What Gear Do I Need to Safely Run in the Dark?

Celebrate National Running Safety Month with this high-visibility gear.

Oct 31, 2014
Outside Magazine
nox gear tracer 360 running safety outside gear

The NOX Gear Tracer 360 and five additional items to boost your visibility on the road.    Photo: NOX


Runners in Chicago and New York will get just over nine hours of daylight during the winter solstice. Factor in the requisite city commute and long workday, and most athletes will be exercising in the dark. That’s dangerous as seventy percent of pedestrian fatalities occur between dusk and dawn.

But several studies have shown that wearing bright, reflective gear boosts visibility, giving drivers more time to avoid a collision. We especially like these six items:

New Balance Glow Beacon Jacket  

  Photo: New Balance

Reflective detailing surrounds the Glow Beacon ($175), which is built from bright yellow polyester and nylon fabric. The coolest feature? Hold the Glow Beacon in the light for 10 minutes and the sleeves and back panel will glow in the dark.

NOX Gear Tracer 360 

  Photo: NOX

Yes, the Tracer 360 ($60) looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie, but its purpose isn’t to be fashionable—it’s to keep you safe. This LED and fiber-optic vest has cables that loop around your torso and a reflective belt. It will burn for 40 hours on three AAA batteries.

Nathan Strobe Light 

  Photo: Nathan

The matchbox-size Strobe ($10) features a sturdy, simple attachment mechanism that clicks onto a belt or a pack. The three LEDs have a steady burn life of 57 hours on a single battery. Flip the light into strobe mode, and you’ll get 110 hours of light.

Brooks Nightlife Reflective Vest 

  Photo: Brooks

The Nightlife Reflective Vest ($30) won’t keep you warm, but it will make you more visible. The adjustable vest comes in two sizes but fits most people thanks to the hook-and-loop side stretch straps. Bonus: You can wear it year-round thanks to its lightweight mesh material.

Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp 

  Photo: Black Diamond

This single LED headlamp is low profile, making it ideal for jarring sports like running. The 75-lumen Sprinter ($70) provides plenty of light for technical trail running and comes with a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that provides enough juice for 42 hours of burn time in the low-light mode. Nice touch: the Sprinter features a red light on the back of the band to boost your visibility from behind.

JBL Synchros Reflect BT Headphones  

  Photo: JBL

Listening to music on the bike or while running can be distracting and dangerous. But the right headphones make a difference. These Bluetooth-enabled headphones offer great sound quality, a tight fit, and sweat-proof qualities. And the reflective detailing makes them a smart choice for dark runs.

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