Shed a little light on your outdoor efforts
If you’re always worrying that there aren’t enough hours in the day to safely complete your workout or human-powered commute to work, lighten up. A number of innovative new sports lights for biking, hiking and trail-running can help you stretch out the short days of winter and go deep into the night in summer.
-- Roy M. Wallack
Go Motion Sternum light
This light for trail-runners and hikers attaches to the front straps of a backpack, casting a chest-high beam.
Likes: Relief for those who find a headlamp irritating. The 3-watt LED casts a moderately strong beam, which can be adjusted from wide to narrow with a rotary dial. Three AA batteries fit in a case that you put in your backpack. A bright-red warning light flashes from the battery case.
Dislikes: The dial is hard to turn.
Price: $89.95. (866) 446-1069; www.gomotiongear.com.
Blackburn Flea bike lights
Tiny, convenient front and rear bike lights with a unique portable charging system.
Likes: Very practical. Although not a replacement for an expensive, full-blown lighting system for hard-core night riding, these low-cost commuter and emergency lights are unusually small and light (the 2-by-1-inch front is 20 grams; the 1 1/2 -by-1 1/4 -inch rear is 17 grams); they secure to handlebars and seat post in seconds with Velcro straps, and they’re the only rechargeable light that can be recharged on the road. Instead of using AC, the Flea’s internal battery must get recharged from an external battery -- AA, C or D, standard or rechargeable. Pullout wires on the adapter connect to the battery and magnetic leads sync with leads on the lights. As long as you carry a single AA battery along, you can recharge a dead light on the way home.
Dislikes: Although the red rear light has super visibility, the front light, a 4-LED, 60-lumen beam, provides only so-so visibility that gets worse at high speeds. Also, you’re out of luck if you forget a battery or lose the adapter, which is easy to do because it is so tiny (1 by 3/4 inches) and lacks a clip-on interface.
Price: $54.95. (800) 456-2355; www.blackburndesign.com.
Black Diamond Orbit lantern
A featherweight, portable mini-lantern.
Likes: Tiny and lightweight, making it ideal for backpackers. Just 4 inches tall and weighing 3 ounces (not including four AAA batteries, an additional 1.5 ounces), the Orbit telescopes to about 5 3/4 inches when you pull on the clear plastic lamp housing. It casts a 6-foot radius of 1-watt LED light, which is bright enough to read by and can be adjusted by holding the on/off button, which makes it a dimmer switch. Includes two pop-out hooks on top for hanging on a branch or inside your tent. Has a stable, three-footed rubber base. While the lantern is collapsed, the button can’t be pressed, stopping the battery from draining while in your pack.
Price: $29.95. (801) 278-5552; www.blackdiamondequipment .com.
Nite Ize SpokeLit
An LED that attaches to the spokes of a bike wheel.
Likes: Makes urban rides with many cross streets safer. Cars approaching from an angle can’t miss seeing you. Attaches with no tools.
Dislikes: Not highly visible from behind, so you still need a conventional rear flasher.
Price: $7. (800) 315-2575; www.niteize.com.