Lighting the Way: Bright Ideas in Accessories

Lighting the Way: Bright Ideas in AccessoriesThe number of accessories available for off road vehicles in today’s marketplace is astounding. Whether you want a snorkel to ford rivers or a suspension set up capable of tackling boulders with ease, there’s a part to make it happen. However, one of the more often overlooked, yet useful accessories for off roaders is lighting.

Logically speaking, upgrading lighting capabilities on an off road rig makes nothing but sense. On the trail, in the dunes or out in the snow, lighting above and beyond a vehicle’s factory headlights can offer a major boost to visibility and safety during early morning or night time rides. What’s that you say? Your UTV came factory with a set of bad to the bone HID headlights? That’s what I thought, too.

When it was pitch black out and I flipped the switch to turn on the headlights of our Polaris RZR, I thought they were bright. And they are. But according to other members of the household they weren’t bright enough, so we began to intensely research auxiliary lighting options for off road use. The options were seemingly endless. With a wide range of replacement bulbs and LED headlight kits available for nearly every UTV, ATV and 4×4 on the market, there were plenty of opportunities to simply upgrade the light beaming from factory headlight mounts.

But we wanted more. We wanted to light up the night so that in case of apocalypse, we’d be prepared to light up the powerless landscape like it was the Las Vegas Strip. And it quickly became clear that apparently most lighting accessory manufacturers were preparing for the same fate. When it all goes down, there’s no doubt that off road enthusiasts will be the one with the best lighting sources.

All joking aside, when it comes to auxiliary lighting, there’s a few major options:

Light Bars: I honestly can’t be sure if I’ve just started to notice, or if it’s a recent trend, but the number of off road vehicles with light bars seems to be as prevalent as the ratio of hipsters to skinny jean wearers. Everybody’s got one. And the reason may be the options.

Off road light bars are available in any configuration imaginable. From large round lights mounted on a bumper or roll bar, a la the popular 90’s trend of KC Hi-Liters, to insanely bright high density LED bars in various sizes, light bars can be acquired to fit nearly any vehicle for any purpose. With mounting options at various heights, this accessory can serve a worthy purpose in increasing visibility during low light.

Single Lights: Like light bars, single lights are available in LED options to provide directed light in smaller areas. These options are a smart choice for users in smaller vehicles, like ATV’s to get a directed stream of light without an overpowering glare for riders. Not to mention, the price tag on single lights is significantly more affordable than their big brother bar counterparts.

Lighted Whips: Dune riders find use and curb appeal in lighted whip options that not only increase visibility to others during night sand riding, but also succeed in turning your plot of sand into a mini rave with a selection of colors ranging from green to purple. Think glow stick gone wild. I’d love to make fun of these things, but they’re awesome, smart….and we own two.
Ground Lighting: Rock crawlers and trail riders may choose to add undercarriage lighting that increases visibility in key spots under their rig. With extra lights near each tire to monitor upcoming obstacles, flex and placement of key suspension components, technical riders can enjoy trails in low light without wondering just how big that boulder is.

The options in style, purpose and price when it comes to lighting are endless. For our current needs, a 12” LED lightbar, mounted on the bumper of our UTV provides enough light that we can see the trail and light up the entire back half of the house in case of a power outage. But I won’t be surprised when another one gets added to the top, because, well…You never know when you might need to shed a little light on a situation.