One of the things I was most nervous about going into Ragnar Relay earlier this month was the overnight run. Pretty much everyone on the team ends up running a leg during darkness, but I hit the overnight jackpot (or not) scoring a nice 1am run.
Ragnar has very strict safety requirements for the overnight hours. From sunset to sunrise all participants must wear a reflective safety vest whether running or just hanging out at an exchange outside your van. While running, all runners must wear a headlamp and an led tail light. I borrowed the required headlamp from a running friend, but was still skeptical of being able to see well in the darkness. I had heard that portions of this run were very dark — this is rural Wisconsin, not typical running in my suburban area.
I had heard about knuckle lights at some point, and they were kind enough to send me a pair to try and review for this event.
When I received my knuckle lights, I put the batteries (they take two AAA batteries in each) in them and took them into the bathroom to test them out. (It was daylight, so this was the only completely dark room in my house!) My first impression was that they were surprisingly bright. It almost looked like I was using two full sized flashlights and not relatively small knuckle lights.
These knuckle lights provide 45 lumens on high power, approximately the same as one headlamp. This means that with a set of two, you have twice the illumination as wearing a headlamp. They have three settings – high, low and blinking. They are weatherproof and adjustable to fit any hand size.
I had several people tell me that I needed to do some practice nighttime runs. People said that your depth perception is different and it just “feels different.” I had every good intention of doing this, but a hectic schedule and a couple different setbacks with my foot prevented this from happening. Before I knew it, Ragnar was here and I packed my knuckle lights into my bag of nighttime accessories and hit the road.
When the time came for my run, I was very surprised how well I could see with these lights while waiting around for the exchange. Ragnar tells you that you will never be alone during a nighttime run, but I have to say I was pretty close to alone. I could see lights in the distance both directions, but there was never anyone right by me except for the few occasions I passed someone or was being passed. It was dark out there at times, but the knuckle lights performed well. They really lit up the area in front and around me, allowing me to see the terrain. There were a couple patches along the road with pot holes and rough terrain and I think these could have been hazardous areas if I didn’t have as much light.
The knuckle lights were comfortable. I was afraid it would feel too much like carrying something in each hand, but I almost forgot I had them on. They fit comfortably on your hands with an adjustable silicone strap. They come in four different colors, and I have to say I was slightly envious of the adorable pink ones that one of my van mates owned. You can check out the different colors (and order a set for yourself!) here.
These knuckle lights worked so well that I would actually consider a nighttime run (By choice! Gasp!!) again. I would definitely use them for another Ragnar and recommend them to anyone else doing an overnight event like this. I think these are a must-have accessory for anyone that regularly runs in the dark. Not only do they help you to see well, they most certainly will also help you to be seen by drivers while running near roads.
Since returning from Ragnar, I actually have one of my knuckle lights by my back door to use for taking the dog out after dark. I typically use the flashlight feature on my cell phone to take her out, but the knuckle light is much brighter and covers a larger area. I have also used it to take garbage out to the can after dark. I think these could be used for just about anything outdoors at night!
I received the product mentioned above for free in the hope that I would review it on my blog. However, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.