Elk Camp Solar Lanterns + Provisions

Welcome to Elk Camp on the Grey’s River in Wyoming.

The elk hunt in Wyoming is a big deal.  We rely on elk for it’s clean meat throughout the year.  Mike’s already knee deep in topo maps, lists, gear and more lists.  We spent last weekend scouting elk camp sites…in June!  There’s just so much to plan and organize because you never know if it’s going to be warm in Oct. or snowy (ewww).  Needless to say, the gear involved borders on ridiculous.

This year I have a crafty contribution to Elk Camp that will ease the burden of old, out of shape guys chasing elk and, reduce some of the gear.  

 Solar lanterns!

Lets face it, gas lanterns are SO yesterday!  Make your guy several inexpensive solar lanterns for his burly adventures and bask in his clueless wonderment.  Picture this welcome sight, a few lanterns lighting up camp as the guys stumble in after a long day of hiking.  No worries of flame or fire and, the lanterns start to glow at dusk without being told :)  

These are the basic provisions, one solar stick and a wide mouth mason jar, any size.

Remove the stick and the clear plastic shade so you’re left with the solar disk…that’s all you’re going to need for our project besides the jar.

I suggest making at least 3 lanterns for camp.  Two small and one larger jar filled with essentials like, a box of matches, a few firestarters and a candle for quick access if needed. 

Basically, the solar disk fits up through the ring of the jar, no use for the lid here.  I highly suggest that when you go to purchase your solar stick, take the wide mouth ring with you to test the fit.  

Push the disk up through the ring almost to the point of pushing it all the way through.  After you’ve done that, twist the ring back down on the jar.  You might have to muscle this a little because it’s an airtight fit.

Suggestions:  put one on the camp table outside, one in the tent and one in the wall tent (camp kitchen).  At the end of your trip, keep the lantern with the emergency provisions in your car!

When not is use, disassemble and remove the battery for storage OR, put the extra lanterns in the backyard for a pretty wintery glow on those long nights ahead.  They’re so pretty in snow!



  1. says

    This is a neat idea! I spent the afternoon tromping around smokey Casper, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Menards, Big Lots, Dollar Store, Natural Grocers…no luck finding a solar stick that would work in the wide mouth jar ring. Where did you buy yours?

  2. says

    If you spray the inside with a frosting paint the light will be defused to cover more area with light. These are great for emergency lights in the house. Just leave them on the window sill they will charge and discharge at night.

  3. says

    Ok…I think I’m slow..but how does this work? And if it automatically lights the candle how does the heat not melt the batteries? Thanks!

  4. says

    Well, I couldn’t find a light that fit perfectly. I did find one that was ever so slightly too small. My awesome husband took the existing screws from the underside of the light and mounted it to a lid, making sure to poke a hole for the led to shine through. We will be making tons of these for the house and for gifts! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Ed Horst says

      One can just use the solar lights by bringing them inside for use in emergency lighting.Place entire unit in empty container or house plants for holding unit.Emergency flash light as well,replace outside or near windows to recharge..

  5. says

    This is an excellent idea! I can’t wait to visit Dollar Tree to see if they have any solar sticks in stock right now so I can try (they do in Spring, just not sure if all year). Thanks so much for teaching how to make this. C-:

  6. says

    Don’t get the $1 cheapos unless you also want to buy new rechargeable batteries right away. If your solar tops are a little too small for a pint jar (regular mouth – not wide), then keep the plastic lens on below the light. It makes pretty patterns of light, and will stand on the bottom of the jar, putting the top at the correct height! I put mine outside during the day to charge the batteries, then bring them in at night to light my way to the kitchen and bathroom. I am a senior with severe osteoporosis and I cannot risk a fall, so my solar nightlights are a godsend.

  7. Dionysius John says

    By filling the jars with water (carefully so as to not wet the electrical portions) the light diffuses a good deal more, providing light to a greater area. If one though of it, a layer of saran wrap, loosely applied to the mouth of the jar before screwing on the ring mounted light fixture, would go a long way to prevent “Ooops!” getting the light fixture wet inside… try it you’ll find it worth the effort!

  8. Dr. Lorna says

    The “solar” part of these lights is important to remember, for they will need to be recharged in the sun every day. While the jars do help the lights reflect more, the spikes the come on weigh less and are easier to just poke into the ground to let the disks get sun. Perhaps there is another option to make the tiny LEDs in the lights reflect more while making them easy to recharge.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>