A common upgrade that many owners make to their favorite offroading trucks is lights. Whether adding lightbars to steel truck bumpers or illumination elsewhere on the truck, anyone who enjoys offroading at night will appreciate the added visibility to enjoy the trails at night. Before making any purchase, it’s important to learn a little about aftermarket offroad lighting choices and which ones to choose.
If you like to cross the trails at night, offroad lights can make doing so a lot easier and safer. Headlamps for offroading illuminate much brighter and further than the stock versions, providing increased visibility. When driving through low-lying fog, the difference between stock and off-road models is really noticeable. Offroad lights provide a wider, more concentrated field of vision in front of the truck depending on the type and design of the lights that are installed.
Lighting Options for Off-Roading
The first decision you’ll need to make when choosing the best illumination for your truck is what type of bulb to use. Off-road lighting is available with halogen bulbs, LED bulbs, and HID (high intensity) bulbs, each with different advantages and disadvantages:
- Halogen - This is the most common and readily available headlamp and the least expensive option, although it does not give out quite as much luminosity as the other two versions. Halogen also gives off a slightly yellow hue and uses more battery juice than the others. Still, they are better on offroading trucks than the stock versions alone.
- LED - This version is much more energy efficient than halogen, with more durable and compact bulbs that give off greater and whiter illumination than halogen; however, they are also more expensive and the bulbs are sensitive to temperature. Bulbs that are not made well, with a heat sink attached, will burn out much faster than normally, which could become expensive.
- HID - These bulbs give off the brightest light of the three options, making them a superior choice for using your offroading truck at night. Their light is visible nearly twice as far as LED lights while remaining just as energy efficient. HID lighting is as costly as LED lighting, which is its main downfall.
What Type of Off-Road Lights Do You Need?
Depending on your driving habits and the conditions you’re likely to encounter in your prized offroad truck, there are a few types of lights to consider to be well lit in all the offroading necessary ways. When looking for increased overall light in front of the truck, thin light bars work well that can be easily mounted on the roof, on custom bumpers, or on the grille using easily added mounting brackets and hardware. Floodlights, typically mounted on the front bumper, can be positioned to shine down the trail in front of the truck, lighting up a wide area.
Driving lights, designed to provide overall illumination and assist the stock lights on the truck, are usually mounted on the bumper. Spotlights, which shine a concentrated beam of light forward, are usually mounted on the hood of the vehicle so they can shine far ahead. With the right combination of off-road lights, you should have few problems with visibility while offroading with your truck or Jeep at night.
Like a lot of other aftermarket upgrades that we like to put on our trucks, buying the right lights depends on first knowing what you need them for. Once you know your habits and where you’re most likely to off-road at night, you can figure out what kind of lights to add to your truck and how bright they need to be. Just remember, if you use your Jeep or Chevy on the roads, most off-road lights aren’t legal. Keep your stock lights intact and, As tempting as it might be to turn on those aftermarket fog lights, unless it’s legal where you're driving you better keep your stock lighats intact and save the offroad ones for the trail!