Off-road Lighting Guide

Ample lighting is critical for night-time off-roading or overlanding. Off-roading usually involves driving on trails and pathways that you have never been on before, hence you do not have any idea about the terrain or obstacles down the way. If your off-road or overland ventures continue in the dark as well, you should invest in decent off-road lighting equipment to have a good vision on the trail even in the dark.

Off-Road Lighting Bulbs

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Off-road Lights are mostly driven by LED bulbs due to their reliability, small size, and low power consumption. LED bulbs are rapidly progressing over time in terms of light output per watt. Good quality LED bulbs can have a very high light output, while still keeping the power consumption low. 

You also get a wide color range with LED light bulbs ranging from amber to white and blue. But mostly you will see the market flooded with 5000-6500K bulbs as the light output is maximum in this range. 

You will not observe any halogen or HID bulb driven off-road lighting equipment due to the size and wattage requirements of the other two bulbs.

Off-Road Light Beam Pattern


Spotlights provide a dense beam of light projected straight ahead, optimized for long range visibility. These lights can light up the 150-200ft of the trail ahead. Spotlights have a narrow beam pattern and are not optimized to light up the area around your car very well.


Floodlights are designed to light up everything in close proximity to the car. They have a very wide beam pattern with a 50ft range. This type of lights is very helpful in observing the terrain around your vehicle on a trail.

Spot-Flood Light Combo

Some off-road lights also come equipped with 2 types of reflector assemblies, housing both spot, and flood lights. These lights help illuminate the area around your vehicle as well as the trail up ahead.

Fog Light

Fog lights are usually installed lower on the front end of the vehicle to illuminate the immediate road up ahead. These provide good visibility on the trail/road up ahead even in fog, hail, or snowfall.

Off-Road Light Setup Configurations


Lightbar is the first thing that comes into one’s mind when thinking about off-road lighting equipment. As the name suggests, it is a bar that is embedded with a number of light bulbs to light up the trail ahead in the dark. Longer bars usually come with short-range floodlights coupled with some longe-range spotlights. These allow a spread out light in the close vicinity of the vehicle and a long-range light beam to see what’s up ahead.

Light bars can range from 4 inches to 50 inches and can be mounted in different configurations depending on the vehicle and personal preference. Lightbars can be fixed on roof rack, bull bar, front grill or inside the front bumper depending on the size of the light bar, and the space available at these locations.

Mounting Light bars on the bull bars or the grill can also obstruct direct airflow to the engine, which might affect your car’s engine temperatures, and air conditioners performance. Installing lightbars up on the roof or the roof rack also comes with its tradeoffs as well if not installed correctly. Installing it up on the roof can cause bright reflections on the hood, which can easily annoy the driver at night. To solve this issue, you must place the light bar further back, until the car itself cuts the portion of it from reflecting on the hood. Or place a metal sheet below the lightbar to cut off any light that is directed towards the hood.

Ditch Lights

Ditch lights are low-profile lights, which are installed in front of the A-pillar of the vehicle. They are meant to be mounted in a manner that it doesn’t block the driver’s vision at night. These usually come in a cube shape with 1, 2, 4, or 6 LED bulbs on them. These lights come in both spot and floodlight configurations.

Rock Lights

Rock lights are used to light up the ground below the vehicle. These are helpful in rocky trails when you need to find the exact location of your tires on the ground in order to conquer the trail. Lighting up the nearby ground also makes it easier for the driver and passengers to get out if needed in the middle of a dark trail.

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Decent headlights are also useful in off-roading in the dark. You can install halogens, HIDs, or LEDs in the headlights, although LEDs nowadays offer the best luminosity and reliability. Headlights upgrades such as installing a projector housing can also increase the light output and the beam pattern of the vehicle.

Off-Road Light Color Options

LED headlights nowadays offer you the option for amber or yellow that a wide group of people prefer for off-roading. Lights come with an amber-shaded lens or an amber LED die coating to produce the particular color without much hassle. Lower temperature colored lights provide better visibility in poor weather conditions such as fog, hail, snowfall, or dust.

It is always better to go for quality lighting equipment to avoid repair or replacement hassles in the future. Novsight offer premium LED lightbars, for off-road purposes that are well known in the community for performing when needed and come with a 2-year long warranty period.

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