Reflective Clothing


Experience From - Elisabeth Archambault , Roy Morita, John Mahon , Rich Schick, Tracey Grzegorczyk , Andrea F. , Ron Zacharski , Rich Schick ,

Elisabeth Archambault

Here's an inexpensive suggestion to improve safety if you sometimes run in low- light conditions: If your favorite running clothes don't already have reflective features, you can apply your own reflective tape, and make yourself significantly more visible.

Many fabric stores carry iron-on or stitch-on versions. I have seen it in widths ranging from one-half inch to two inches, in both grey (reflects bright silver) and red-orange (reflects bright orange). The tape can likely be found somewhere near the laces and ribbons. The price is in the range of two to five dollars a yard, depending on width.

The iron-on version is easier to apply to an existing garment. Be careful not to use too much heat or you might damage the garment fabric. (Test in a hidden place.) The tape could be applied as a simple stripe or rectangle, or you could resurrect your kindergarten cutting skills and create designs like flower petals or geometric patterns. If the garment is patterned the pieces of tape could shaped and placed to blend into the existing pattern.

In a vehicle's headlights even small bits of reflective tape are visible for hundreds of feet further than most clothing would be. This can only be A Good Thing. It also makes you more visible without affecting your own night vision, the way carrying a light might.

I have no $$$ interest here. I just like to sew, and I've read one too many articles about someone being hit by a car at night because the driver "just didn't see him."

Roy Morita

A couple of years ago, a neighbor gave me a reflector belt. She saw me running on a dark street one night, got worried and gave it to me. She said her husband wore it on a ship when he was in the navy. It's just a nylon belt covered with reflectors. I looked for the same thing in stores but have not been able to find any so far.

I also wear a little, round blinker I bought in a hardware store for around $3 or so. It works very well.

With a reflector, blinker and a bright flash light, I think any driver can see me but I still had a few close calls. Maybe I've become an easy target to for the drivers to take aim.

Be careful out there.

John Mahon

You can also get reflective tape in the automotive section of stores like WalMart and Menard's. I've done that and put it on my bike, as well as on running shorts. They sell it to put on the rear bumpers of trucks and trailers. I also got the sewing type stuff in 1/2 in grey and had it sewed on some of my running apparel.

Recently someone in our running club gave my a Bud Light giveaway which is a bottle cap with electronics inside of it that when you fasten it to your clothing, there is a small blinking red light in the center of the bottle cap. Use it for some early mornings when running with friends and they said they could see it for quite a distance as we got spread out on the course.

Also got a bunch of free stuff in a bike race and one of the things was a Vistalight. I have taken that on long runs when dark and snowing. The series of blinking red lights on it really carries and it isn't very heavy - easy to figure out how to hook it to a water bottle belt, etc.

Rich Schick

The best I've found is the SOLAS standard tape which is available through REI. Comes in three foot sections of three inch tape. It is adhesive backed (designed primarily for boats I believe) but con be sewn in place on fabrics. The adhesive is nifty because it holds it in place while you hand sew it on heavy items like packs etc.

Tracey Grzegorczyk

I've purchased sticky-back reflective tape from the bike section of the local Alpine Shop, and applied it to one of my polar fleece jackets. It's lasted through several washings with no deterioration in reflectiveness or in it's adherence to the fabric. Don't know the name brand, but I like it better than having to sew it on.

My fluorescent light is part of a combo regular-beam + fluorescent wide-beam oblong light. It's not as awkward to carry as I imagined, and being able to switch back and forth between regular and fluorescent lighting is nice. Can't tell if the battery use is any different than a normal solid-beam light. However, I've found that the fluorescent light doesn't "throw" very far... it's not useful if I'm moving at any decent sort of speed. Some depth perception is lost with fluorescent also. For fast walking, slow running, or late-in-the-race combo of both, fluorescent is very easy on the eyes.

Andrea F.

In a post I read, a small blinking bottle cap was mentioned, which sounds nice and small.

Here's a wonderful little product I have (I don't work for Specialized): the Specialized Hot Dot. It sells in cycling departments and the like for $10 and it is a tiny, 2 LED blinker/reflector about 1.5" in diameter. It comes with a clip for attaching to clothing, and a strap that fits around my arm.

Haven't changed the battery yet.

Ron Zacharski

Andrea wrote:

"Here's a wonderful little product I have (I don't work for Specialized): the Specialized Hot Dot. It sells in cycling departments and the like for $10 and it is a tiny, 2 LED blinker/reflector about 1.5" in diameter.
" The Galyons chain of sporting goods stores (I was in the one in Tysons' Corner Virginia) sells a similar product for $2.00. It's called the safety flasher ("night visibility up to 1/2 mile"). It's about 1.5" and has a clip but no strap. It works quite well.

They also sell various Jogalite reflective velcro bands. I got two reflective arm bands: one for me and one for my dog.

Rich Schick

In my opinion there is no contest on this one. Get a vest made of ILLUMINITE material. INSPORT makes a good one and NASHBAR bicycles, a mail order outfit also has one a bit cheaper. This is a material with millions of tiny reflective dishes woven into the material - looks like a normal nylon vest during the day, but lights up a pure white at night when hit by any light source and this means the entire garment. Long sleeve jackets and pants are also available. It is fairly pricey but worth it, traffic slows down, some drivers have stopped to ask wherer I got it, and the local police even spotlighted me a couple times trying to figure it out!!