car/RV.
Leaving your exterior lights on at night actually signals to thieves that you are not inside your RV.

Try a Motion Sensor Light for Safety Measures

Motion sensor lights are more effective safety measures because they startle would-be thieves. Suddenly, the light comes on, and the thief runs away to avoid getting caught.

Since these motion sensor lights work all of the time, they’ll come on whether you’re in the camper or not. They’re easy to install and easy to purchase. And if you have a security system, you’ll get an alert if the motion sensor light turns on.

Are There Any Benefits to Leaving Your RV Exterior Lights on All Night? 

The only reason to leave your exterior lights on is when you know you’ll be returning in the dark. Maybe you’ve gone out for a day-long hike or traveled a few hours to meet friends for dinner. Understandably, you want to keep the RV exterior lights on so you can see where you’re walking when you return. But there’s no good reason to leave the lights on all night once you’re returned and settled in for the night.

RV exterior with lights on at night.
Consider motion sensor lights to help with visibility at night instead of leaving on your exterior nights all evening.

RV Safety and Security Tips

Since many people believe lighting helps protect their RVs, let’s look at a few more security measures you can take to keep your home and your family safe. These are easy and simple tips that anyone can implement.

Use Motion Sensor Lights

Use motion sensor lights to deter thieves. Motion sensor lights work well when you arrive late at night, as well. Instead of leaving the RV exterior lights on so that you can see when you return after dinner, install a motion sensor light that will turn on when your vehicle pulls up next to your RV.

You can see, you haven’t wasted energy all night, and you haven’t annoyed your neighbors.

RV campsite with many RVs parked at night.
For extra safety, make sure to have a reliable security system installed on your RV.

Use Door and Window Alarms

Install door and window alarms on your RV. You could even install an entire security system just like you could at a sticks-and-bricks house. These systems will come with pros and cons, so consider them carefully before choosing. Cheaper may not be better.

Keep Valuables Locked Up at Night

Sometimes you just want to go inside, watch a movie, and go to bed at the end of a long day. But you should lock up your valuables if you want to make sure you’ll have them in the morning.

Don’t leave your things scattered around the campsite where it’s easy for someone to grab them during the night. Make it difficult for thieves to carry away your valuables.

Use Your RV Exterior Lights Wisely 

It’s best to use your RV exterior lights only when you’re outside. If you’ve gone in for the night or ventured out for a sunset hike, turn them off. Keep the bugs away, save the earth by conserving energy, and don’t be a nuisance to your neighbors.

Use other security measures to protect your RV.

Hopefully, these tips will help you feel safe. How do you protect your RV without blasting your exterior lights all night?

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Steven Fry

Thursday 30th of September 2021

Any RV'er worth their salt, always invests in at least one sturdy quality flashlight. Preferably one with a red light, in addition to the customary white light. With the red light, you attract fewer bugs, disrupt your neighbors even less, and tax your night vision less; to boot. And I'd try to also aquire a head lamp, and a lantern, as well. Both of which, should include both white and red lights, as well. Most camping supply stores, sporting goods retailers, and even a lot of hardware stores and home improvement centers; can set you up with all of the aforementioned, easily.

Deb Klafter

Thursday 30th of September 2021

It's sad that you have to worry about thieves while camping now days. That use to be the one place you didn't - everyone was honorable!

Deb Klafter

Thursday 30th of September 2021

It's sad that you have to worry about thieves while camping now days. That use to be the one place you didn't. Everyone was honorable.

Mark Johnson

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

This is bs. Leaving the outside lights off is better for security flies in the face of all who advise more lighting. In that case my house would be dark, the local mall parking lot, and the lonely alley. Yes there are tradeoffs, but from a security standpoint" more lighting is always better. Those neighbors just might be creepy and need to be annoyed. Bugs are a fact of life. Deal with it. Not we shouldn't all be shouldn't waste energy, but most RV parks (short term) include those costs (along with water and sewer) as part of their lot rent. Just don't use flood lights maybe.

Spaced Out Alien

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

Should You Keep Your RV Exterior Lights On Overnight?

Not only NO, fucking HELL NO! If you're not out there, turn them off, if you are, be courteous to others, whom may be trying to view the stars and turn the fucking things off unless you're using them, then it shouldn't keep your neighbors from being able to enjoy their time too! Not to mention the morons keeping people up with them on all the time. No, that shit you string up everywhere, isn't any help either, just turn them off, period! Trash, take down the Christmas lights and quit leaving them up because your too moronic to not waste the electricity! Not everyone cares if you can see the neighborhood at night, you want to live in a light storm move into a stadium, quit being the pile of shit everyone's complaining about!!! Better yet, but yourself some land and light it up, quit showing everyone what a true pile of shit you truly are!!!πŸ˜€πŸ€¬πŸ–•πŸ½πŸ–•πŸ½πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™‚οΈπŸ§Ÿβ€β™‚οΈπŸ€―πŸ”«

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