One aspect of any capable rig is lighting. Overlanding would require you to be out either on the trail or in the middle of nowhere setting up camp. On a technical trail, a day trip could turn into an overnight rescue. You might just want a good-looking setup that you can use to blind that guy who just refuses to believe he should ever turn his brights off. In any case, having the right lights is absolutely necessary. You might be wondering why you need a light bar. Your vehicle has headlights, that’s all you need right? Why spend the money on extra lights. Well, the point of building an offroad rig is to be ready for any situation that may arise while on the trail. Last I checked, it still gets dark at some point and you never know when you will get stuck or for how long. So, to help you choose the right light bar, we will cover length, lumens (light output), and light style; as well as IP rating and materials. If you have looked at any light bars online, you have by now realized that they come in many lengths, and you have no idea what length you need for your vehicle and or purpose. So! To help you choose I will cover several general purposes uses for common sizes. ten to twenty inch light bars are commonly bumper mounted and used for night driving in open areas that commonly have deer. The extra light allows you to see not only further down the road (which is what your high beams focus on) but off to the sides because a single row 10 inch from black oak puts out 2000 more lumens than the average high beam, almost double. There are obvious benefits from this when you are in wildlife-rich areas. These smaller light bars are also sometimes put in a row in place of a longer curved light bar at the top of the windshield. Longer light bars go up proportionately with lumens and have a similar function just on a more dramatic scale. Do you want to light up that obstacle from 200 yards? Go for it.
Light bars that are 30 to 40 inches are generally mounted above a windshield on a roof rack, while the 40 to 50 inch light bars are mounted along the top of a windshield and are sometimes curved. When choosing a light bar for a road only vehicle, you only really need to worry about the IP rating or Ingress Protection. This is the level of water and dust resistance an electrical unit has before it begins to malfunction. The most commonly advertised IP is IP 68, which is the level that the military considers anything “waterproof”, the only acceptable standard for any outdoor application. For your rig, you need to keep in mind that water is probably the gentlest trial that your light bars will overcome. So you should select a light bar with polycarbonate lenses and reinforced aluminum or steel housing.