New outdoor and running products are always hitting the market, but it’s rare when I learn of a new product and think “why didn’t I think of that!” Such was the case when a friend emailed me about the new GoMotion packs, as he’d had the very same thought. I wonder if a similar email is what led Jonathan Craig and Bob Hunnewell to found GoMotion, Inc. and create running packs with integrated lighting systems.
Anyway, anyone who’s been at an ultra aid station in the hours leading up to darkness over the past few years has probably seen at least one person struggling to get a head lamp up over their hips or down over their shoulder so the runner could wear the headlamp on their waist or torso. While I’ve never tried this personally, folks have explained that wearing the light lower than your head provides more shadow on the ground and, therefore, better definition of rocks and roots. I can confirm this increased ground perception with a lower light, as when I run the trails at night I usually care a hand held flashlight in addition to wearing a head lamp for that very purpose. GoMotion packs should provide this advantage while freeing a hand that would otherwise be carrying a flashlight.
Right now GoMotion has announced four primary products:
- The Street Runner LiteVest Pack – 1 Watt LED with small pack
- The Trail Runner LiteVest Pack – 3 Watt LED with a larger pack
- The Sport Runner LiteBelt – 1 Watt LED with 2 small pockets
- The Sternum 3-Watt LED kit – a chest mounted 3-Watt retrofit for other over the shoulder packs
Some common features of the GoMotion packs include:
- 3-level intensity and adjustable beam angle on all products
- Flood to spotlight beam control on all products
- Low battery signals on all products
- Two flashing LED tail lights on the LiteVests and LiteBelt
- All but the LiteBelt accept the GoMotion rechargeable battery
- Reflective trim on all but the sternum kit
One of the coolest features is that the LiteVests have “rails” on the shoulder straps that allow the user to adjust the height of the light on the torso.
On the other hand, from what I can gather only the Trail Runner LiteVest is designed to carry fluid and it’s designed to carry a paltry 1 liter at that.
One thing that I cannot readily determine is whether and to what degree the light portion of the LiteVest and LiteBelt will be transferable to and usable on another pack. Trail gear takes a beating and it would be nice to know that if I rip a GoMotion pack I could make further use of the LED component. It should be easy enough to make use of the pack if the LED is smashed or otherwise made nonfunctional through user error/stupidity/calamity; however, will replacement components or repair service be available for the LiteBelt and LiteVest? I have no problem disposing of trail gear when it eventually breaks or wears out. What concerns me here is the possibility that I’d have to get rid of two systems when one still worked perfectly well.
Overall, I really like the idea of integrating a torso/waist-mounted LED into a pack systems with all packs, be they over the shoulder or waist pack. With my own usage, this would free up a hand while providing me with plenty of light. As with any pack, the biggest concern is fit and that can’t be determined until folks start running in them. GoMotion’s press releases from last summer indicated that it was launching its new products at last summer’s Outdoor Retailer show. However, the company website currently states that “online ordering [is] coming soon” for all its products, so maybe these products have not yet been commercially released.
That would explain why, despite my best efforts… ok, reasonable efforts, I was unable to find a single print review of any of GoMotion’s products. If anyone has used a GoMotion pack or knows someone who has, please share what you’ve learned. We’d all be grateful for the information.