Lighting Options for Off-Grid Cabins

You are going to need light if you are staying up at a cabin, especially an off-grid one. When the night comes, what are you going to do?

What are my lighting options for my off-grid cabin? There are many options. Kerosene and battery-powered lanterns and Propane lamps work great. If you have a generator, you can use that as well. Solar and wind-generated power is also effective.

You can get really creative with off-grid energy; just go on YouTube to check it out. Today I wanted to share some more secure ways of providing energy for yourself that have been tried and tested.

The Big Light Sources

Besides the Sun, light sources aren’t huge. If you take the time and effort, and you have money, you can create energy for your cabin on your own.


Generators are a great back up to even bigger energy suppliers like solar or wind. You will want to keep your generator outside and connected to the house through a long heavy duty extension cord. Keep it away from doors or windows. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you so just keep it away from the house.

A great generator is the WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator. It is versatile. Easy to use. It has many connectors to various types of plug-ins. It produces clean power.

It is quiet. It won’t make a ruckus. It is durable which makes it great for the outside of your house or even a camping trip of sorts. It even has a USB port.

It costs $445 USD and it has great customer reviews. It has a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Wind and Solar Energy

Both wind and solar energy are very eco-friendly. You can create and store your own energy without the cost of putting dangerous gases in the air. It is efficient and it powers well. You’ll have to invest in deep cell storage batteries to hold the energy you create.

One con to this is these two can be very expensive and you will need many of them. Maybe since you have a cabin, you will have the money. Generally this is an investment and it would take some time after having the cabin to have these. Another reason that these might not work is if there is not good airflow or sunlight in the area you are in. You will know for yourself what to expect.

The Handheld Variant

When I think of handheld light sources, I think of the Boy Scouts. Here are some things that I remember using.

Kerosene Lanterns

Invented by a polish pharmacist are the Kerosene Lanterns. These have been around for years. They were used way back in the 1800s. That’s how old they are.

These lanterns have a base where the kerosene liquid is placed. These lanterns burn fuel through a wick pulling it up into the glass dome/globe. It has a release for heat at the top. This light source is extremely common in the world with an estimated 1.6 billion people using it.

Regardless of the popularity, it is not very bright. It lights a small immediate area. It is good for when going to bed and not used very long. Another problem is Kerosene heaters can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. With some many other alternatives, Kerosene is not your best option. Maybe this one should be left to history.

Battery Powered Lanterns

Generally, I think of Coleman lanterns when I think of the battery powered ones. It has a classic look that everybody can recognize. It does not cost much. It is only $15USD and they take 4 D batteries. It is versatile and easy to use.

Its biggest pro is how many ways you can use it. It can hang outside as a porch light. It can be used for reading. Do you need to go outside at night for a quick second? It is incredibly versatile.

The only bad thing I can think about is that you need different pieces to make it work. You have to make sure you have enough batteries. Extra light bulbs are needed in case one breaks. It’s not self-sustaining. I think these are much better for you and the environment than the Kerosene lighting. I would also use these for smaller things like going to bed or going outside real quick to fix something at night. This can be a supplement to a bigger source.


Candles can add a nice scene to the area. I would not use this as a main or supplementary light source. This is for looks and for emergencies. Keep it somewhere on a counter where it will not spill. Candles are simple. I do not need to say much.

Flashlights and Headlamps

These are also great for small things. They are useful for hard to reach areas. They are useful on a cloudy day. If you need to get up to go to a bathroom, you can have them at your bedside. These are versatile, just like the battery powered lanterns.

Along with that, they also have the same cons. You need the supplies to replace parts when they go out. It isn’t that big of a deal. I just would not use it as a main source of light.

Propane Lamp

Coleman also has a great propane lamp. They give off some great heat and light. We mostly use them outside. They are loud so I would not recommend using them inside.

These are better used for short trips. Propane is expensive and during a cold winter night, it will only last for about 2 nights. That’s a lot of money to go through in a potentially long time in a cabin. I would not recommend this type of lighting if you want to stay off the grid for a while.

Related Questions

How many solar panels are needed to power a house? A 2,000 square foot house is allowed 4,000 watts of energy. It will really depend on the type of solar panel, too. If your house was that big you would need 12-18 solar panels.

How much a solar panel system cost? It can cost anywhere from $25,000-$35,000 USD. It is really expensive and is a long time investment.

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