The Noxgear Tracer360 is a lighted running vest for runners and walkers. As you will learn from this review, the Tracer360 exceeds the standard when ensuring runner safety in low light conditions. Pair it up with a pair of Knuckle Lights or running headlamp and you will have everything you need to run safely at night.
The Tracer360 is super light. The vest is comfortable and the LED lights are embedded directly in the vest and straps and are designed to make you highly visible from any angle or direction.
I use mine all the time. I purchased my vest from Amazon back in October of 2018, and it is still operating as if it was brand new. Because I use it so much and since it works, it has become of my favorite running gear items.
If you don't have time to read the whole review, here is the executive summary:
If you want to remain safe and highly visible in the dark, the Noxgear Tracer360 is well worth the money. And it isn't just my opinion, head over and ask our Facebook Group. The Tracer360 is a group favorite. By the way, the Facebook group is free to join!
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The Tracer360 is ideal for early morning or evening runs
In Ohio where I live, if you want to run outside between October and late March before or after work, you will need to wear reflective clothing and headlamps in order to be seen.
Because Noxgear is affordable, easy to take on and off, and is recommended by so many runners, I feel it is the best piece of gear out there for night-time running.
This video shows you what it looks like.
The importance of high visibility when running
So before I jump into the Tracer360 review, here is a crazy statistic.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average over two years, nearly one million runners, walkers, and cyclists are hit by motorists. In a 2010 report, 69% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night with the most dangerous hours between 6 p.m and 9 p.m.
One of the things that I like about Noxgear is that their LED lighted vest goes above and beyond just general reflectivity. Reflectivity works great, but only if direct lighting is shining on you. If you are crossing an intersection and a car is turning, the driver may not see you until they have already turned and the lights hit the reflective elements on your clothes. With Noxgear, you can be seen from any angle or direction.
The other thing I did not realize is that there is a visual science behind Noxgear that identifies what color lights make you the most visible in different conditions. For example, depending on whether or not a driver's eyes are adjusted to the dark, not adjusted to the dark, or viewing you from their peripheral vision fields, different color lights have an increasing or decreasing impact on what see. More information can be found on Noxgear's website, in their article titled, Visual Science that Runners and Cyclists Should Know About. The science is fascinating and I had no idea how our eyes react to certain colors.
Noxgear Tracer 360 Features
360 Degree Illumination
So the biggest feature in my mind is the 360 Degree Illumination. With reflective clothing, you may only be visible from certain angles. With this vest, you will look like a Christmas tree running down the street. I kid you not, I was running one night just before Christmas and the neighbor kid rolls down the window and started singing 'O Christmas Tree'. There is no way someone is not going to see you with this vest on.
Multicolor and flashing modes
So in addition to being seen everywhere, this vest can be operated in the multi-color mode as well as flashing. It works very well, my only advice is to turn the flashing off if you are running with a group of people as it can get annoying and bother your eyes. With several people lit up, I don't think the flashing is as important because each runner's movement will create enough motion to be seen.
There are several things I like about the Tracer360 in regards to battery life. First, the vest does not dim as the battery fades. The Tracer360 notifies you when the batteries need to be changed and the vest will flash a light pattern before it goes dark.
Battery life is approximately 40 hours according to Noxgear's specifications. That sounds about right. I don't run every day but I have run at least 40-50 times before the batteries needed replaced.
The Tracer360 uses 3 AAA batteries which are cheap to replace and are readily available.
One of the concerns I had, was how the vest would perform in cold weather. In my experience, cell phones and GPS watches sometimes froze in cold weather. Would it happen with this vest?
The Noxgear Tracer360 (I guess) pulls such a small amount of battery current to light the vest that the batteries were still able to power it in cold weather. Also, the batteries are protected inside a plastic case which I assume helps.
Having said that, I did not have any cold weather night time runs longer than an hour, but I was fine when I was out.
Another thing I like about Tracer 360 is its lightweight design.
The Tracer running vest weighs around 7 ounces and is designed to fit over your running gear.
I purchased a large and I was able to adjust.
While the design is lightweight, I did find the fit awkward at first. If you adjust it too loose the parts that go over the shoulder can slip off when running. If too tight, the reflective chest/abdominal strap wants to ride up a bit. This made it awkward for the first few runs until I got it adjusted just right.
One tip is to put it on and have someone adjust the vest for you. It adjusts using these beaded-stoppers (not sure what they are called) that you press down on to loosen the adjustment point and then release when you want the adjustment to hold in place. The whole process takes about 30 seconds.
One of the most common questions asked about the Noxgear Tracer360 is, "Is it waterproof?"
Yes, the vest is completely waterproof.
I have run in heavy to moderate rain without any issues.
Overall, I am pleased with my vest. The design and functionality have been able to hold up to whatever I throw at it. It is the only lighted running vest I recommend.
Noxgear is not super expensive. You may be tempted to final a cheaper alternative out there. But, I strongly discourage you from doing so.
Whenever you have something that works well, others want to copy it. Because of that, there are many Noxgear alternatives and fakes out there. If you decide to by some Noxgear, make sure it is from the official brand. While the cheap knockoffs look tempting, they most likely will not last. I bought an off-brand once and it was absolute garbage. I did not expect it to last long since it was about half the price, but I certainly did not expect it to go out on me, mid-run after about 3 weeks.
Half the LEDs stopped flashing. It lasted long enough for me to get home (with half the lights) but no matter what I tried, I could not get the full vest to work again, so I returned it.
Stick with Noxgear and you won't regret it. And if something does happen, they are based here in the U.S. (Ohio actually) and you can get support from them should you need it.