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LED light bars are everywhere, but finding a high-quality, high performer can be an ask

6 Mar 2024

STRANDS Lighting entered the Aussie market in mid-2023 as a premium offering in the trucking and four-wheel drive LED lighting market.


Landing initially with a range of driving lights, light bars, and work lights, the Swedish-designed portfolio is headlined by the Siberia Outlaw range, a dual-row LED unit available in an array of sizes.


Imported and distributed by Brown Watson International (BWI) – the same parent company that handles brands including Narva, Osram, Phillips Automotive and Projecta – the Strands Lighting range is a high-quality and stylish product that looks right at home on modern utes and 4WDs, including the Toyota HiLux Rogue.


BWI was kind enough to loan us a 32-inch Siberia Outlaw to put through its paces, and after a few months on the rig – taking in punishing off-road trails, lengthy highway runs and a couple of low-hanging tree branches – we are pleased to say we cannot fault its performance.


The Siberia Outlaw 32 (from $1399) offers a frameless design in both straight and curved arrays and is constructed of cast aluminium and finished in Satin Black, providing strong vibration resistance and resistance to UV damage (plastic light bars are a waste of time in my experience).


The Siberia Outlaw also features the brand’s trademark horizontal light pipe, which may be illuminated white or amber, depending on your choice (we opted for white in matching the Rogue’s DRLs).


The polycarbonate lens is tough, and looks the goods too, with an almost ‘smoked’ appearance in daylight hours. We’ve experienced no dust or moisture ingress (the unit is IP67 rated), which speaks well of the quality of construction given the flogging the unit has endured.


Strands Lighting says the unit can withstand temperatures between -30ºC and +65ºC, making it ideal for Aussie conditions.


Pleasingly, the wiring for the Siberia Outlaw is fuss free and equally well made.


Water- and dust-proof Deutsch connectors and 2.5 metres of sealed conduit cabling makes for neat installation in the engine bay, the relatively low current draw (409.2 watts) of the Osram-sourced LEDs meaning there’s no need to run higher gauge wiring… unless you’re operating multiple units (e.g., a light bar and driving lights).


We installed our test unit on the roof-mounted Rhino Rack Pioneer 6 for an unobstructed reach over the road ahead, even in undulating terrain.


Strands Lighting quotes illuminations of 44,400 raw lumens and 1 lux at 1466 metres, which is impressive when measured against the claims of similarly priced competitors but means little in the real world.


We prefer to experience the light for its more tangible characteristics and find lab-quoted numbers often mean very little.


The beam pattern is described by its maker as a “wall of light”, which rings true when you experience the light bar in the Aussie bush.


Although the beam pattern has a limit to its width – remembering the dual-row straight design of the example tested features what would traditionally be considered a ‘spot’ beam and not a ‘hybrid’ – it doesn’t annoy with a “hard edge” to the pattern, meaning illumination to the roadside is amply covered.


And it’s dead ahead where the Siberia Outlaw truly impresses… Reaching far beyond the vehicle’s standard LED high-beam, the unit provides reassuring coverage of darkened trails, punching light at least three times further than the HiLux’s units.


Despite the fitment, the light bar seems not to be impacted by vibration and produces a steady spread of light with excellent width, and very good height. We reckon you’d have no trouble lighting the entire height of a semi-trailer at 400m.


The light produced has a natural white hue (6000 Kelvin), without the annoying blue tinge found in cheaper brands.


Given Strands Lighting offers free delivery on products over $200 and backs every one of their units with a three-year warranty there’s little else we can say but give it a go.


Sure, the price might be up there when compared with more generic brands, but the quality and performance of the Siberia Outlaw punches well above a lot of other units we’ve sampled, a good thing when you consider the sheer volume of mediocre LED light bars on the market.

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