Monday, March 12, 2012

Knuckle Lights Review - Retiring My Headlamps

Darkness.

My most dependable training partner.  My morning companion shaking out the cobwebs.  My late-night compatriot when the workout needs to be done, but just wouldn’t fit into the day.  Hello darkness my old friend.
Simon, Garfunkel, and a garfunkload of hair
The unfortunate reality of the bulk of my training, especially during Fall and Winter, is that they are done without the benefit of sunlight.  Simple paths and familiar obstacles that we take for granted during the daytime have a whole different personality in the dark.  I’ve proven my ability to get injured on a perfectly flat, straight surface at high noon.  Adding darkness to the mix is like a cruel joke … a standing invite to the orthopedist.  Now that Daylight Savings is upon us, I’m plunged even farther into the early-morning darkness.  I think all this running is slowly turning me into a vampire, but not a shiny, whiny one from Twilight.  Hopefully something closer to True Blood.  Or maybe Dracula, or Count Chocula.  Mmmmm ….. Count Chocula.
Vampires from when I was a kid .... the good old days
Although most of my training routes have the benefit of some degree of streetlight illumination, even these runs have the occasional pothole, uneven sidewalk edge, puddles and/or ice patches, or surprises left by pets or other critters.  Among my favorite places to run are the cart paths at a nearby country club.  I can’t afford to golf there, but thankfully running there is free – although it has to be very early or late to avoid a Titleist to the noggin.  Trying to run these paths in the dark is definitely a risky proposition.  The obvious solution is to bring along a light.  Finding one that I like, however, has proven elusive.

I’ve tried two different headlamps, neither of which have done the trick for me.  Too much bounce, not really directed where I want on the path in front of me, and I don’t really like wearing anything on my head when I run.  I’m not even a fan of wearing hats when I run.  If I’m going to wear a spotlight on my forehead I’d like to reserve that for spelunking, performing brain surgery, or hillbilly handfishing.
Noodling ... Navy Seal style
With training ramping up for Spring races, and a 200-mile overnight relay coming up in April where I’ll need some sort of lighting, it was time to find something that worked.  Enter the good people at Knuckle Lights with the answer to my problems.
It seems so obvious, but those are often the best inventions.  The name says it all – lights that you wear on your knuckles.  With my running tights, and calf sleeves, and Fuel (utility) belt, my dressing like a superhero is nearly complete.  Now I can add illuminated knuckles to the mix.  If only they were Brass Knuckle Lights.  That's going in the suggestion box.
These things are very bright and very comfortable.  They form nicely to your fingers, and still leave your hands free if you need to carry something.  They cast a very wide beam, and I’ve not noticed any issues with the light bouncing.  Since they’re attached to your hands there will be some side-to-side movement of the beam as your arms move, unless you run like Frankenstein or are, in fact, Frankenstein.  Because they cast such a nice wide beam, when you run with both of the lights even the side-to-side motion is barely noticeable.
I’ve gotten to where I only run with one of them since it’s plenty bright, and then I’ll slip it into my Fuel Belt when the sun finally shows up and keep right on moving.
I’ve run up to 14 miles with these on my hands, and after a few miles, aside from the obvious illumination, I really forgot they were on my hands.  The switch sits on the top of the light, and can easily be turned on/off with the thumb on the same hand where the light is being worn.  So far they seem pretty sturdy, although I haven’t dropped one … yet.  Only a matter of time based on my history.  I’ve worn them over gloves, which works fine, and I wear it over my wedding ring without any issues.  For the ladies out there with wedding rings with big stones, you will likely need to turn the stone around to wear these since they’re intentionally pretty snug to your fingers.
The Verdict:  Personally I find these to be a MUCH better alternative to a headlamp, and I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone logging any serious activity time outside of daylight hours.  I haven’t tried them while biking since I have a headlamp for my bike that works like a champ, but I suspect these would work well while riding as well.  I’m looking forward to using these in my upcoming overnight relay.  I suspect I’ll find some new converts once they get a chance to see these in action.  Check them out for yourself at http://www.knucklelights.com.

Disclaimer – I was provided these Knucklelights free of charge to try and review.  Fortunately, I really like them and think you will too.  If I didn’t like them, however, I would have made that abundantly clear – most likely with a full helping of sarcasm, and some snark on the side.

9 comments:

  1. I like the idea of these also because you should be more visible with the lights moving as your arms swing.

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  2. I so appreciate your review on these - I've been looking for some nighttime running illumination, and these look perfect!

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  3. I keep thinking I need to get a pair of these. I have a headlamp that is OK but I don't love it. I really don't like running in the dark but now that it's getting warmer out, it's a little more likely that I'll get out there and we have no streetlights at all. Pitch black! Glad to hear these work really well!

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  4. It was good to read this review. I wear a headlamp, as do all my running partners. I don't mind it too much, but do find that I get a headache if I have it on too long. So maybe a go at these is in order!

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  5. These look good! And since I too have an upcoming relay, I may need to investigate further.
    I was a Frankenberry girl all the way!

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  6. I actually like running while it's still dark and then seeing the sun come up. And it's starting to get to that time of the year so I'm pretty happy.

    Love the knuckle lights. If they were made of steel, how awesome would they be as knuckle dusters?! Ward off any potential mugger.

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  7. Great review! Can't wait to try these! I HATE wearing headlamps.

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  8. Good to see you out wearing lights in the darkness. I wear anywhere from 2-4 different lights (the wrap-around kind) just below my knee and on my arms.

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  9. The product is awesome! I spot something also awesome at http://snip.ly/o7n99

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