semaEach year the automotive industry shows off the best aftermarket specialties in Sin City as the industry gathers for the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association(SEMA) show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. SEMA is where innovators and industry buyers meet each year to preview the newest, and hottest trends for the upcoming year and help decide what it is that we’ll be browsing in those aftermarket catalogs.

While SEMA wrapped up recently, the popularity of off-road markets made a strong showing that is sure to filter through to the upcoming year. With an entire section dedicated to off-road and dirt sports, there’s no doubt that the economy is making a comeback, with more cash available for purchase of off-road goodies. Nearly every major UTV manufacturer, for example, was represented in the Dirt Theater of SEMA where highly modified, race-ready UTV’s showed off what a “few” parts and a whole lotta bucks can do to transform your John Deere, Polaris or Can-Am from a recreational toy to a full-on race beast.

And, although we may not all be going that far, there’s a few definite off-road trends from SEMA that stand out:

Auxiliary Lighting: The expanding popularity of aftermarket lighting isn’t slowing down. With new innovations in LED lighting that provide brilliant white, unbelievably bright light, aftermarket lighting options are continually expanding. From brake light bars for street legal trucks to front mount LED light bars for UTV’s, quads and trucks, there’s no more excuse to be out in the dark. The cost of this new technology is by no means “cheap,” with high quality LED lighting ranging from $250 to $2,000 depending on the options you choose, but there’s no doubt that trails and dunes will likely be a little brighter in the coming year.

Graphic Wraps: A popular trend, in the UTV market especially, includes aesthetics. As riders add accessories, like doors, to their off road rigs and create more surface area – there comes a coupled desire to create a uniform and unique look for their ride. Paint is an oft expensive and easily damaged option. However, graphic wraps offer a less expensive and far more durable option to doll up doors and plastics for a unique look that will set your rig apart from the crowd. The additional benefit of graphics is the limitless ability to customize. With many companies offering custom designs, you can put everything from flames to your grandma’s face on your ride.

All Purpose Tires: For the UTV industry, especially, the switch from off-road to all-purpose tires is astonishing. Popular new rubber models, like the GBC Kanati Mongrel are showing up on everything from stock cars to highly modified side by sides. With more defined tread, these tires are producing a better ride and longer tire life that off-road enthusiasts are flocking to.

The next big thing in off road accessories is always changing and as long as the industry continues to provide innovative new rides from manufacturers, creative end users are sure to keep finding ways to make them better.