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The baja designs Squadron Pro JK Fog Pocket Kit is not just the Brightest, but the Best of the Best!!

Posted by on December 2, 2015
bdspro_unboxing2

A box of sunshine.

bdspro_unboxing

Ya gotta admit those are some bad ass lookin’ lights!

 

Friends, family, and long time readers know I have a thing for lights…flashlights, weapons lights, key chain lights, headlamps, lanterns, and yes, of course, vehicle lights.  It’s a good idea to always have a good source of light with you, and when it comes to your vehicle, it’s actually a safety issue.  Better lighting can make you a better night-time driver, and helps others see you better.  Obviously, if you’re doing any kind of off-road travel, wheeling, or racing after dark, then super bright, high-quality aftermarket lighting is an ABSOLUTE MUST!!

The moment I knew…

All that said, I wasn’t even looking for lights the first time I saw the baja designs Squadron Pro JK Fog Pocket Kit.  I was still deciding between AEV and Metalcloak for my suspension system, but the moment I saw my buddy Rin’s white JKUR at the OK 4WD & Auto Metalcloak event, I knew I needed these lights.  Nothing else would do!

baja designs Squadron-R ProIt wasn’t even dark.  The sun was still shining.  Yet, these little, tiny lights in the front bumper were burning my eyes out!!  I was like, Holy S…., WHAT are those??!!  They were white hot.

baja designs Squadron-R Pro

…and they looked just as cool off.  In fact, to my eyes, the baja designs Squadron Pro JK Fogs look better than any other fog, or driving light design I’d ever seen – and as you can see from the pictures below, I’ve pretty much seen ’em all.

OK-VisionX

OK 4wd & Auto’s Vision X Display

OK_RigidIndustries_Display

OK 4wd & Auto’s Rigid Industries Display

OK_JWSpeakerBajaDispaly

OK 4wd & Auto’s baja designs and J.W. Speaker Display

OK_BajaSetup1

Ok 4wd & Auto’s baja designs display. Don’t be misled by the comparatively small display. These are the brightest, top-of-the-line LEDs.

OK-BajaDesignsCaged

OK 4wd & Auto has a lot of high end lights on display. baja designs are the only ones you’ll see locked up tight, in a cage.

Family, friends and readers know I always try to buy the best I can afford.  “Russ, when was the last time I overdid anything?”  Seriously, I’d rather do it right, and do it once.  I’ve learned the hard way that you eventually spend more money in the long run replacing cheaper stuff, than if you went high-quality to start. Not to mention the hours wasted removing components that fail, installing replacements, or constantly having to make fixes.  Then there’s the frustration of spending good, hard earned money on a piece of equipment, investing time to complete a high-quality, factory-like install, only to have whatever-it-is NOT work when you need it to?!!  It’s the worst!  

Like many of you, my Jeep is the real deal.  I’m not just building for looks.  I’m building a daily driver, family truckster, overland explorer, surf fishing, hunting rig, trail rig, pull people out of the snowbanks in winter rig, and sometimes rock crawler.  Given that my Jeep JK has to function safely, reliably and successfully in so many different roles, combined with just how busy life is, I just don’t have time to play games with inferior products, especially when it comes to something as important as lighting.  I need good stuff that’s just gonna work, which is why I chose the baja designs Squadron Pro’s.

bdspro-installed

Now, even though I loved the looks and light output of the baja designs Squadron Pro JK Fogs from day one, I still did my research.  I read online reviews, I spoke with owners, and I checked the broad selection at OK Auto & 4WD, where they not only stock all the top names, but have them setup in impressive, interactive displays.

 

Bright Spots: more than just a pretty face.  

I found that the baja designs Squadron-R Pro fog pocket kit for the JK was not only the brightest, but the best on the market.  That shouldnt be a surprise once you realize baja designs products are purpose built for the off-road World’s main stages, like the baja 1000, and the theater of military conflict.  Yes, baja designs military infrared (IR) LED lights and Infrared (IR) HID lights provide high powered covert IR light source, enhancing night vision capabilities for vehicle lighting, hunting and security applications for our men and women in uniform. 

JK-FogPocket-CompChart

baja designs uses all top of the line components, and assembles their products with quality construction, serviceability and modularity in mind. 

