Glimmer Gear Solar LED Body Belt: Conquer the Ninja Dog Walkers!
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I am not sure if you noticed or not, but it is winter. I know, Captain Obvious, right?
At this time of year, while the thoughts of most Casual Runners turn to ways to stay warm (shameless plug to our Top 10 Tips for staying warm while on the run), it is also the time of year where we on Team Casual Runner have to hear Mike go on and on (and on…and on…) about Ninja Dog Walkers.
You know, these are those people who insist on going out for walks and runs along the side of the road in the dark while seemingly intentionally selecting the darkest, least visible clothes in their closet? Yeah, as much as we don’t like to admit this to Mike, he is right. This is not safe – for the runners, walkers, (even cyclists who inexplicably do it), and the drivers whom they encounter.
During this time of year when daylight hours are at a premium and Casual Runners often need to train in early morning and evening hours (i.e., in the dark), the logical solution is to MAKE YOURSELF MORE VISIBLE TO DRIVERS. Ok, seems simple enough, right? The only question is, how does one do this?
Step in the good people at Glimmer Gear! In short, this is a neat company that makes quality products with one aim in mind: to make sure you stay safe during your training runs (or dog walks, or bike rides). We listened to Mike preach visibility safety long enough that we got in touch with them and asked them to recommend some products that will appease him AND keep our readers safe. They sent us their Solar LED Body Belt so we could put it through the paces while doing our paces.
This simple, yet optimal design, is definitely well-suited for a our needs. It is essentially a nylon belt with a nice, sturdy plastic clip, that is supercharged with an electronic component that lights up to make the wearer much more visible to anyone else – other pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and even mean ladies who are not looking out for you.
The belt comes with a USB charger and cable for easy charging and recharging. Glimmer Gear also tells us that the belt charges with solar power, so we will take their word for it. With either method though, recharging is simple and easy and there are no batteries to send you searching through your ubiquitous junk drawer to replace prior to going out for a run.
The LED Body Belt has sliders that easily adjust so the belt can be re-sized to fit many various body sizes and shapes. Because of this, Casual Runners have the option to wear the belt on their waists or across their chests. This latter option is great for those who are already wearing hydration or other sport belts during training.
Simply put, this belt can (and dare I say, should?) be worn any time you begin or end a run (or walk, or bike ride) at a time where you will have reduced lighting outside. Even if it is daylight when you head out the door, if you are going to be out long enough that dusk sets in, bring the belt with you and you can turn it on when lighting conditions warrant it. The belt is light and comfortable, so its better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Oh, and while we are focusing on winter months here (because that is when we are often forced to run in the dark), it can be used all year round.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?
While I am not a fan of running outside in the cold or the dark, I AM a fan of this product.
Lets start from the design concept: this is active visibility, as opposed to passive visibility. I look at passive visibility as reflective strips and panels that are a part of the clothing and accessories that you wear. Now, these are an integral part of every runner’s safety gear, however, they require some external light source (such as car lights) to do anything. Unless they are directly reflecting some external light, they do not make you any more visible. So I think that it is best not to rely solely on passive visibility for safety.
This belt is an active light source as it actively generates (see what I did there?) its own light which makes you visible even if you are completely in the dark. This is a huge deal in terms of safety. Needless to say, combining active and passive visibility gear only increases the chances that motorists will see you.
The belt itself is well-constructed, you can tell there is quality from the minute you pick it up. There is none of that cheap, flimsy nylon weave and seems you may find in other products. This tells me that this product is built to last, which is good, because we Casual Runners certainly do put our running gear through the ringer.
The belt fits comfortably and there was no noticeable bouncing or movement while I ran. This may sound like a small thing, but it is not. The last thing you want is an accessory that bounces along with every step of a 6 mile run.
The light effect comes with two different modes (besides off!). The first is a solid light that remains on until you shut it off. It also comes with an alternate flashing setting. I am not sure which makes you more visible (I am guessing its the flashing one), but it is a nice feature to have options.
I cannot tell you just how long the internal battery lasts, but it appears to be more than sufficient. I ran multiple 10k training runs on a single charge and did not notice any fading of the light whatsoever. Additionally, I may have left it on after one or two of the runs by mistake…um…purely for research and testing purposes, and not because I forgot to turn it off! Despite this, the battery still held up like a champion on a single charge.
I guess, in the end, I will leave you with this: regardless of what product you choose, you should definitely consider adding some form of active light source to your gear bag to take along with you on any outdoor training sessions with less than optimal lighting conditions. And, if you are going to take may advice, you may want to give Glimmer Gear a look.
YOU CAN CHECK OUT OUR 2015 PRODUCT PALOOZA AND ENTER TO WIN A FREE PAIR OF COMPRESSION SOCKS OR SLEEVES FROM NOW UNTIL DECEMBER 21, 2015 – CHECK OUT THE DETAILS HERE.
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Neither Nick nor Casual Runner received any compensation for this review. The product reviewed herein was provided by the manufacturer for purposes of this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.