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Monday, 28 July 2014

Ay-Up Run Specific Kit Lighting System Review

"Dude move over there's a car coming". This is what I heard as I approached a group of runners as I ran along the trail towards them.

Photo credit: Carole Pipolo


All jokes aside though, my new Ay-Up Run Specific Kit quite possibly has a brighter light beam than that of my 2003 Hyundai. 

When I received a neat wee package in the mail I was pretty excited to finally have my own set of Ay-Ups to try out and use. Several of my mates own them and all rave about how fantastic they are, so after having a bit of a play around with theirs I couldn't wait to have my own set.

I thought it would be of use to go over some different components of the Ay-Up and explain in more detail how they work. 

Putting it together:
When I first attached the battery pack to the head strap and connected the cable to the lights I was surprised at how simple it was. This gave me confidence leading into the Lavaredo Ultra Trail where I wasn't sure if I would have to swap the battery over during the night. I had no issues with having to do this in the dark as it really couldn't be any easier. No mucking around with AA or AAA batteries for this trail runner!

The fit: 
I'll be honest, when I first looked at and then put on the Ay-Up, I noticed that it looked a touch bulkier than my current head lamp. I knew this before I received it though as I was able to compare specifications from the relevant websites. 

Then I put it on and WOW! Despite being ever so slightly heavier and bulkier the Ay-Up Run Specific Kit fits like a glove. It feels like the design team have really nailed the "harness" that the lights and battery pack are part of. The back part of the harness has been cleverly designed as it feels like it really balances the weight of the battery pack well while also providing a really secure attachment. I have used the Ay-Up for over a month now and have found there is absolutely no bounce when fitted correctly. This is something I was weary of on technical terrain especially. I was pleasantly surprised. 

There are adjustment straps on either side of the harness and also one on the top too. These provide great personalisation as far as fit goes and I have also found this very useful when running in cooler temperatures or varying temperatures where I might have a buff/beanie on and then need to take it off. Within a few seconds I am able to adjust the head straps to have yet again another great fit.

The light system:
This is the make or break part of any head torch for obvious reasons.

It doesn't matter how comfortable, how cheap or how great a set of lights look if they don't perform in the field.

This is where Ay-Ups really shine!! (pun 100% intended) I'm not really a technically savvy kind of guy, I prefer to leave that side of things to the experts who write about lumens and power output etc etc.

I'll give my own basic run-down of how the lights performed in my experience. I'm guessing that this is what people are wanting to know about in relation to trail running at night. 

Firstly, there are three light beam settings to choose from. Low, medium and high. Seems pretty basic huh? That's because it is. In my opinion, Ay-Up are able to use a relatively no-frills approach with regards to their run specific lighting system. Because there are two light sources with these units there isn't much need to complicate things with diffusers etc. 

Secondly, and most importantly, the ability of the Ay-Ups being able to point one light beam at your feet and one slightly further in the distance is an absolute master stroke. Running fast on technical trails during the day time is hard enough as it is, so now that I'm able to attack the trails at night with the same intensity I couldn't be happier! 

I will explain the benefits and how I go about using the different settings during a night time trail run:


  • Basically when the trail isn't demanding too much attention because of the terrain I will generally have the light on the lowest setting. Main reason being saving light power.
  • When the trail is quite technical I will often opt for the medium or high setting. If there are big rocks/boulders around I will go with the medium setting as if on high sometimes the bright light beam can cause unwanted shadows on the trail from the bigger objects. 
  • I also take into account factors such as fog/mist or whether I'm running behind someone else. If I'm behind someone the Ay-Up on medium or high will cast a pretty big shadow and often drown out your mates light!
The fact that majority of the time you are able to use the low or medium settings is a huge bonus when it comes to the battery life. It means being able to run for longer without having to change batteries. And we all know how much fun it is running for really long amounts of time!

You can find more info here: www.ayup-lights.com

Hopefully that gives a basic insight into the Ay-Ups and how they perform on the trails. 

Any questions please feel free to leave a comment. 

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