Back in the day, lighting options, at least when it came to work lights and lights geared towards overland travel, were extremely limited. In fact the only lights one could choose from were quartz halogen work lights and standard fluorescent tubes. These got the job done, but these were heavy on a car’s battery and couldn’t be left on for too long.
Now, though, LED (light-emitting diode) lights are becoming commonplace, and they’ve completely revolutionised the lighting industry. Not only do these lights give a whiter, brighter light, but they are also far more economical. An LED light requires only a fraction of the power needed by a traditional light.
Moreover, they are available in different colours. When shopping around for a light that can be used around the campsite, for example, an amber-coloured light is fantastic, since it doesn’t attract nearly as many insects as a white light.
There are many ways in which LEDs can be mounted to a vehicle for use when overlanding. A good place to fit an LED, is to the bracket that houses the spare wheel. If your spare wheel is mounted on a swing arm connected to your rear bumper, it works even better, since this allows you to swing the light in different directions.
Another nice spot is the roof rack, since this gives the LED good height, making it easier to illuminate a large area.
If opting to mount your LED to your vehicle’s roof rack, you should ask your fitment centre to fit an easily-adjustable bracket to your rack that will make it easy turn the light in different directions. You never want your light to point in only one possible direction, since this will mean that the 4×4 will have to be moved every time you want to shift the direction of the light.
A lot of overlanders install a light around their kitchen area. For instance, those with aluminium 4×4 canopies often fit a light to the inside of the side canopy door (cupboard), so that a light is always close to where their condiments, cutlery and other utensils live. This is a good idea, but don’t use a bright white light. A white light is simply too bright, and can be overpowering when working in the dark bush. Rather fit an amber LED light.
There are countless different LED lights available nowadays, so ask your fitment consultant for help, and explain to him exactly what you need.