If you’ve ever been caught out in open country after the sun sets without augmented lighting, you’ll know just how dark it can get – and how quickly night can fall. If you’ve ever banged a shin on your trailer hitch receiver because you couldn’t see around your campsite, you understand the importance of decent campsite and personal lighting. Thankfully, the age of fuel-fed lanterns and incandescent bulbs has pretty much ended in favor of LEDs that draw very little power but put out a lot more light – often in a color or fashion we can control.
From bumper-mounted driving lights to roof-spanning light bars to personal headlamps and lighting that brings a little ambiance to the campsite, we’ve got your lighting needs covered with this list of some of the best overland lighting available today.
KC Hilites — FLEX ERA LED Light Bar
KC’s new Flex Era LED modules are a simple and easy way to build a sophisticated lighting setup or keep things very simple. The system is built around 10-inch segments that can be strung together to make larger light bars but can also be built into a curve. The lights beam pattern and color can be modified with special drop-in lenses and filters. A cool amber backlighting feature adds a stylish twist when the main lights are off. The segments can also be different colors to match your rig’s color palette. Each 10-inch segment delivers nearly 8,000 lumens of illumination.
MSRP: $499 for the base 10-inch segment, up to $1,800 for a 50-inch segment
Rigid Industries — D-Series Pro
The RIGID D-Series Pro are a favorite of ours, because they have so many positive attributes, including a low price, small size, and lots of variations to choose from. You can get the D series, pro lights in floods, spots, ditch lights, bumper lights, and many more variations. They can be mounted almost anywhere, or they can fit flush into bumpers. They can also be used on motorcycles, ATVs, and side-by-sides. Prices start at under $100, so it’s affordable to mount several on your rig or bike.
MSRP: $96.29 each up to $308.29 each
BioLite — AlpenGlow Lanterns
BioLites’ Alpenglow LED lanterns look like they’re out of a science fiction movie and have the performance to match. Available in three sizes, the AlpenGlow lanterns can illuminate your campground and the inside of your tent or light your way down the trail. The two larger models have large built-in batteries that can charge phones and other small devices. Each lantern has adjustable intensity levels of white light, yellow light, and a variety of colors. The larger lanterns can also show multiple colors at once, phase slowly to different colors, or imitate a flickering candle. The exterior of the lanterns is soft, and they are highly drop-resistant. They are also splash-resistant and operate with one big button on the top of the lantern, but you can also shake them to get the special lighting effects.
MSRP: $39.95 to $79.00
DENALI Electronics — D7 Pro Dual Beam LED Lights
Adding auxiliary lighting to your Adventure Motorcycle has always been somewhat of a compromise. Should you get floods or spots? With the new Denali D7 pro dual beam lights, you no longer have to make that choice. The new D7 pro dual beams feature both flood and spot beams within the single light housing, and they can also change color temperature. The spot and beam lights can also be used together for maximum illumination – an astounding 23,000 lumens per pair. They can also work as a DRL light during the day, and you can pick the color. Included snap-on filters can change the color of the central part of the lights to amber or yellow. They can also be wired in as turn signals and are CANsmart & DialDim compatible for plug-and-play operation on many modern adventure bikes. They are also rated for total submersion.
MSRP: Starting at $399.00
Black Diamond — Storm 500-R Rechargeable Headlamp
When it comes right down to it, a good headlamp is absolutely indispensable when you’re out on an adventure. They leave your hands free to make a fire, help someone who is injured, or just set up camp by putting light right where you want it: in front of you. The 500-R rechargeable headlamp by Black Diamond is a trustworthy companion. It will put out a maximum of 500 lumens, or you can quickly tap it to bring it down to its minimum dimming range instantly. The large internal battery means it will run for 150 hours at its lowest setting. Three LED bulbs give you spot, flood, and red, green, or blue light to preserve your night vision, plus strobe mode for rescue signaling. It’s fully submersible and charges from almost any USB power source. The soft band and small size mean you can wear it for hours in comfort, and it comes in a variety of colors.
ARB — NACHO TM 5 Combo
The new line of NACHO TM5 Combo lights from ARB are designed to do several things well in one small package. They can be used as compliant fog lights while driving in traffic or as daylight bright illumination well off the pavement. The housing and lenses are also curved so that some of the LEDs point upward, while the bottom section of lights is angled downward for seeing into ditches or other close obstacles. Each bank of angled lights is individually controllable. The lights include two amber covers and two smoke covers for customization. While the lights are submersible for a short time, they also have a pressure equalization vent for better durability at different altitudes. Best of all, they come with a lifetime warranty.
REVEL GEAR — Trail Hound 30-foot Solar Light
Sometimes, you just gotta light up the whole campsite. Revel Gear’s Trail Hound 30-foot string of LEDs will softly and politely light a large area with just enough light to be useful, but not so much that it annoys anyone nearby. The string of lights is powered via USB, so you can plug them directly into your rig or even a small pocket-sized power bank. They’re available in a number of color schemes, and they pack down small. In fact, they only weigh 1.6oz. They’re rain and dust-resistant so they can weather those backcountry conditions and provide campsite adventure after adventure.