Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Planning to begin running in the dark takes more than just a mental adjustment – it’s going to necessitate a few safety accessories as well.

The most important items for your safety are reflective gear, and the most important tool for your ability to run pre-dawn or post-sunset is lights.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Lights

Your lights are the most important piece of equipment in which you will invest. When I started running in the dark, there were few choices for running lights.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Single Light

My cycling partner searched, and finally found the Nathan Zephyr Hand Torch for me. It’s angled to shine on the road, is lightweight, and it lasts for a very long time; I think I’ve run with it for months on end before having to charge it.

The Nathan Light has a nylon soft strap, very comfortable. With the very bright beam, I can identify if those glowing eyes are a cat or a dog from about two mailboxes away.

Nathan Zephyr Hand Torch comes in many versions. Mine is the 300, rechargeable. It lasts such a long time! Plus, it’s good for spotting things further away. It is perfect for walking, actually.

The main drawback is this light yields more of a spotlight, and since you move your arms when you run; the light moves a lot. If you “wear” it as designed, when you run, it shines on the treetops. I hold it a bit sideways from how it’s designed to be held in order for the beam to hit the pavement ahead of me.

Another drawback of the spotlight aspect is that the beam swings back and forth, so you “look” at the pavement every other step. There’s not a constant view of the ground in front of you, but an every-other step glimpse. It’s plenty enough to keep you from tripping.

The great feature is the webbed straps; they don’t make your hand hot, additionally, you can hold your hands naturally and not have to actually grip the light. It does not weight too much; a little over four ounces. And that battery life! Fantastic!

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Double Lights – the Pros

This is my new Knuckle Lights set of hand lights – one for each hand. At five ounces total, I’m holding only two and a half ounces in each hand, and I’m balanced left-to-right.

The major benefit, feature, and wonderful aspect of these lights is their overlap. Because they are more of a flood than a spot, and because you have two, while running they cover the area in front of you perfectly. There is a constant view of the ground in front of you, and it does not waver since the swing of your arms moves the other in as one goes away.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Double Lights – the Cons

One odd situation is when you are walking, the way they shine makes a black narrow column in front of you. I imagine this must be what the view is like for a housefly, with their eyes out to the sides of their body. When that happens, I simply turn my wrists so that my knuckles both face forward to avoid that strange view.

However excited I was about the Knuckle Lights, I did realize a few drawbacks very rapidly. After one mile, these heat up to nearly 90°. I believe in the Winter this is going to be a wonderful feature! However, in the Summer, the result is sweaty hands.

The straps are rubbery silicone, and they don’t breathe. With the batteries heating up, this makes quite the unbreathable/warm area between your fingers. One interesting aspect to running in the dark is everything on your body is more noticeable. Once you are denied the sense of vision, your other senses are heightened, including your irritation with anything that chafes, moves, or makes you hot. Woven nylon straps would be cooler, but harder to adjust.

Also, the battery life on these is very short. I can get two or three 35-minute runs out of them before they are a bit too dim to help. The instructions say they are rated for 800 full charges, and it the manufacturer recommends placing them on the charger whenever you are not using them. I don’t like to charge items when I’m not home, so I must remember to charge them weekly.

At 280 lumens, they aren’t bright enough to determine cat or dog when I see eyes glowing two mailboxes down, but, the ability to see underfoot constantly is a welcome benefit.

Final Decision

Although all the “cons” sounded severe, I love these things. They work, I can lengthen my stride now, I can see in front of me, and I don’t need to see far away anyway. Not only are they lightweight, they also are rechargeable, and I’m balanced, so they are even better than my single light.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Ankles and Wrists

GoxRunx 6 Pcs Reflective Bands for Arm/Wrist/Ankle/Leg is just one example of the great non-battery-operated, non-mechanical choices for lighting up your body.

The motion of your arms and legs while you are running is more likely to attract the attention of vehicles and cyclists so that they avoid you.

I’m using a single black ankle band that has a battery, and a white light that pulses around my ankle. My cycling partner says he actually cannot see it until he’s very close to me, so I’m waiting on these to arrive. I can’t wait!

Reflective Ankle Bands for Runners come in so many varieties! The more reflective, the better! Simple way to “get lit” without consuming batteries.

No laughing, but, Reflective Socks are a thing! The idea that the motion of your feet makes the reflective bits move, which supposedly catches someone’s eyes better than a solid beam of light. We have them for cycling and running.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Blinking Things

There are so many choices! GearLight S1 LED Safety Lights [4 Pack] can be attached anywhere.