  • 4 Cree XM-L2 LEDs with Hard Coated Polycarbonate Lenses, that can be changed.  baja designs offers accessory lenses that allow you to change the pattern of your Squadron series lights from driving, to spot, to wide cornering or to a combo of driving and cornering.  You can also change the color from clear / white to yellow.
SProAmberComboLens

Squadron Series Amber Driving Combo Lens

  • Hard Anodized & Powder Coated Cast Aluminum Housing with cooling fins.

 

  • Billet Machined Aluminum Bezel, that can be changed.

 

  • Stainless Steel Hardware & Bracket material.

 

  • Exceeds MIL-STD810G (Mil-Spec Testing).

 

  • Built-In Overvoltage Protection.

 

  • IP69K (Waterproof, Submersible to 9ft).

 

  • IK10 Compliant (Mechanical Impact Testing).

 

  • Lifetime Warranty.

 

  • Owner / User Serviceability – replaceable bezels, lenses and optics.

 

  • The included high-quality wiring harness with Weatherpack connectors and thick, quality wire loom.

 

SProRockGuardAmber

Squadron Series Amber Rock Guard

SProRockGuard

Squadron Series Rock Guard

 

While this review focuses on the JK specific Squadron Pro Fog Pocket light kit, baja designs has solutions for all of your lighting needs, with products that cover the broad spectrum of different light patterns outlined below:

light-pattern-diagram

Diagram courtesy of baja designs

lighting-zone-chart-off-road-enthusiast

Diagram courtesy of baja designs

Speaking of the lighting spectrum, no review of high performance LED lights would be complete without a note about the Kelvin Color Temperature Scale.  While I won’t pretend to be an expert on the Kelvin Temperature Scale, I have done enough flashlight, vehicle light and photography research to to agree with baja designs that daylight is generally considered in the 5,000K temperature range.

5000k-chart

Chart courtesy of baja designs

 

According to baja designs, Human eyes have evolved to see best at noon on a sunny day which translates to a color temperature of 5000 Kelvin.   A color temperature of 5000K greatly reduces driver fatigue and increases terrain recognition.  BD exclusively uses 5000K LEDs to ensure the safest and highest performing driving experience.”  So, there’s actually a whole lotta truth in the “joke” I make at the end of the review, about having the sun shining in front of me everywhere I go.

 

Here are some pics of my Squadron Pro’s in action.

OpenField-JWSpeakerEvoI-LowBeam

J.W. Speaker Evolution I Series, low beam.  These are night and day above the stock headlights, but appear dim compared to the baja designs Squadron Pro’s.

OpenField-OnlybdSPro

Same spot, with just the baja designs Squadron Pro’s in the JK Fog Pocket Kit. No other lights on in this pic.

 

Spots that could have been a little brighter: In the name of Continuous Quality Improvement.

I’m admittedly nitpicking, but in the name of providing an objective review, and as someone always striving to make things better – personally and professionally, with everything I do – here are a few minor things I think can be improved:

  • I had to drill out the mounting bracket hole slightly so the provided bolt that attaches the light to the bracket would fit.  Not uncommon with aftermarket parts, and maybe I got a fluke, but stuff like this should be caught before these things go out the door.
  • Not plug-and-play, but clearly intended to work with the factory hi-beam switch.  The bd Squadron Pro JK Fog Pocket Kit does not simply plug into the factory Jeep JK factory wiring harness, and I do not recommend simply splicing a factory style connector onto these lights.  Personally, I don’t see this as a negative, because unless you modify the factory wiring (not recommended on a CAN bus system) the factory fogs switch off when the hi-beams turn on – and there are definitely times you may want them both on.  Also, while the amp draw on LED lights is comparatively low, you can be sure, without a whole bunch of extra research, that the bd provided wiring harness is adequately matched to their lights, whereas I’d have to do my research before plugging them into the factory harness, and well, why take u necessary chances?  However, for the novice looking for a super easy install, this might be a consideration. 
  • Unnecessarily complex directions.  While the baja designs instructions were great overall, especially the pictures, I had a really hard time following the section covering the hi-beam disconnect, and/or use of  the optional harness for a user provided LED switch, and I’ve seen my share of highly technical, extremely complex documentation.  It’s just overly complex.
  • No switch included.  The kit should include a simple on/off/on switch that works with the wiring harness provided and the factory hi-beam circuit.  It’s nice to have your forward facing driving / fog / spot lights tied to your hi-beams so they conveniently be turned on and off, with the hi-beams.  This keeps you from fumbling with a bunch of individual switches in oncoming traffic, and or for those overzealous, obnoxious folks who just don’t realize you’re running high-end LED headlights, and instead think your hi-beams are already on.  One or two quick flashes of your hi-beams and I get it, my lights are bright.  Get nutty and I’ll show you some lights!!  haha.  To start, I simply used the harness provided, minus the hi-beam override wire, and connected my Squadron Pro’s to an OTRATTW labeled Contra V switch in my Daystar Switch Panel.  At some point I will actually go back and tie them into the hi-beams.
  • The kit is just too specific to the factory JK bumper and fog like placement, and that’s too limiting.  The self-tapping mounting screws only work with the factory tupperware.  The connectors for the Squadron Pro’s are too close together for anything but the factory bumper.  You can pretty much guarantee anyone ponying up for these bad boyz isn’t running the stock plastics.  Many popular aftermarket Jeep JK bumpers spread the lights out further, which means some electrical work to make the harness useable.


