Our Top 6 Low-Light Running Essentials

A woman running at night with Nathan visibility lights

[This article was updated on September 22, 2021 after we tested new products.]

The Importance of Being Seen on Your Run

Being able to see and be seen is critical when it comes to fall and winter running when you log most of your miles in the pre- and post- daylight hours. Thankfully, there’s better gear than ever to keep you safe in the lowest of low-light hours.

Here are our favorite pieces to be seen in this season:

Womens carbonite vest - icy grey

Brooks Carbonite Vest ($130)

Why we love it: This vest is the perfect versatile piece to keep you visible without overheating. Plus, it’s feathery light (and packs down pretty darn small), breathes well and even has pockets!

Brooks designed the Carbonite vest with strategically placed 3M™ Scotchlite™ Carbon Black Stretch reflectivity in critical motion zones to help drivers recognize you as a runner in motion. Neon yellow panels give added visibility for the hours between darkness and sunrise or sunset. This comfy and highly functional vest is available in sizes for both men and women.

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Mens Carbonite Tight - black - back

Brooks Carbonite Tight ($130)

Why we love them: Like the vest, the Carbonite Tight reflects precisely where you need them to: in critical motion zones from the hips down to the ankles. The strips of reflectivity move with your legs and help signal to oncoming traffic that you’re a moving human (rather than a road sign). It doesn’t hurt that they’re one of the most comfortable pairs of tights we’ve tried on in a while. With four-way stretch fabric, these tights feel like a second skin that keep you warm without overheating. And if you need to pick up a coffee after your sunrise run, the no-bounce waistband pocket can hold your key and a credit card.

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Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam vest

Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam ($60)

Why we love it: The Xinglet Optic Beam is the next generation of running lights from Amphipod. The running vest is made up of a bright LED tube that gives you 360 degrees of visibility. It clicks on with one touch, and it lets you toggle between continuous light or a blinking effect. Plus, it's super lightweight—Amphipod says it only weighs 3 ounces. Once we put it on and cinched it down, we never noticed it on our backs.

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The Black Diamond Storm 400 headlamp

Black Diamond Storm 400 ($50)

Why we love it: This powerful headlamp uses 400 lumens of light to help you see the road ahead on all of your adventures. The headlamp can run for five hours at max output or up to 150 hours on low output. You can customize the lighting options from strobe and dimming, and choose between red, blue and green colors. With an IP67 water rating, you can count on this headlamp in all kinds of conditions.

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The Nathan Safer Run Ripcord Siren and Strobe.

Nathan SaferRun Ripcord Siren + Strobe ($30)

Why we love it: This siren is small, but it’s mighty. Whether you encounter a wild animal or a dangerous person, the thumb-sized alarm sounds at 120 dB when activated. That’s as loud as an ambulance, and it can be heard from up to 600 feet away. The pull tab sets off a strobe light along with the alarm, so you’re sure to make a scene. The Nathan SaferRun Ripcord Siren + Strobe clips onto your waistband for easy access on the run.

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The Nathan Light Bender RX

Nathan Light Bender RX ($30)

Why we love it: The lightweight, flexible band offers six lumens of reflective light, which is visible up to 2,400 feet away. Plus, the band is easily adjustable to fit an arm, wrist or ankle (after testing all three placements, we found it most comfortable on our arms). Multiple settings give you options for solid or flashing lights (blue, green or red). Also, it’s water resistant. You can conveniently recharge the Light Bender RX with a USB charger, making it easy to use for all of your outdoor adventures.

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