If you’re serious about off-roading, you shouldn’t forget about lighting. If you’re the type who want to hit the trail at night, regular headlights aren’t enough to provide proper visibility. Stock lighting is designed for use on paved roads and they just aren’t bright enough or durable enough for off-road conditions.
There are three major options for off-road lighting: LED (Light Emitting Diodes), Halogen, and HID (High-Intensity Discharge). HID lighting is considered the brightest of the three options while LED bulbs will prove most durable. Halogen bulbs, on the other hand, offer a fainter, yellow light but can be found more commonly at parts stores and feature a cost far lower than the other two.
While each option may have its own benefit to offer you and your metal steed, LEDs stand above the rest.
What Makes LEDs Special
As mentioned earlier, LEDs are known for durability. When used for off-roading, this quality is a necessity. That’s because LEDs aren’t really light bulbs per se but they’re more like circuit boards. This makes them better able to handle impacts and vibrations, the two most common reasons bulbs in trucks break.
LEDs may be more expensive at first glance, but your truck will thank you. Compared to halogen bulbs, they use approximately 10% of the energy required for a nearly-identical level of brightness. This also helps account for their incredible longevity. LED bulbs often last anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 hours. In most cases, these bulbs will outlast your truck, allowing you to use them in your next one, too.
With LED off-road lighting, you can greatly illuminate the dunes ahead of you without worrying about breaking it.
Types of LED Lighting for Trucks
Another benefit of using LED lighting for your truck is the number of ways it can be used.
Light bars are one of the most popular configurations for LED light arrays. Much of their popularity is due to the range and scope of their applications. It’s as though a spotlight and fog light were combined to create optimal illumination. Plus, LED light bars can be attached to a truck’s bumper, roof, or grille.
Spotlights are large, often circular or square arrays that pinpoint their light to a single area. Depending on the vehicle, spotlights can be attached to most places a light bar can or mounted separately.
Fog lights—sometimes referred to as floodlights—are those that sit lower on the front of the vehicle. They’re often embedded into the bumpers at about the same level as the vehicle’s wheels.
Lastly, driving lights serve as a sort of middle ground between fog lights and spotlights. Where light bars combine the uses of each, a driving light is dimmer than a spotlight but can often reach a distance farther than a fog light is capable of.
Where to Use Each Type of Lighting
Because light bars are more of a multi-purpose array, they tend to be a truck owner’s first off-road lighting upgrade. This is also why you’ll find many bumpers such as Fab Four’s Vengeance with integrated light bar mounts.
The range and brightness a light bar provides are more than sufficient in providing visibility for basic outings. Their beams shine ahead, making the path before you clear while also allowing partial visibility at the edge of your vehicle’s immediate route.
A spotlight’s beam is intended for concentrated points rather than a wide scan of the area in front of the vehicle. Because of this, they have a much higher range and can, at lower speeds, allow the driver to know what awaits up ahead—a useful option in locations where cliffs or boulders may be present.
Fog lights, as the name suggest, are useful for cutting through a blanket of fog to increase visibility. They also help provide light at a wider angle directly ahead of the vehicle.
Driving lights, much like light bars, are primarily used to illuminate the path ahead of the truck. However, they can be larger and bulkier that light bars which is why they’re often found mounted on top of pre-runner bumpers like the Ranch Hand Legend. They’re complementary to the vehicle’s headlights in terms of forward visibility.
Mounting Options for Your Truck
Not all lighting options have the versatility to be mounted anywhere on a truck. Given the placement and design of a vehicle’s bumper, however, mounting a light there proves efficient in providing visibility without sacrificing space elsewhere or requiring additional mounting systems.
Many of the Best Aftermarket Fog Lights are those specifically designed to be integrated into an aftermarket bumper. The two go virtually hand in hand. For example, the Magnum Series from ICI comes with either round or square cutouts for installing fog lights. Most aftermarket bumper manufacturers either craft the bumper with cutouts specifically designed to accept different lighting options which may include the vehicles stock fog lights.
Many trucks come with stock halogen fog lights. While inexpensive to replace, these stock lights do not offer adequate visibility when taking your truck or jeep off-roading. Instead, the use of LED Fog Lamps ensures you see ahead of you despite the mist forming outside. They are simply brighter and better. For this reason, many aftermarket bumpers are made with LED lights in mind.
For LED Light Bars, they can be mounted on the bumper or on the roof the truck. Many truck owners purchase this supplemental mounting option even if they don’t intend to attach a light bar at the moment. Having different options gives versatility for customizing the lighting setup later on.
Here at BumperOnly, we carry a wide variety of light bars and fog lamps for your off-roading needs. We also have the necessary mounting equipment for most makes and models of trucks and SUVs.
One of the brands we have available is PIAA LED Lights. They’ve been a popular brand choice recently with products in several sizes, shapes, and even colors.
Another product we recommend is the Rigid Industries LED Light Bar which comes with a lifetime warranty.They’re built with quality in mind, though, so it’s likely you’ll never have to use that warranty.
These are just a few of the lighting we have available. Check out our store for even more light bars and fog lights that can handle your next adventure. And if you need help choosing the right one for your vehicle, our experts are always standing by.
Say goodbye to chasing daylight and ride your truck whenever and wherever you want!