VIDEO: Let there be… LED

Posted In: Airstream, Product Review, RV Products, Video

To upgrade, the philosopher known as Beyonce teaches us, is to live.

That’s the cool thing about owning an Airstream or any other RV — like a brick-and-mortar home, it’s a constantly evolving platform. With the simple flick of a plastic card, you can express your ideas and/or wreck your bank account.

Some upgrades are cosmetic. For example, our bathroom revamp (See, generally, Old School, New Faucet) was largely a matter of appearance (although the new faucet handles are a vast functional improvement over the originals).

But with LED lighting, we have an upgrade that’s almost purely functional. Sure, there are some cosmetic differences (especially if you opt for the blue shade of light). But there are several advantages to LED lighting. LED lights really are better than their traditional counterparts in substantive ways. The life span of these LED lights is 5000 hours and they use 12% the power of the halogen that we replaced.

Unfortunately, the bulbs cost a lot more than old fashioned incandescent bulbs. But if we are to believe the hype, they use much less power while also lasting longer. So in the long run, especially if you are keeping your camper for the long term, the finances are a wash. In the short term, you take a bath.

The most immediately obvious benefit of LED lighting is temperature. Our old Airstream lights burned pretty hot. You wouldn’t want to touch one. You might want to fry a quail egg on one. In fact, as you’ll see in the video, our exterior porch light burned so hot that it melted its plastic light cover. Yikes!

So we made the big switch to LED lighting, at least for the lights we use on a daily basis. We changed five lights to LED. Those so inclined can go further, changing exterior brake and running lights to the fancy stuff.

All told, the five new lights cost us about $50, approximately $10 a pop. I’m sure that if you shop around, you MAY be able to find ’em cheaper. Maybe.

LED lights are available in different color temperatures. In this case, I’m not referencing ACTUAL temperature, but rather the color tone of the light itself.

Our exterior Airstream lights are the “cool” variety of LED — they emanate light of a blueish / white color.

For our interior lights we opted for a “warmer” color temperature. These reading lights emanate a more traditional orange / yellow color of light.

We’ve been using our LED lights for several weeks. I have especially appreciated the interior lights. Using less electricity is always beneficial, and the cooler operating temperatures are an added bonus.

Is this upgrade WORTH THE MONEY? Hmmm, tough to say. It’s an individual choice. I don’t like paying $12 for a dinky little lightbulb, even one that looks like a Tron movie prop. But I must admit, we are very pleased with the lights. We do a lot of boondocking (dry camping) and we really appreciate the power savings. So it was worth it for us.


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Essential RV Camping Gear

Scout365 – Our Inflatable Boat!
Counter Assault Bear Spray
Oxygenics shower head
Antisway bar

Inverter generator
LED spotlight
Sean’s Tilley hat
Merrell Jungle Moc shoes
Walkie talkies
Boeshield T-9 lubricant
Weber portable grill
Air-Dryr
OBDII code reader
Water “jerry can”
Eye masks for sleep
Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries
RV water filter
Dry shampoo
The Next Exit book

Airstream Essentials
Trailer Aid tire changing ramp
Britta Bella water pitcher
Pink flamingos

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