Going off-road at night is a whole new adventure that’s completely different than driving the same trails in broad daylight.
If that’s something you’re into or would like to get into, while you’re adding new bumpers to your truck or Jeep, go ahead and upgrade your lights as well.
The right off-road lighting is essential so you can stay safe and make the most of your nightly trail, yet there’s so much choice of lighting that finding what you need can be a little confusing.
To help you make the right choice, here is an overview of the important choices you need to make before you go looking at specific brands of truck or Jeep lighting!
Research Is Vital
Just as you read and researched to learn what was your best choice for replacement bumpers for your off-roader, it’s important to recognize the different bulb types used in automotive lighting as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Put all of this info together with considerations about cost, ease of replacement, and more to make a wise choice for trail-worthy nighttime lighting.
Know the Different Bulb Types
There are three bulb types used in off-road lighting: halogen, HID, and LED.
- Halogen Bulbs – These bulbs are the most commonly used and cost-effective bulbs in automotive lighting. Shining a bright, white beam of light and readily available for quick replacement, halogen off-road lights are a great choice if you’re just starting out with a limited budget and want to upgrade your lighting.
- HID (High-Intensity Discharge) Bulbs – Gas-filled bulbs that shine a clean, white light nearly twice as bright as halogen bulbs, HID bulbs are very efficient as they draw less current from the battery. Although HID bulbs are the brightest available, they do come at a higher price than halogens and are also the most fragile and short-lived of the three bulbs, requiring more frequent replacement.
- LED (Light Emitting Diode) Bulbs – Touted as the newest technology found in off-road lighting with many positive qualities, LED bulbs run on 1/10th the energy of a halogen bulb, are generally more compact, available in more sizes and styles for off-road lighting, and generate more light than a halogen bulb but not quite as much as a HID bulb. LED lights are more expensive of all the options; however, they are more durable and last longer when correctly installed.
Understand the Different Lighting Patterns
Lighting patterns deal with the light style and where you plan to mount them on your truck or Jeep.
Other than your standard driving lights, you can choose from the following styles according to the type of beam they provide and exactly what you want to do when off-roading at night.
- Fog Lights – Usually mounted near or below the headlights and used together, fog lights are designed to illuminate the path in front of your off-road truck or Jeep by being able to shine through fog and rain.
- Spotlights – Shining far in front of your truck to show what is coming up ahead,spotlights produce a smaller, more focused, and very bright beam of light. Spotlights are typically mounted on top of the vehicle where they can shine the furthest from high above.
- Floodlights – Producing a wide beam of light, floodlights do the opposite of spotlights by producing a bright beam of light that floods the area around the vehicle with light to show more of the surroundings. Floodlights can be mounted in various places on the vehicle, including in the bumper on models designed with slots and housings to mount them. Lightbar floodlights are also commonly mounted across the front of the vehicle on the grille or in the bumper.
Which Lights for Off-Roading at Night?
If you’re just starting out modifying your off-road truck or Jeep with new bumpers and additional lighting, first you must determine what kind of nighttime activities you’ll do out on the trails.
Although you may hope to eventually add all three types of lighting on your vehicle, you can still start out with the ones you need the most and add more later.
Fog is everywhere and encountering it out on the trails or in the field is pretty common, so it’s a good idea to add a set of fog lights if your vehicle doesn’t have ones that do much.
If you plan to stick to the trails, spotlights that shine straight ahead of you are the wisest choice; if you like driving in the open, floodlights are the right selection as they can light up a wider area around you.
Know Your Off-Road Lights to Pick the Right Ones!
Now that you know about the different types and styles of off-road lighting choices you have for your off-road truck or Jeep, it’s time to start shopping.
There are many reputable brands out there that make all kinds of spotlights, light bars, and cube lights to fit in your bumpers and can be added to get that custom look you want.
If you decide to go all the way and add all three styles of optional lighting, you will definitely be ready for any kind of off-road adventure you want!