bdspro-wireharness

 

 

The story behind baja designs: It’s the quintessential American Dream, a true Cinderella Story. 

baja designs was started by Owner/Lead engineer Alan Roach and Product Development Engineer Stephen “Tex” Mitchell, who are avid baja 1000 motorcycle racers.  They got their start adapting Dual Sport lighting to motocross bikes, and then fine tuning those lights for the needs of night-time, off-road racing.  What they learned from improving OEM Dual Sport lighting led to the development of the World’s first motorcycle specific, race inspired HID.  baja designs lights have since won every professional and amateur motorcycle and ATV Baja 1000 class for over 15 years.  Somewhere along the line, and based on their incredible success, these guys became known asThe Scientists of Lighting,and it wasn’t long before they were asked by fellow racers to adapt their lights for the buggy and truck classes of the baja 1000.  BD was the first company to develop a forward projecting LED light bar, introduced and raced in the 2005 Baja 1000.  From that first LED light bar evolved into an entire line of the highest performing and race winning LED lights on the market.  And the rest is history… 

Today baja designs makes a full line of top-of-the-line HID, LED and Infrared (IR) lighting products for adventure bike, agriculture, ATV / UTV, automotive, industrial, marine, military, motorcycle and of course, off-road racing use.  Best of breed, purpose products created out of need, by enthusiasts, from a company dedicated to being BOLDER, BRIGHTER, and BETTER, for fellow racers and enthusiasts.  Yeah, baja designs is a company I’m proud to support!

I encourage you spend some time on the baja designs website, because they really clearly take this “Scientists of Lighting” title very seriously.  Check out the “Science of Lighting” sub-menus to really immerse yourself in their products and related technology.  They are not just pushing product, but truly looking to educate people.

 

Overall: A Total Win!

I’ve been running these lights since July, and I  couldn’t be happier.  I used them to help me navigate the trails and backroads of Vermont at the 2015 Killington Jeep Jamboree, where I received literally hundreds of compliments and fielded many questions about them.  I use them to navigate the sands of Island Beach State Park when I’m surf fishing, and I constantly use them around town.  They simply continue to just amaze me every time I flip them on.  They are ASTONISHINGLY bright, and as said earlier, they even look great when they’re off.

bjspro-darkroad

It’s really, and quite scientifically, like always having the sun shining right in front of me, no what what time it is…

 

We Jeep owners bolt a lot of stuff onto our rigs, it’s one of the fun, cool things that’s part of owning a Jeep.  Honestly, it doesn’t get any better than an accessory that improves on-road and off-road safety, looks amazing on and off and performs incredibly, from an American company with a successful history of winning the baja 1000!  So, put the baja designs Squadron Pro JK Fog Pocket kit at the top of your list.  If the Pro kit, which retails for $524.95 is overdoing it a bit for you, then check out the Squadron Sport-R Fog Pocket Kit, which retails for $324.95 and gives you 1,800 Lumens per light.

…and speaking of lists, the baja designs Squadron-R Pro or Sport JK Fog Pocket Kit is sure to brighten any Jeep fan’s Christmas morning… pun intended!

 

Sincere thanks to baja designs for working with The Off Road Reference on this review.

 

Wheel Safe. Wheel Smart.  Have Fun.  Hope to see you on out on the trails.

 

Copyright The Off Road Reference 2015