Welcome to the eighth entry in November’s Mini Mod Contest. One Mini Mod will be published in every Email Alert in November. At the end of the month, we’ll hold a reader vote to determine November’s winner. Click here for information about the 2022 Mod Contest, including how to enter.
Phil and Mary Bogardus, Bothell, Washington
And Let There Be Camping Light!
2014 Ford F-350 Lariat
2018 Northern Lite 8-11 EXSE
When we are camping, we often go fly fishing and we tend to eat dinner late. We also like to cook our food on the barbecue outside and eat outside whenever possible.
With our Northern Lite 8-11, the only outside lighting is a single light at the door, a single light on the side of the camper, and an LED light strip on the rollout awning that is only available when the awning is extended.
We find this lighting is either not enough or too bright (the LED strip light is bright white and does not dim) so we wanted to come up with a way to provide functional outdoor lighting that provided a warm, inviting atmosphere.
My Queen (wife) had bought a Luci Solar Inflatable Lantern on sale to use when we were camping. I quickly figured out that we needed a place to hang it up to make it useful. Soon I was dreaming of ways to make it the outdoor lighting we were dreaming of. I had a rope that I carried in case I needed to tie down something, so I started with that. I tied it to my camper and looped it around a nearby tree, hung the Luci light on the rope and bam! We had light!
One light was not enough, so we all know I couldn’t stop there. It had to have more functionality because I wanted a bit more light. I also needed a way to hang it all up depending on our campsite’s location/layout, and be able to adjust where the lights were located.
To start with, I had an old nylon strap that I attached to the awning bracket on the back of the camper (see photo above) and tied one end of the rope to it. This strap allows for a quick connect/disconnect from the camper or any other connection point.
I then took a 36-inch aluminum bar clamp from my shop, drilled a hole in the end, and put a locking trailer coupler pin through it (see photo above).
This bar clamp could then be clamped to the camping site’s picnic table in a vertical position (see photo above) and connect to the other end of the rope.
Next, I attached a NiteIze Figure 9 carabiner to the coupler pin so I that could very easily adjust the length of the rope as needed. Then I pulled the rope tight to create a tightline to hang the Luci lights from (see photos above and below).
To hang the Luci lights, I cut a short piece of rope and, on one end, tied a half-hitch knot and attached a NiteIze S-Biner to the rope and light.
The S-biner allows the light to be easily installed and removed. On the other end, I tied a simple knot around the tightline rope (see photo above).
We can attach as many Luci lights as we want to the rope and let the party begin (see photo above). With the simple knot around the tightline we can slide the light along the line to any place we want the light to be. Want extra light to cook? Just slide a couple over the barbecue. Want extra light to eat dinner at the picnic table? Then slide two or three of them there and enjoy an elegant campsite dinner.
The Luci Lights are a great option for this mod. They are solar rechargeable and you can get them in many different styles and colors. They also have them where you can select the color and have it rotate between all the available colors. They give off enough light to cook, eat, or even read (see photo above).
Or you can turn some of the lights off or on depending on how much light you want. With a Figure 9 carabiner, you can attach the rope to the bar clamp, around a tree or tree stump, around a signpost, another camper, your kid’s leg or anything else you can think of.
I have five Luci Inflatable Lanterns that I use and find this number is perfect for our campsite. They recharge during the day and collapse down for storage when we are not using them. You can buy the Luci Lights on Amazon or at most outdoor stores typically for around $25 each. I have always been able to find mine on sale and have never paid more than $15 each.
This lighting system has been fantastic giving us perfect outdoor lighting. We can always find a place to attach the light string to, so we get the perfect campsite ambiance. It makes it easy to move around the campsite without tripping over things on the ground after dark. Best of all, we like that we can increase or decrease the amount of light at our campsite depending on what we are doing. And when the sun goes down the multiple light colors make the campsite a warm and inviting place to hang out and party with friends and family.
36-inch Aluminum Bar Clamp – $13
Locking Trailer Coupler Pin – $3 (I bought a single one at my local hardware store)
NiteIze Figure 9 Carabiner – $8
NiteIze S-Biner – $9 for 6 each (I bought a Size #1)
Luci Inflatable Lantern – $25 each (often on sale for less)
It took me one hour, if that. It cost me $32 for the Tightline rope setup. I spent about $75 on five Luci Lights. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is easy peasy.
Disclaimer: The modifications above are submitted by Truck Camper Magazine readers. It is your responsibility to make sure that any do-it-yourself modification project you undertake is safe, effective, and legal for your situation.
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