A solution for athletes that hike or run at night, and get thirsty while doing so, the new GoMotion Synergy Hydration LightVest offers a unique blend of LED lighting and storage. The chest-mounted light is designed to provide a more comfortable beam than the headlamp, while the greater pack offers space for water and more.
Formed in 2006, GoMotion is best known for sliding lighting off the head, down onto the torso. It claims that by strapping the light to your chest or waist, rather than your head, you eliminate the discomfort of a headlamp, which involves moving your head and neck more. GoMotion lights strap stably to your body and illuminate the ground ahead without requiring or encouraging any type of head movement. Instead, you can pivot the light up and down to change the beam direction. The company also claims that its lights offer better depth perception, better peripheral vision, increased visibility in precipitation, and less visual interference with oncoming persons, when compared to headlamps.
One of its latest products, the new Synergy Hydration Lightvest, is a sleeker version of an older LED hydration pack. It includes a sleeve designed specifically to accommodate a 1-liter hydration reservoir (sold separately). A shockcord attachment lets users strap in other things, such as windbreakers.
Like other GoMotion products, the Lightvest uses a 100-lumen Cree LED with three adjustable brightness levels for between 8 and 54 hours of light. The LED pivots up and down in its plastic casing, and a slider system on the shoulder straps lets you easily pull the light higher or lower on your body. A beam adjustment changes the beam from spot to flood. The battery pack, which stores in its own pocket, includes red flashing tail lights to promote visibility from behind. The tail lights can be powered off when not needed.
I had the opportunity to try out one of GoMotion's earlier products. The Sternum LIght Kit (now redesigned and called the Fusion Backpack Light) was a basic kit designed to retrofit an existing hydration pack with a chest light. I liked the headlamp alternative when hiking and camping, finding that it did a good job at effectively lighting the trail with little adjustment necessary. On the downside, I typically didn't need to carry water or much of anything for my average night activities, which included walking the dogs after dark and puttering around the campsite, so I found the pack aspect bulky and unnecessary compared to a headlamp. I would prefer a slimmer vest or strap without the pack.
Just because I don't need it, however, doesn't mean others don't. When it launched its first product line in 2007, GoMotion estimated that the average worker enjoys only 20 minutes of daylight after work and 30 percent of hikers, runners and walkers head out in some type of low-light conditions. Some of those folks are bound to work up a thirst, so having a hydration-LED combo could certainly prove useful.
The 15-ounce (425-g) Synergy Hydration Lightvest will retail for US$79.95. GoMotion says that it will be added to the 2013 product line, so it should launch soon.