February 19th, 2018
by Michael Ryan
Running in the dark and tired of your headlamp? Winter brings shorter days which means more running in the dark. In addition to being dangerous, it can also be somewhat intimidating if you’re running along a dark, secluded path. For your safety, you should wear a light if you’re running in the dark, in addition to reflective gear. Not only does a light let you see where you're going, but it also let’s others see you.
Many runners who run in the dark use headlamps, which serve as a hands-free source of light that can be directed onto the path in front of you. However, they have some disadvantages. For one thing, headlamps sometimes slide or bounce around on your forehead, which can be a nuance; and making the band too tight can give you a headache after a while. Some headlamps can also feel bulky and heavy on your forehead.
If you have similar frustrations about headlamps when you run, this list is for you. Below are several alternatives to headlamps that will effectively light your way on your next run in the dark.
Clip-on flashing lights are perhaps the most convenient light option out there since they don’t constrict any part of your body or feel bulky and strange, and you can clip them to any part of your clothing. Most come with an option of providing either a steady or blinking light. One good example of these is Nathan Lux Strobe’s RX Clip-On, which is designed to give up to ten hours of continuous light, which means you’ll have visibility on even the longest of your nighttime runs.
One thing to note, though, is that clip lights are more useful as a device to alert others (i.e. motorists) to your location rather than light your path because they don’t emanate as strong a light.
Lighted vests are designed to give you optimum levels of visibility, up to 360 degrees around your torso. With LED-powered light, these vests are generally very lightweight and don’t weigh you down. Plus, they are made of a stretchy material that allows for greater comfort and flexibility. A good example is the Amphipod Xinglet Lite LED Vest or the . When you’re looking for a lighted vest, pay attention to the weight of the vest and the material it’s made of.
Remember the slap-on bracelets that used to be so popular when you were a kid? Those same slap-ons are making a major comeback again, but in an adult version. LED-light armbands, like the BSeen LED Slap Band, are easily adjustable, with built in battery-powered LED lights to offer you a light-weight, hands-free source of light when running so others can see you.
The waist light belt slides around your waist to provide a comfortable hands-free beam to light your way. Some waist belts are reflective belts with built-in lights. Others, such as GoMotion Corelite Waist Light, come with several adjustments that allow you to point the light straight ahead, up, or down, and even change from a wide to a narrow beam depending on what you need. The battery pack on the back also comes with a flashing red LED light so you can be seen from the back.
If you’re looking for a running light that is lightweight and one you forget you are wearing, try a lightweight band that clips to the back of your shoe, such as the Nathan Light Spur. These bands provide a bright LED light (flashing or steady) that will let people see you from behind.
Hand torches that come with a strap band are also one of the options available to runners. The downward angle lights up the path, but you can also use it point it straight ahead to scope out your route. Some of these torches, such as the Nathan Zephyr Fire 300 Hand Torch, come with a rear-facing red LED light as well. They’re also built with an emergency siren you can use in case you need assistance.
Gloves with built-in lights, such as those made by RunLites, are an incredibly convenient form of running lights, especially during winter time. All you need to do is slip them on and hit the road. The LED lights that come with these gloves are rechargeable and built into each glove, allowing the natural motion of your hands to light your way in front. Some gloves even come with small stash pockets so you can store essentials.
When it comes to running in the dark, you want to be able to see and be seen. If you’re tired of your headlamp or even if you just want additional lights, there are plenty of options to suit all kinds of tastes and preferences so you can go out and run safely in the dark.