Lights and reflective material are a problem at virtually EVERY winter ultra.
Not every participant will have trouble with this, but someone struggles with at least one of these items at every edition of nearly every race. So here’s an quick guide to what works and what doesn’t.
Acceptable lights need to be visible in blowing snow from quite a long way away. In some races and on some trails, you’re guaranteed to encounter snowmobiles traveling at speeds in excess of 50mph.
If they cannot see you, they cannot avoid you.
Some of the wide variety of lights we (or our ultra friends) recommend include:
Remember that you need THREE of these, in addition to backup batteries.
A common saying is that the best place to keep spare batteries is in a spare light, because batteries can be tough to replace in the dark when your hands are cold. Extra lights are NOT a requirement, however. Please use your best judgement based on your own winter dexterity!
You can choose a wide variety of options, as far as reflective material goes. It needs to be on (or over) your outermost layer, and at least 10 square inches must be on your front and and 10 square inches on your back.
This means on your body, not on your gear.
Any high-viz vest will work extremely well for this, including those used for construction zones. If you’d like something a little simpler, our recommendation is RM Gear Reflective Vest.
Do not arrive to gear check with a roll of reflective tape and think it will stick. It will not. The texture of outwear is very particular, and you’ll need a special tape for this.
If this idea appeals to you, you’ll need something like Tenacious Tape.
As with all your other gear, test your reflective strategy in the cold before you show up at the start.