Raidlight LED Running Vest
I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks back about the merging of technical kit with fashion and we quickly moved on to discuss the combining of 'real' technology such as AI, nano-computer chips, and LED lighting. Lo and behold a few days later this turns up on my review list. It's a very lightweight luminous running vest with a strip of LEDs built into it that illuminates you from the front and back. It's not designed to replace a head torch as the lights aren't bright enough to actually see by. It's all about being seen. The vest itself is fairly minimal, and made of a thin luminous yellow-green Pertex. In the front is a small zipped pocket large enough for a mobile phone. In this pocket is a small removable battery back which accepts a single coin sized battery. Connect this up to the cable that pokes out the inside of the pocket and press the push-button on the front of the battery pack, and the white bead that looks like a piece of string, that loops over one shoulder, down the back, returning over the other shoulder and back to the chest pocket, and the array of LEDs lights up. Push it again and it flashes quickly, again and it flashes slowly. I've worn it running and cycling and have been thoroughly impressed. There is no distraction from the lights, they sit there doing their job, and I have barely noticed wearing the thing. A friend passed me in a car and said that I was visible from a long way off, the LEDs complementing my rear bike light. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity for a additional features there's on the back of the vest there's an elasticated cord to allow you to stow an item of clothing or two, and there are two mesh pockets on the minimal waist belt, big enough for gels. The whole thing sits snugly thanks to the adjustable waist belt which actually fastens on either side around your kidney. It's adjustable enough that my 5 year old son can wear . There's also a rubberised opening for a headphone cable in the top of the front chest pocket. It came with a spare battery pack in case one gets damaged. Although the battery pack is clearly not waterproof some effort has been made to make it at least resistant to moisture - the battery compartment slides out and is a very snug fit, and the thing sits inside a zipped pocket. So far there have been no issues due to wetness. Retails at £40 which is a bargain for a 1st generation bit of kit that could quite conceivably save your life. My prediction is that we'll see a lot more of this sort of mix of technology with kit, and I;m excited by it.