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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
One of the things I have not seen much explored here is auxiliary vehicle lighting. I don’t know about you, but often I find myself arriving at camp after hours in traffic and it is long past dark. So what do you do? You grab your headlamp and try to set up in the dark, or you use your headlights to light the way. Both scenarios work, but neither is ideal. So here is my solution. (And yes, this is on an Xterra, but I am wondering if much like this has been tried on an E.)

I mounted a custom low profile rack to my stock roof bars and added 3 rear facing lights and 3 side lights on each side:


This way I can back into any camping spot at night and have enough light on all sides to set up a large camp (without disturbing my neighbours as the lights are pointed down and I stay at parks with a lot of space around us).





Sometimes I find that it can be hard to find a campsite (not in a state park where there are people around) or turn off in the country at night. So these come in handy:






And I find that there is not enough light in the trunk of my truck, so I added 10 4 chip superflux LEDs and now it is as bright as day back there. No more lost snacks at night.





And just so there is some E content here I parked beside an E the other day and snapped a pic.


So has anyone done anything similar with the Element?
 

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Lots of folks here have installed interior LEDs in their Elements. Roof lights are uncommon because the Element doesn't have the ground clearance or a 4WD system designed for general off road use. I love my E, but it's not in the same league as vehicles based on pickup trucks.

I think that roof mounted Luxeon ("superflux") LED lamps might be suitable for wilderness camping, but for most campgrounds they are too bright, as are 55W halogen lamps. A spotlight or hand torch is less intrusive and more controllable for locating a campground site at night.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think that most people who camp are trying to get away from bright lights. People who don't consider the impact of their actions on their surroundings make for poor camping neighbors. For use while parked at a campsite, I considered using LED lamps like the ones below, which are inexpensive, have reasonable power draw, and are waterproof. (The flasher can be bypassed for steady illumination. )

When I tested two of these with a 12V rechargeable gel cell battery as an area light, they also were too bright, so I ended up using the lamp shown at the bottom. A set of 4 rechargeable AA's provides good light for 12-20 hours. 7 bucks on eBay, no wiring required, and combined with the DRLs and interior lights of my E, it provides more than enough light for me to set up my 11x11 tent after dark. (I suppose you could velcro them on a roof rack, if you wished:)) http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180416531093&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT
 

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For my purposes, these roof rack lights would be overkill. I prefer to get to the campsite before dark (almost a must for busy public campgrounds). Over the years I have used various fluorescent lamps, and LEDs in recent years. On the last trip I stuck a couple of Sylvania DOT 'closet' LEDs lamps to the interior lining of the Element. They provide plenty of light for sleeping in the car.
 

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I have been playing with the idea of what you have on your X for my E. I just don't have the funds at the moment to get all of the lights. Your set up looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think that most people who camp are trying to get away from bright lights. People who don't consider the impact of their actions on their surroundings make for poor camping neighbors. For use while parked at a campsite, I considered using LED lamps like the ones below, which are inexpensive, have reasonable power draw, and are waterproof.
Let me clarify. I am respectful of my neighbours. And I don't drive through campgrounds with all my lights blazing. If used to find a site, I'm talking not in a park.

While camped there is no one even remotely close to the limit of my lights. Do you see how they are pointed down? But I do appreciate having enough light by which to set up camp when I arrive at night.
 

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I remember another member having lights installed on his racks. Angled down as well. I thought it was great. If I can find his post with pics, I'll post it.

I have considered doing myself. I've many occasions where I don't make it to the site before nightfall and having lights like those would come in really handy in setting up.
 
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