Bright clothing and reflective gear is essential to keep you safe when running or walking at night.

Gear Guide: Safety Wear for Exercising at Night

We’re heading towards the solstice, the darkest time of the year, and the early evenings are tempting you to skip your evening run or walk.  Avoid the temptation!  Running and walking during the darkened day is one of the most enjoyable times of the year to be outside. There is a stillness and quiet that brings a whole new dimension of relaxation and peace-of-mind.

A bit a preparedness will turn what might formerly have been your hibernation period into your favorite workout time of the year.

Preparedness begins with making sure that cars can see you. There are an abundance of reflective garments in stores, from vests to jackets in reflective colors ranging from highlighter yellow to fushcia. Moreover, many seasonal pieces of outdoor apparel come with reflective elements built-in, and some are unabashedly made to keep you visible – like the Glow Beacon Jacket from New Balance.

There are also reflective bands that you can place on your arms and ankles, reflective headbands, and even hair ties. Remember, every reflective piece on your body informs a motorist of your presence.

Complementing your need to be seen is making sure that you can see! For good night vision, a headlamp is essential.  It lights your way and allows you to gauge your next step. While most any thick-strapped “camping” head-lamp will do, check out this one from Petzl specially designed for night sports.

When shopping for a headlamp you want to consider the level of lumens (the amount of visible light  emitted) and whether it will stay on your head as you’re moving. Your lumen power will be dependent on where you’re running – paved streets or unfamiliar trails.  Most probably you want a headlamp with a minimum of 100 lumens.

To prevent the annoyance of something slipping around, stay away from the thin and retractable cord head bands. There are headlamps specifically designed for very active movement, like the 200-lumen Black Diamond Icon Headlamp, which features a blinking light on the back and fastens around and and over the head.

Sports Basement staff members Ian Ballentine and Brittany Garrett bring you expert information on the best gear available to train in comfort and style. Ian manages the, triathlon, swim, and run channels for Sports Basement. She swam for San Jose State University and currently competes in Ironman competitions and races for the Oakland Tri Club. Brittany, who holds a bachelor of science in kinesiology with an emphasis on exercise science, manages the footwear department at Sports Basement in the Presidio. She has been running competitively for 15 years and coaches collegiate cross country at San Francisco State University.