When considering these, pay close attention to whether to prefer the type with batteries, usually CR2032’s, or the rechargeable versions. Also be sure to read about the battery life – usually about 100 hours – and the weight – normally about an ounce each. Some even come with a teeny screwdriver for battery changes.

Most come with a variety of fasteners, and work in three modes – steady, flash, and strobe. Waterproof, of course!

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Reflective Vests

The ability to present a larger, moving, eye-catching light pattern is worthwhile. To accomplish this, a reflective running vest does the trick. Think grade school crossing guard gone reflective, and you get the idea.

Lightweight material allows breathability. Some vests require batteries for led lights, others simply use reflective material to catch the eye.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

Carrying Solutions

FlipBelt is how I carry my cellular phone. They come in several colors – I chose this moray eel green. All selections look like they come only in black – once you click the link, then you will be shown the color options.

This belt has a reflective logo, but that usually ends up under my shirt. Also, it features a hook for a spare house key, and access for whatever you need to carry around your waist.

It took me a bit to get used to wearing this – I had to learn where to slide my phone so it didn’t move around. The small of my back ended up being the most comfortable and least hot spot. There was one pair of shorts it did not work well with; they were too slippery, and it would slide up to my waist and not stay in position.

The slits in the belt allow the wearer to slide more than one item into the belt. I use the Runkeeper application, so I have my delay set to ten seconds to give me enough time to get my phone stowed before the timer begins.

Speaking of cell phones and sweat – I use only the Lifeproof Fre cases. They have a solid back, the edges are slightly rubbery so they grip flat surfaces in cars and on boats. The front has a clear panel, protecting your phone. Initially, my concern was that the door that opens and closes for charging would eventually fail. It never has, and I’ve had mine about four years. The edges did get a bit ratty over time, so I did replace it when I upgraded my phone.

My Favorite Running Things

Right next to the door where I head out for runs or rides, the closest drawer to the door has what I need on the way out to hit the pavement.

Just look at all those socks featuring Vanderkitten’s  cat Ophelia inspiring me to suit up and get moving! They have eye-catching running and cycling gear designed specifically for women.

Due to all-too-frequent hair washings, I favor the really chunky hair elastics. They hold my hair firmly without breaking strands.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting
There’s the Road ID tag – under the strap of my cycling shoes.
, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting
The hook and latch tab is so fast and easy to move – it’s off my running shoes and back on my cycling shoes in an instant!

Road ID Tag

For wearing, and keeping your identification on you when you aren’t carrying a wallet or purse, the Road ID tags are great. And this link will give you $5 off. RoadID inscribes whatever information you choose and places it on a tiny lightweight metal plate, which can be worn anywhere.

There are versions to wear on a bracelet, or you can affix it to your shoe. My cycling partner says I actually shouldn’t wear it on my shoe when we’re cycling since sometimes your shoes get knocked off your body in a cycling accident.

For running, I do wear it on my shoe. It’s easily moved from pair to pair. There are even versions to wear on the band of a smart watch!

Road ID App

There’s a phenomenal app from RoadID! When you begin a run – or ride or whatever – you “start your crumb” meaning you start your activity. When you begin a run or ride, it automatically alerts someone else that you are on the road. I have mine set to alert me so I know it “went through,” and to alert my cycling partner so he knows when I’m going for a run alone in the dark.

Then, when you complete your activity, you “stop your crumb.” If you don’t stop the activity, then you receive an audible warning, and shortly after, RoadID notifies your emergency contact that you have not returned.

In the beginning, I would set the alert to the exact length of my run. A couple times, a neighbor stopped me to chat, and I accidentally set off the alarm by not returning to my base one time. I learned to set the alarm with five or ten minutes extra.

It’s nice to be able to let someone know you are heading out and that you have returned.

, Running in the Dark // Part 2 // Gear and Lighting

The Dazzer; Saving the Best for Last

We started with one Dazer II, which we kept by the dog leashes so we would not forget it. It worked so well on dog walks with aggressive dogs approaching our dogs, that we started taking it with us on bike rides and runs.

No, it does not hurt the animals; it emits a high frequency sound that makes them stop and reconsider running up to you and biting you. That’s all. It works. If you want to read more, How to Deal With Aggressive Dogs While Cycling // Review of the Dazer II Ultrasonic Aggressive Dog Deterrent Repeller by Dazzer covers it all.

Use of any of my Amazon codes doe not increase your price – however, they may reward me for sharing with you the items I have purchased and use myself. Thank you in advance!

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