When you are a running dad or mom, you understand the challenges of finding time to run. Days, you are stuck at work. Evenings are usually taken over by soccer, swimming, basketball, or baseball practices for the kid(s). That leaves late at night or early in the mornings to shoehorn your runs in. Time, daylight, and sanity are at a premium. Running can help get that third one back, to a degree.

Running in the dark has its challenges. First off is visibility. You can’t see, and pedestrians and motorists can’t see you. There are many sources of illumination you can choose from. Flashlights, headlamps, hats with lights; all of these share the purpose of lighting your path. I have used both a headlamp and a running hat with LED lights mounted on the bill. The headlamp is more powerful than the hat, so I sometimes wear the hat and attach the headlamp to my Spibelt. That way, the path in front of me is illuminated by the lamp at my waist, and my hat helps me look left or right to avoid lions or zombies lurking in the dark. Most of the time I just wear the headlamp since it provides the brightest output.

I also have a reflector vest that provides 360° of reflectivity. I chose a lightweight, breathable vest that is adjustable so I can wear it in the summer or winter.

An invaluable tool for running in the dark is a to take a buddy. Not that my buddies are “tools” (most of the time), but having someone with you in the wee hours of the morning or night is a good idea in case something goes wrong. Like running into lions or zombies. Or bobcats. I swear we saw a bobcat one morning. And I know it saw me since I every inch of my body is was reflecting or emitting light.

Below are some of the products I have tested. More are in the reviews that follow.

1. Under Armour Hat - 2. Head Lamp - 3. Blinker - 4. Vest

1. Under Armour Ultrathon Run Cap – 2. Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp – 3. Amphipod Full-Viz LED Band – 4. Amphipod LuminousLite Reflective Vest