When it comes to winter running in Michigan, we have a lot of things to consider. What are we going to wear to stay comfortable? How are we going to improve our traction? Can the other runners, cyclists, and most importantly drivers, see me? As a trail runner this last question is the most important: how am I going to see where I’m going?
My go to helper has been the Black Diamond Spot. It has 90 lumens, a couple of different settings and brightness options, is lightweight, and doesn’t bounce when I run with it. Tonight though I tried a new product on the market called Knuckle Lights. And yes, they are exactly what they sound like.
I didn’t completely abandon my Spot though, and I’m glad I didn’t. First the con: the lights aren’t very bright. At only 45 lumens per light they couldn’t compare to my headlamp. Even if you have two of them their lumen power doesn’t combine for a brighter beam. For trail usage I can’t encourage them as a single source of illumination, but I imagine that they would be awesome for running on the road or along the bike paths. The pros though, far outweigh the con. First, combined with my headlamp they produced a much bigger picture of where I was. Sure, the picture wasn’t as clear out on the edges of the light, but I didn’t need it to be, the trail was in the center of that picture and that’s all I cared about. Now I could see the 3-4 feet off the trail too! Second, they give your head and neck a chance to relax because you can just point your hands at anything you want to see a little better or a little longer. Third, they are a GREAT running form tool. If you wear the lights the way they instruct and you have a bad arm swing, or hand position, when you run, the lights will be worthless to you. But, if you have a short, relaxed arm swing, keeping your arms at roughly 90 degrees and on their respective sides of your body, you will get a consistent beam of light right in front of you.
Overall, I really liked them and would encourage anyone to pick up a pair. They are lightweight so you hardly notice that you are wearing them, the handstraps keep them on your fingers so you don’t have to hold them, they have three settings (two brightness settings and a blinking option) to suit whatever you need them for, and they are an excellent tool to help you improve your form. The only negative I can possibly find is that they aren’t a suitable single light source for trail running at night.
Nice job Dan Hopkins, thanks for helping to keep us safe at night!