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Running Gear Rundown: Night Running Lights and Gear

September 15, 2020

Running is something you can do almost anytime and anywhere. You don't really need a ton of equipment (though gadgets and gear can be fun and may make your run more enjoyable); a good pair of running shoes is enough to get you out the door. But if you’re going for a run after dark, having the right running gear is particularly important in order to assure your safety. We would rank night running lights at the top of the list, but there is definitely other essential gear you should plan to bring along when out at night.

Night Running Must-Have #1: A Light Source

Having a light while running in the dark is important for a number of reasons--it will not only make you more visible to traffic, but will also help to see the path in front of you.  It is unfortunate that many pedestrians are struck by cars at night each year; however, even more common injuries occur from runners and walkers tripping and falling from not being able to see an uneven sidewalk or pothole. Both of these serious dangers can be avoided, or at least significantly reduced, by simply carrying an LED light of some type.  Needless to say we are partial to Knuckle Lights, but Headlamps and Flashlights are other perfectly viable options.

Knuckle Lights night running lights
flashlight for runners and walkers
running gear headlamp for night running

Night Running Must-Have #2: Safety Blinker or Flasher

When you’re running or walking outside, a safety blinker or flasher is the best way to assure that traffic will be able to spot you from a distance. Most blinkers have multiple flashing options to suit your preference, but keep in mind that the faster the blinking, the more noticeable you will be to passing traffic. As mentioned earlier, you should already have your bright LED light to illuminate your path and be seen by oncoming traffic, so a blinker attached to the waistband on your backside will assure that vehicles approaching from behind will be able to see you. A clip-on blinker will work great, but there are other options as well, such as light-up arm bands or clip-on heel lights for your shoes.

safety blinker flasher for walking at night
light for runners at night
clip-on heel light night running accessories

Night Running Must-Have #3: Reflective Vest

There are numerous options when it comes to reflective safety vests. A traditional safety vest with bright reflective material will work great, but there are so many new options available now as well. Simply typing in the phrase “safety vest for running” into Amazon will give you almost endless possibilities. What is most important is to choose something that covers your upper torso, which is the best way to assure you are noticed and recognizable as a human figure when you are illuminated by passing car headlights.

We are particularly partial to the Road Noise safety vest because not only is it a stylish looking reflective vest, it also has built in speakers on the shoulders so that you can listen to your tunes without headphones--another important part of being safe running or walking in the dark is being able to hear your surroundings.

safety vest running gear for night runners
road noise safety vest with speakers running gear
light up safety vest for night running

Night Running Must-Have #4: Reflective Clothing or Tape

This category is not necessarily a must-have if you already have a reflective vest, but there are tons of options here. All the big brands now have reflective clothing available, but there are also lots of really cool smaller independent brands that are offering stylish and innovative reflective gear and clothing.

A really neat new trend is reflective tape that you can apply yourself to any of your clothing, making your entire wardrobe potentially reflective. Going even a step further is spray-on, or roll-on reflective material that can be applied directly to your skin. Pretty cool stuff, and we say whatever makes you more visible to traffic is a good thing.

reflective clothing running gear for night time runners
reflective tape running gear for walking or running at night
reflective roll on gear for running in the dark

Night Running Must-Have #5: Identification

It is unfortunate, but bad things do happen to people while out alone at any time of the day. During the dark hours, when it is more secluded, the chance of an incident increases significantly. Beyond taking precautions and having the right safety gear, carrying identification on you in case of an emergency is critical. Road ID is a great option, or simply carry your driver's license in your pocket which has your name and address. If you run with your cell phone, you can place a sticker or label on the back of your phone with your name and a phone number to call in an emergency.

running gear for runners road id for identification
identification for night runners safety
running gear identification for runners

Night Running Must-Have #6: Personal Protection

We all wish we lived in a world where we could go outside without the real threat of stranger danger, but unfortunately the potential to be attacked while running or walking is a reality. This can, and does happen anywhere. The best option is to be prepared, even if you feel relatively safe in your neighborhood or on your running route. It only takes an instant and one bad encounter can change your life forever.

Fortunately there are a number of inexpensive and easy to carry products available specifically designed for your personal protection and safety. Pepper spray is one option, but there are also personal body alarms that will emit a loud noise in an emergency. And don’t forget about your dog. Dogs are instant deterrent to anyone that may be looking to do you harm. Plus your furry friend is great company while logging those miles.

Often as runners we feel safe and that as long as we know where we are on the street, we can avoid hazards, but tragedy can happen in an instant. Think of the people that love and care about you, they want you to be safe and adding a few simple pieces of safety gear while you are out in the dark isn't much to ask and simply makes sense!

Stay safe, be seen, and Own The Night!

Dan Hopkins founder of Knuckle Lights
Dan Hopkins
Knuckle Lights

Other Great Stuff

Running at Night: a Complete Guide to Being a Night Runner

Running Gear Rundown: Night Running Lights and Reflective Gear

What the Heck is a Lumen? An Easy Guide to Compare Lights for Running

Dog Walking at Night: Lights, Gear and Some Practical Advice

12 Unusual Benefits of Running at Night

Running in the Dark: Adventures of a Night Runner

Night Jogging or Running, What's the Difference?

Hiking at Night: Is This Really a Thing?

Walking at Night: 10 Key Safety Tips

Running Safety: 3 Night Running Gear Must-Have's to Run in the Dark


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