By Su Reid-St. John
Let me sing the praises of the Black Crater Cord Lock Light. This little gadget attaches via spring lock to your jacket's drawstring cord or zipper tab, and casts a surprisingly strong beam to light you through a pre-dawn or evening workout.
As the parent of a toddler, I have to squeeze in workout time when I can—which usually means getting up at 5:15 a.m. so I can do it while she's still asleep. I usually love being outside in the quiet morning (once I muster the will to pull myself out of bed), but hey, it's dark, and I like to be visible to the other people up and out at this crazy hour. I have to admit, though, I'm not a big fan of reflective vests or waist belts; I like to stay as unencumbered as possible.
Enter the Cord Lock.
I clipped this tiny, battery-operated light onto the zipper tab of my workout top and headed out for a pre-dawn Nordic walk. The Cord Lock has three light settings: bright, really bright, and flashing. Both of the steady lights lit up a couple of feet ahead on the ground—just enough to help me avoid twisting my ankle on sticks and pavement glitches. I noticed as I approached one stop sign that I could see the reflection of the light on the sign, even though I was still about 20 feet away—pretty powerful. As the sky began to lighten and I could see more of the road in front of me (and more cars started to appear), I switched the light over to the flash setting to be seen more easily by oncoming motorists. What could be simpler?
There are two minor drawbacks to this handy little guy: You can't direct the beam, and while you don't technically need a cord or zipper pull, it can be a little difficult to clip onto your clothing if you don't have one. (With patience, you can feed in a tiny bit of fabric; that's enough to hold it.)
Oh, and did I mention the Cord Lock is small? So small that I could easily see myself losing track of it between workouts. But hey, for a mere ten bucks, it's worth the risk.
Product: Black Crater Cord Lock Light
Pros: Small, with a surprisingly strong beam that offers three settings. No bulky vests or belts to deal with.
Cons: You can't direct the beam, and it's hard to clip onto your clothes if you don't have a cord or zipper.
Price: $10 at BlackCraterGear.com
Extra tip: Also great for hiking and camping, as it takes up next to no space and can be clipped onto any drawstring or cord (think sleeping bags, backpacks, etc.).