Softroading Vehicle Mods: Auxiliary Lighting

Adding auxiliary lighting is a common modification made to vehicles that frequently travel off-highway. Unlike driving on paved roads, the dirt roads we travel are unmarked with striping to guide you and can include dangerous obstacles. It's not uncommon to find yourself heading down a dirt road after dark looking for a place to camp for the night, or on the road before dawn as needed for the day's adventures. Additional light beyond the factory headlamps provides welcome assistance.

While many drivers still opt for big round halogen lights, LED lighting in an assortment of shapes and sizes are increasingly popular. Some options to consider are listed below.

Halogen Lights

Halogen lights offer a traditional look and a reliably effective blast of light in predictable quantities based on wattage. Downsides include bulbs that burn out, a larger glass surface that may be more susceptible to breakage, and a higher power draw on your vehicle's electrical system. Hella, PIAA, and KC are among the more commonly seen manufacturers.
The Hella 500 is a staple, commonly seen added to Subarus and a wide range of other softroaders. An affordable package for a classic rally look and proven functionality. 55-watt lamps definitely light things up.

HELLA Black Magic
Similar to the 500 but with a subtle blacked out treatment

KC Apollo Pro
These 100-watt powerhouses invoke a traditional 4x4, complete with integrated stone guard.

PIAA 5296
A well-respected name in off road lights, very well reviewed and a steeper price tag for sure.

LED Bars

LED light bars are a very popular option. Most bars include some combination of spot and flood beams to provide maximum coverage. LED lighting in general draws less power than halogen for the amount of light they put out. They come in a vast array of sizes and prices. Below are just a few reviews and shop around for the bar that makes sense for your use and budget.
30" Double-row Spot-Flood Combo LED Bar
This is a reasonably-priced and well-reviewed bar if you're looking to put one across the width of your roof

31" Single-Row Spot-Flood Combo LED bar
Here is a lower-profile roof-spanning light bar. I imagine this puts out less light than the double row above but if you don't need such a huge blast of extra light, this is a more subtle option and maybe a little less wind resistance as well. I rather like this option myself and am considering something along these lines instead of the two small halogens I currently have mounted to my roof basket.

20" Nilight LED Spot-Flood Lightbar
A shorter bar like this works well mounted to a bull bar, brush guard, or bumper. I've seen a number of softroaders running these smaller LED light bars that have been very pleased with the supplemental light they provide.

LED Pods

I see these as sort of the LED equivalent to the halogen lights above...smaller individual units that can be mounted in any number of ways. There is a huge variety of these LED offroad lights, from tiny cubes to large round arrays. A few examples below to demonstrate:
Auxbeam 4" 18W LED Pods
These are very inexpensive yet well reviewed. The small size is subtle and offer considerable flexibility in mounting locations.

RUN-D 35W LED Cubes
This is a higher-end option. These are nice looking little pods which have excellent reviews. They are considerably more expensive than the Auxbeams above but are higher wattage and claim to put out more than double the light of a 55W halogen.

Nilight Round LED Array
I see a lot of softroaders on Instagram running lights along these lines. These 51W arrays with their round shape hint at a traditional rally light but kick out a serious blast of illumination.

Hexagonal LED Off Road Light
I have a pair of these mounted to my Rally Innovations bar on the front of my Forester. I liked the combination of LED technology with a rugged offroad-style build. They are also very inexpensive, which appealed to me after having just spent a bunch of money on my Rally Innovations bar. 8^) Even though the price is right and they're very solidly built, I'm not certain I would recommend these...I don't find that the light they put out makes much difference in addition to my car's hi-beams. They help, but it's not wow-ing by any means. I'm posting them mainly for those who have seen them on my Forester and are curious.