Since I’ve been doing quite a few night runs lately, I decided that it was finally time to get some new running gear. A few runners that I run with recommended a couple of items from REI, and being the tactile person I am, I did not hesitate to stop in there yesterday to do some damage.
In the Bag…
Nathan Reflective Cyclist Vest | $22 | Product Page
I know that this is a “cyclist” vest, but it actually works REALLY well for runners. Previously, I had spent hours on the Internet sifting through different reflective vests, but it wasn’t until I met up with my running group and saw that one of the female members had this vest that I knew what to look for. Some things I like about this particular vest:
- Super lightweight (I went for a 10 mile run and forgot that I was even wearing it!)
- Fits easily over layered clothing
- Breathable material (Even though I was sweaty after the run, the vest was dry.)
- 1,200 ft. visibility + 360 degree visibility
- One size fits all (But this vest is especially great for us ladies who have smaller frames…It stays in one place and doesn’t shift around.)
- Has a webbing loop for a clip-on LED
Petzl Tikkina 2 LED Headlamp | $20 | Product Page
In the area where I live in NC, there are A LOT of safety-conscious nighttime runners and cyclists. One thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of runners have handheld flashlights that they run with, and almost all of the runners in my weekly running meetup group have headlamps. The concept of wearing a flashlight on my head was completely new to me, and I was admittedly skeptical. However, after putting it to the test tonight, I was pleasantly surprised.
The headlamp was easy to assemble and came with 3 AAA batteries. All I had to do when I opened the package was slip the batteries into place, adjust the head straps, and I was good to go. The headlamp features 2 LED light settings: one that is bright, and one that is dim. During the course of my 10-mile loop, I tested both settings and found that even the dimmest setting still provided me with ample light to see where I was going. In spots where it was really dark, I flipped on the brighter setting.
I didn’t have to fumble around for a switch or anything either. The button is conveniently located at the top of the headlamp and can be depressed with a single finger, mid-stride with very little effort: a definite plus for those of us who hate to break stride for the sake of adjusting our attire.
Amphipod AirFlow Microstretch Waistpack | $20 | Product Page
Let’s not kid ourselves here; this is just another fancy name for “fanny pack”. I’ve never been one of those runners who could take their car keys and hide them in the gas cap of their car while they went for a run. No- I always carry my keys and cell phone with me if I’m running alone at a park or somewhere that doesn’t entail running from my house. That said, I had been surfing the Internet in search of a runner’s fanny pack that would assist me in carrying all of my crap. However, the reviews on a lot of products were all over the place. Solution? Go to the store and see for yourself.
As soon as I got to REI, I whipped out my cell phone and keys and stuffed them in a couple of different waistpacks to see how they would fit. I like the slim, nondescript design of the Amphipod. It even comes with a reflective strip on the outside of it for improved visibility. Looks are definitely deceiving as you can fit A LOT of stuff in there. Today’s run only had me bringing my keys and cell phone, but I’m sure that I could’ve fit my iPod and perhaps a pair of sunglasses or a snack in there as well.
The thing that I am most pleased with, however, is the fact that while running for over 10 miles, I barely even noticed that I was wearing the waistpack. It didn’t move or bounce around, which was great because it allowed me to focus more on my run. The only negative thing about this waistpack is that it has a mesh backing to it which, while it makes it more breathable, it does not waterproof the contents. So, if it’s raining out or if you are the really sweaty type, you may want to experiment with different solutions in order to keep your cell phone dry (Hello Ziploc baggies!)
Manzella Sprint Glove Liners | $15 | Product Page
I already have a pair of runner’s gloves, which date back to college. However, the gloves that I have never quite fit the right way, and they always left my hands cold. I didn’t have to look for long before these gloves caught my attention. Not only did they keep my digits toasty during my run, but the gloves feature some sort of moisture-wicking technology that prevents your hands from getting too hot or from becoming sweaty. Also neat is the fact that the gloves have grips on the palms, and the actual glove is thin enough that I was able to keep them on while I used my touch-screen Android phone…a DEFINITE bonus for sure for those of us who hate having to take our gloves on and off to perform basic functions such as these.
CamelBak Better Bottle, 16 fl. oz. | $12 | Product Page
I used to have a Nalgene water bottle until I accidentally put it on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and melted the plastic cap. I later replaced this with a stainless steel water bottle but was disappointed because every time I wanted a drink of water, I would have to unscrew the top and then take a sip, which would always wind up spilling on me (because it is difficult to drink water while moving!).
I chose the CamelBak Better Bottle in the 16 oz. size (though I debated whether or not to get the larger one), and I love it. It is BPA free, dishwasher safe and is totally spill-proof. Not only this, but it comes in a variety of neat colors.
Well, that’s it for my latest running accessories binge. If you have a product that you’re absolutely nuts over and would like to recommend for runners, I’d love to hear about it :)