Thursday, December 08, 2011

Handy Running Tool: eGear Guardian Strobe Light

Now that it gets dark at 2pm (OK, closer to 4:30pm, I suppose), I feel like I should take some extra steps to be visible while running. A couple of the routes I take use bike paths which can be pretty dang dark.

After doing a bit of shopping on Amazon, I took the plunge and purchased a Guardian eGear Signal Light. It promised to be compact and bright. I was so happy with it, that I immediately turned around and bought a couple more colors.

Here's what they look like:

(The second photos is taken with the lights on top of a 3x5" notepad to show scale.)

I really like the design of these guys:

  • The twist-to-turn-on mechanism is fairly tight, so I don't worry about accidentally turning them on or off.
  • They are waterproof and somewhat drop-proof (3 meters?). I've taken them out in the rain and dropped them from waist height, and so far, no issues.
  • They're really lightweight (a bit more on that below) and do easily clip to anything
  • You can reverse the batteries to switch from a strobe light to a standard flash light. This makes for a simple design, and provides a nice little backup.
  • They aren't terribly expensive

I find that I can clip one light to the front of my hat, another to the back, and head off into the dark without even noticing the lights are there. Here's what the setup looks like:

As for areas of improvement, I was going to mention that of the three lights I received, the green one came with a simpler clip than the others. It's smooth and resembles a money clip, while the other colors have an improved design, including a lip that catches on clothing to be more secure, and a hole in the back which also looks useful. I was ready to write up a warning that you should make sure to get the newer clip. Thing is, this morning I sent an e-mail to eGear and asked them about the clip difference. Within an hour, I got a response back and a promise to send me an updated clip style for no charge.

So, now I'm even more impressed, because eGear's customer service came through so well.

I suppose the only real con is that I don't have a good way of measuring and comparing how effective this strobe is against what else is out there. For my purposes, which is mostly piece of mind, the lights work well. But, I can't really say that they will outperform other lighting options. I just know their awfully convenient (and they do have a claim of 2 mile visibility, for whatever that's worth).

If you're running in the dark, I say give 'em a try.

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