Can I confess something? I kind of love running in the dark in the early morning. There is something so
But the main thing I want to be is safe. That means being able to see and being seen by other road users (and also more recently, always running with others. I’ve become more nervous about running alone in the dark since the pandemic and the number of attacks on women).
When looking for houses, one of my priorities was living on a street with street lights. And in an urban enough area that I could run at least a few miles on well lit roads. Despite that, I still need a light for those stretches between lights. And to allow me to be seen without relying on reflective clothing.
Best Running Headtorches & Lights
My Go-To Product – Get Vizy LED Vest
I love the Get Vizy light up vest, with bright flashing colours on the chest straps and a chest torch. You cannot miss a runner or cyclist wearing this disco vest. It is rechargeable with a USB, lightweight and easily adjusts to fit most body shapes. I did find it comfiest when I crossed the straps over so that it didn’t slip down. (I’m not sure if you would have less of a problem with less boob!)
The torch isn’t that bright (200 lumen). But it is more than enough if you’re running along mostly lit pavements. However, I would double up with a brighter headtorch if you were running on unlit roads or trails.
Whilst the company is based in Canada, they provide free shipping to the UK. The code THERUNNERBEANS gets you 10% off.
Personally, I feel like the Noxgear Tracer2 fits my body better with a stretchier elastic waist and doesn’t need to be crossed over. However it is the chest light of the Get Vizy vest that wins out for me. Plus it’s about half the price!!
A Cheaper Chest Light Option
I found the one-shoulder reflective version from Amazon did a Lumefit Run Light. It tightens around your waist and doesn’t ride up or move around while you run. To compare the torch brightness with the Get Vizy Vest – the Lumefit Run light has a 500 lumen light! You can adjust it to face straight or lean it down to hit the ground infront of you. Lume boasts a battery life of 6 hours and whilst I haven’t tested this to its full extent, I would say that some of the user reviews suggest that it might be more like 3.5 hours on the torch.
With reflective straps and a red USB charging pack on the back of the strap, you’ll be sure to be seen on the run too. For £21 this is a great option for any level of runner!
The Brightest Headtorch
The Silva range of head lamps are some of the brightest I’ve tried. And these are the ideal options for those doing ultra or multi day events where battery life and brightness is key. Silva have options with battery packs attached to extend life and use a combo of AAA batteries and rechargeable battery.
They are on the more expensive end of the products I tested – and you can feel that when you wear it. The Trail Runner Free is 400m lumen on it’s brightest setting (which the brand indicates should mean you can see 80m ahead of you), and can be adjusted to hit the ground, directly ahead or upwards (if you ever need that!).
Fair warning, this did leave a bit of a mark on my forehead!
The Comfiest Headtorch
I found the Knog Quekka headtorch incredibly comfortable, didn’t leave a mark (ideal when I go straight from my morning run into work!) and very lightweight (under 50g!). This silicone head torch has four brightness settings, meaning you can turn it down if you’re coming up to another road user and don’t want to shine it directly in their eyes (there’s no function to tip the light down). I didn’t find it shone that far in front of me (it only has 100 lumen) – although their website suggests it has a range of 40m.
I love that there is no charging cable required (i lose them all the time) and simply plugs straight into a USB or computer – this is the perfect headlamp to throw in your commuter backpack or suitcase when going on holiday!
The Practical Option
I’ve had the Petzl Actik headlamp for a couple of years and it does the job – it’s comfortable, lightweight and is bright enough with a 350 lumen light. Although it’s really comfortable, it does leave a telling mark on my forehead, luckily it’s usually gone by the time I get to work!
You can detach the light from the headband to wash it (apparently, I have literally never even thought to do that), but also means you can buy different attachments to fit it to a bike or helmet. This lightweight lamp projects up to 65m, the only downside is that the light is not-rechargeable and only takes AAA batteries (although you could choose rechargeable batteries).
The Budget Option
For those on a budget, before I stepped up to the Petzl headlamp, I had a trusty old Decathlon Fishing headlamp for under £10. OK, I didn’t realise it was a fishing headlamp, but it’s 80 lumen with a 25m range.
I also tried knuckle lights – personally they were not for me. I like having my hands free when running. Tom nabbed the pair I’d bought for work (doing his aeroplane walkaround!) If you don’t mind holding them, 160 lumen wide beam lights are lightweight, 100% waterproof and have magnets to connect the lights together.