Having the proper light on the trail is more than just having light to see where you are driving; it is also being prepared for the unexpected.
To get Project Storm Trooper, our 2005 GMC Canyon, ready for the desert and any worst-case scenarios, we turned to Rigid Industries and its A-Series Rock Light Kit (PN 40020) to provide light for our wheelwells. We opted to go with white as the light color since we would need to see what we would be doing at night.
And Then There Was Light
The rock light kit is self-explanatory, and with the included instructions, we knew exactly what steps to take to complete the task at hand. Starting in the rear of the truck, we installed the passenger rear light first and made our way around in a clockwise fashion.
The goal of the installation was to place light directly over the area in the wheelwell, so for the rear lights, we needed to use angled mounts to achieve this. The mount has three different ways you can run wire out the back, depending on the preferences of the installer.
On the front of the truck, we used flat mounts and ran the wire directly through the back of the mount because we were near the engine bay, and the wires would route away from everything, giving us a cleaner install.
Having everything you need in the kit makes installation a breeze. A fuse block and ground terminal allows everything to run correctly. On our install, we opted to not use the switch in the kit and instead used one that was already installed in the truck. We fabricated a switch panel that holds the switches for all the other lights on the truck.
One by one, we stripped back the wires and attached the connector. Each connector was mated to the fuse block for a positive connection and to the ground block for a negative. This setup did not require a relay like most LED light bars.
With the installation complete, we placed a three-amp fuse in each of the fuse locations on the block. It was then time to reach inside and flip the switch to see what the lights looked like. Even with the shop lights on, and daylight outside, the rock lights were still very bright.
Behind The Light
Having the right equipment and preparing for the unexpected should be on the top of the priority list. We spoke with Brian Godfrey of Rigid to find out more about these lights, and why they have become so popular in the off-road world.
Rock lights have become very popular, very fast in the off-road world, “We utilize our A-Series light, which is extremely durable, versatile and powerful to create the high quality kit. The harness was originally designed for use on Jeeps, but it has evolved because people use the kit on all types of vehicles today,” Godfrey explained.
Prerunners are not usually seen climbing over rocks, but what exactly are these lights meant for. Godfrey told us the science behind the light, “They are meant to be used for rockcrawling to see where your wheel placement is or what your surroundings are. It can also assist if you need to do some sort of repair to your vehicle, illuminating the entire undercarriage and surrounding area. Another benefit would be illuminating the surrounding environment when exiting the vehicle in off-road situations where footing might be hazardous.”
He continued, “People mount lights in all sorts of locations, from under the hood to see the engine if repairs are needed, inside the beds of trucks, on trailers, on boats as deck lighting, and they have also been mounted on the inside of tool boxes in the back of trucks. People install them on the inside of the lid and when you open it, the light turns on.”
With so many color choices it may be hard to pick the right one for your vehicle. According to Godfrey, “The top-selling light color is white, followed by blue, then green. We also have the lights available in red and amber. The different color lights can all have a different use. If someone is using a camera under or outside of their vehicle, the amber and blue colors are recommended to reduce shadows on the screen inside the vehicle.”
Most professional teams utilize the kits in toolboxes – Brian Godfrey, Rigid Industries
Weekend warriors are not the only ones using these kits Godfrey let us know that, “Most professional teams utilize the kits in other ways. They aren’t doing a lot of rockcrawling, so they primarily use them for onboard toolbox illumination or under the hood for repairs out in the desert.”
“Bryce Menzies’ team has come up with a number of great uses, but the main use is in mounting one above each tire on their race truck. They are mounted individually on a rotating bracket and can move them to direct the light where it’s needed. This is beneficial in the event they need to fix something under the truck.”
Godfrey finished up by letting us know why the lights and LEDs have become so popular, “The lights have a low amp draw at 10 watts and produce a total of 1,600 lumens. They are completely universal kits that fit everything from a Power Wheel to Super Duty. With the low profile, they can easily fit in any location. The kit is also extremely durable and resistant to the elements. They are waterproof, dust proof, impact and shock resistant, and the product is backed by Rigid’s limited lifetime warranty.”
We tested the lights in multiple situations, but thankfully not for the purposes of fixing anything that has broken … yet. The lights worked great out at King of the Hammers, and were bright enough around the truck to see what we were doing while setting up camp.
At night, the kit offered plenty of light off the side of the vehicle, allowing us to see close to the vehicle when turning. We had installed LED pod lights that faced the sides, but since installing the Rock Light Kit, we have not needed to use them. The rock lights produced plenty of light in the wheel well for terrific visibility, and we are excited to continue using them on night runs at the desert.
What ways have you installed rock lights on your vehicle, sand car, or toolbox? Tell us in the comments below.