Darkness isn't for everyone
I’m going to admit it. It’s embarrassing, but maybe if I tell you, you’ll understand what I mean. I’m absolutely terrified of the dark. Maybe I’m not alone.. or am I? It’s not like the characters in scary movies are real, right? I discovered this fear when I was out on a trip while camping but I didn’t arrive until after dark. With my stock headlights, a small flashlight and just a little bit of camping gear, I swear I could hear something out there in the wilderness. Big Foot? Are you there?
Although I made it through the night, there was only one thing on my mind: I NEED better lighting. I LOVED off-roading and camping, but there was no way I could stomach setting up in the dark in a dim lit area. Especially being a solo adventurer. I began searching for a multitude of different items to help me overcome my fears- or keep me safe from the monsters dreams are made of.
At first, I looked at bigger flash lights and lanterns, because duh. But then I realized that I had limited space in my vehicle already, especially if I was planning to continue my build. After doing some research and checking into a few different forum communities, it seemed like everyone was recommending Ditch Lights. That sounded cool, but I had a few concerns.
Concern 1: Do they interfere with the windshield or hood of my vehicle? From photos it definitely looked like it could.
Concern 2: Is this something I can use for my daily drive or is it only for out on the roads less taken?
Concern 3: There are a lot of companies who sell these, how do I know what kind will work best?
Do ditch lights interfere with the windshield or hood of the vehicle? No, in fact they don’t! Most ditch brackets attach directly onto the hood using factory bolts, which is a plus. Fumbling with hardware can be a pain.
Can you use ditch lights for your daily drive? After further research, you actually shouldn’t use ditch lights for everyday driving. Apparently they are not approved to be used for highway travel, which I guess makes sense. I mean, I’d hate to be blinded by a vehicle coming the opposite way. Regardless, I plan to off-road a lot, so they would still be useful to me.
What ditch light will work best? This one was an eye opener for me. There are a few different kinds of ditch lights you can purchase, but it will all depend on what you intend to use them for. Some companies fabricate their ditch brackets out of steel, which can rust overtime. The less expensive brands can cause your bracket to break from the vibration of the pod and from stress of the trails. I knew I wanted my brackets to last. With other companies having a stainless-steel option as well as a low pro option, that meant that my brackets would not rust, and would more than likely last longer due to the strength of the material.
I immediately dug through as many reviews as possible on multiple companies. Ultimately, I decided to go with Rago Fabrication Low Pro Ditch Brackets. The reviews were solid, and the brackets are made from 3/16 Stainless Steel with a really nice finish to them. These brackets were TOUGH. They included little zip tie slots on the brackets to keep my cords organized, plus you can’t beat that life-time guarantee. I paired these brackets with some Baja Design Lighting, the Squadron Pro in clear to be exact. I had heard the lower profile brackets can cause a glare on my hood, so I figured I’d get some amber covers and see if that may help with that.
I had installed my ditch lights and pods, and I was ready to take on the darkness again, this time, more prepared. I headed out to my spot and flipped on the lights. Those suckers are BRIGHT! Just what I needed. I was glad I researched Baja Designs and went with the pros for that stronger output. I felt like I was in a construction zone, I could see everything around me.
I didn’t get to see Big Foot that night, but I was okay with that. The darkness isn’t for everyone, and it definitely was not for me. For now, my night runs will be free from monsters. My dreams? Now that’s another story.