How to Turn On RV Running Lights While Camping: A Helpful Guide

How to Turn On RV Running Lights While Camping

Have you spent time in an RV campground when the sun goes down and notices that, like fireflies across the site, RV running lights pop on to give just a little extra illumination?

If you’ve wondered how to pull that off, you’ve come to the right place! Learning how to turn on RV running lights while camping is easier than you might think. You can do it with a commercial switch, a trailer hitch fuse hack, or your own custom LED light array.

Find out more in this detailed guide!

Benefits of Having Running Lights When You’re Camping

Folks new to the world of RV camping discover pretty quickly the value of having exterior lighting around their rig, especially when they are set up in camp.

At the same time, RV owners learn pretty quickly that having dedicated exterior lighting can draw a lot of “juice” – wearing down batteries that later need to be recharged or necessitating the use of loud generators at night.

That won’t make you a favorite RV campground neighbor anytime soon, that’s for sure!

Luckily, though, by running your running lights at night – independent of your RV going down the road – you get a little bit of exterior lighting (gentle, even exterior lighting at that) without headaches, hassle, or power consumption.

Best of all, these running lights are strategically located across the exterior of your RV already. They are built-in, throw enough light to be helpful, and don’t have to be filled with (outside of implementing the “light trigger” that we described below).

If you’re looking to join the rest of your RV “firefly” community when the sun goes down, you’ll want to use the inside info below. We share everything you need to know to figure out how to turn on RV running lights while camping from here on out!

Don’t forget to check out our Recommended RV Equipment list!

How to Turn On RV Running Lights While Camping

There are a couple of different ways you can flip your running lights on when you have your RV posted up at camp, but the three options that we highlight below are the simplest, most straightforward, and (for the most part) least expensive options.

Let’s jump right in.

Commercial Running Light Switch

The absolute easiest way to pull this off is to get your hands on a commercial “running light switch” available from many reputable manufacturers.

Products like this one work well with most campers on the market today, though there are tons of other options to help you find a switch compatible with your specific year, make, and model RV.

These things snap directly into your RV’s seven-pin connector already wired up. You don’t need any extra equipment, you don’t need any electrical experience, and you don’t have to worry about anything going sideways on you.

All you have to do is pop these commercial running lights, which are right out of their package, snap them into the seven-way trailer hitch switch after you have unhooked your RV, of course, and then press the button to turn the lights on or off.

That’s it!

That’s all it takes!

Trailer Hitch Hack

Of course, there are plenty of RV owners interested in spending a lot of money on a commercial light switch like this when an even simpler – and even less expensive – hack will do.

This is how many RV owners turn their running lights on, a hack that has just rippled through the RV owner community – jumping from campground to campground as people share this simple little discovery.

You see, a 10 amp or 15 amp fuse (something you can pick up a whole box out for just a couple of bucks) can be inserted directly into the same seven-way plug you would have stuck a commercial connector into.

You have to stick the fuse into two adjacent slots, moving from pair to pair until you find the pair that triggers the running lights themselves.

And that’s it. That’s all you have to do to make this hack work.

Now, granted, this approach requires more experimentation than going out and buying a commercial switch from a reputable seller.

You will have to fiddle with different adjacent connections until you find the one responsible for bringing those lights on for you.

After that, you can simply mark the two adjacent connections with a marker or a little bit of paint (just so you don’t have to try and find them on your own later), and you are off to the races.

This is a safe, simple, and foolishly easy (not to mention inexpensive) way to bring those running lights on board.

Custom LED Array or Controller

Some people like to tinker and toy with their RV – especially when it comes to the electrical accessories “under the hood” – and this approach is specifically intended for those kinds of owners.

If you get a wiring schematic for your RV and are willing to play around with the electrical system, you can find a way to independently wire up an LED array that you can trigger on your own – or insert an independent controller to power on your lights whenever you want.

Both of these approaches are much more labor-intensive, much more live time-intensive, and require a whole lot more work than what we described above.

At the same time, though, if you go with a custom LED setup, you can get a lot more light and more control than what you would have been able to pull off otherwise.

Closing Thoughts

Figuring out how to turn on RV running lights while camping isn’t that challenging – and it’s nice to know that there are a couple of different options you can pick and choose from.

No matter which way you go, though, be sure to turn your RV running lights off before you tuck in for bed.

You don’t want to wake up in the morning and find that your little hack killed your battery!

Don’t forget to check out our Recommended RV Equipment list!

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Hi, my name is Andy. I have been camping my whole life. I started camping with my parents as a little kid and remember hanging out around a campfire roasting marshmallows. As I got older, car camping was a regular occurrence. After I got married and started a family, we decided we wanted to share the travel and camping experience with our kids. Out of that experience, this site,, was born.

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