Shoulder season in Utah means only one thing, desert trips. Everyone is done skiing and while the mountain bike trails down low are dry the snow melt up high is keeping the best of the trails off limits. The stream of RVs, side by sides and Subarus head south. With a forecast of temps in the 80s and not a chance of precip, the crowds would be in full force. I had no fear though, Rigid Industries supplied their 10” SR Series Combo LED Light Bar to illuminate the trail past all the crowds.
Lets start with the unboxing though. This thing is solid and very well engineered. Pulling it out of the box the first thing you notice are the cooling fins on the rear of the aluminum housing. It has a solid feel to it but it is minimalistic in design. The depth of the entire light is only 3 ¾” and along with the supplied mounting brackets (2 different lengths included), I knew I wouldn’t have any problems finding a spot to mount this thing. The supplied wiring harness plugs right into the wire from the light with a water tight coupling. So I set the harness and lighted switch aside while I looked for the obvious places to mount. On the 2004 Tacoma the first and obvious place to mount the light bar is behind the grille. The light being 3 ¼” tall would fit perfectly between the horizontal bars of the grille. Once I popped the hood though I realized that would require a custom mount to bridge some supports. Lower down on the lower valance there was a slot with a few options. Behind the slot was some sheet metal molded into a radiator support. I measured the spacing of the mounts to see if they could align with the holes existing in the support. No such luck, it also looked like it might be a bit high also. My next option was the flange on the lower side of the same support but where the spot welds are located. Perfect fit. At this point I needed extra hardware for the installation. All that was needed were two more ¼”- 20 bolts and nylon lock nuts with washers. Drilling the holes required a longer drill bit to make it through the valance.
Now with the light mounted I stretched out the supplied harness and followed the simple diagram included with the kit. I lined everything up on the driver side of the Tacoma. I then hooked the wires to battery terminals and mounted the relay to the 10mm bolt holding one side of the fuse box on to the inner fender. Trying to get the 3 wire ends through the firewall grommet was tough and I ended up having to stretch it out and slice it a bit to push them through. I used an OEM fog light switch from Toyota so it would fit without any custom fabricating on my interior. The supplied lighted switch is more than adequate though. It lights up red when the light is on. I did have to switch the the wiring around from 10” and smaller lights to the larger lights in order for this to work, otherwise it was always lit red. Rigid made it easy for this wiring all that was left was to plug the harness into the light. Click and done. I zip tied and tucked the few feet of extra harness next to the battery. I hit the switch for the first and heard the click. I ran to the front of the truck and was about blinded. This thing is bright!
I couldn’t wait for the next morning to leave for the desert so that evening I drove up to a road where I was pretty sure I wouldn’t blind any oncoming traffic. The combo light does a great job of covering the sides of the trail/road, but, those spot LEDs in the middle are amazing! It throws light for an easy 100 yards and I could see reflectors lighting up further than that. I saw no problems with the light being mounted down low or even behind the valance a few inches. Back to the house to pack for the real test in the desert tomorrow.
Heading south on route 6 with the windows down felt good. We made our way west on I-70 and continued south through the high desert of the San Rafael Swell. Upon merging on to the Temple Mtn. Road and getting closer to Goblin Valley we passed what seemed like hundreds of RVs and campers. Passing the trailhead for our afternoon hike we realized just how crowded it may be. We ventured down Wild Horse Rd. and passed a few more adventurous campers. We had our eyes on a mesa a few miles further and above the wash (which was the road) to get a better view of the Swell and Henry Mountains.
We set up camp and unloaded firewood and gear with plenty of time to explore Ding and Dang slot canyons. We first made sure we got the location of camp for our friends who were to arrive later in the evening.
After the 4 hour hike through some water and small crags the beers went down too easy. We started dinner preparations and few of us drove to where we could get cell phone service. Sure enough we got the “we got a flat and the spare is rusted stuck” voicemail. They also said if were not there by dark come help and only gave a vague location of where on the road to the north they were. Shit. I was a bit excited. It was close to dark. Let’s go. We drove for about a half hour and every car passing car we wished to be them. Finally just before Temple Mtn. road they appeared going only about 15 mph. They had used a can of fix-a-flat but it sure didn’t look like it was holding. We stopped and attempted to break the spare loose. This is the first real test of the light. I parked so that the light would illuminate our work spot. The light made it feel as if we were working in daylight. No need for headlamps. It throws off a cool white almost blue. Definitely on the cooler end of the Kelvin color temperature chart. I ran the light for about 45 mins with my truck not running and had no problems.
After the spare went on I lead the way back to camp with the LEDs literally blazing the way. I tried to be courteous when passing camp sites but the few I didn’t see until it was too late everyone around the fire would turn to look and immediately shield their eyes. My fix-a-flat friends are even convinced of buying an identical 10” bar for how cleanly it can be hidden away but still be so effective.
I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the 10” SR Combo Light Bar. It is a must for camping and exploring in your vehicle. With a quick and easy install and solid quality, Rigid Industries is leading the market. I see more Rigid Industries in my future.
For more information and to also purchase your own Rigid SR 10" Combo LED Light Bar, please visit www.rigidindustries.com