GoMotion Fusion Backpack Light Kit Review

An in-depth video review (with transcript) of the GoMotion Fusion Backpack Kit.

By on January 9, 2014 | Comments

More and more runners who hit the trails at night are wearing a light around their waists or torsos as a supplementary or even their sole light source. Most often folks have used a headlamp to get this done. However, for a few years now, GoMotion has been offering both backpacks with built in lighting systems as well as supplementary kits that attached to your preferred hydration pack. The GoMotion Fusion Backpack Light Kit ($60) is the company’s latest add-on light kit that throws up to 100 lumens to brighten your trail running experience.

GoMotion Fusion Backpack Light Kit Review Transcript

Hey and welcome to Trail Trials, a video review section of iRunFar.com. My name is Travis Liles, and in this video we’re going to take a look at the GoMotion Fusion Backpack [Light] kit. The Fusion Backpack [Light] Kit from GoMotion is not the first lighting system from GoMotion we’ve looked at here on iRunFar. In fact, back in October of 2010, we looked at the GoMotion Waist Pack Kit. That was worn on your waist. You could fit it on a waist pack or something along those lines.

[Editor’s Note: Waaaay back in 2008, Bryon Powell reviewed the GoMotion LiteVest and LiteBelt, too.]

This is meant to be worn on your chest or on your sternum for a backpack or a hydration pack or a race vest, which we’ll look at a little bit later. It’s made up of essentially three pieces: your main head unit which packs a 100-lumen bulb, your cord that carries around to your battery pack—this battery pack has a warning light on the back which can be turned on and off and uses three AA batteries—and then our last, remaining piece is the other side of your backpack strap or your left-hand side which you can adjust as needed. The point of this being to keep the light off your head, give yourself some availability to have that lower to the ground to help your perception, to see what’s in front of you a little bit better, and also not to blind those people when you’re going into aid stations with your headlamp. So with that said, let’s get up close and personal. Let’s take a look at the features and how all this stuff works. Then we’ll take a look at what it looks like to put it on a pack and see how that thing fits.

The main spot where we’re going to do all of our work and generate our light and those sorts of things are going to come from our lighting unit here. The lighting unit is made up of two buttons as well as a swivel for our flood. Our first button on my left-hand side is our power button. You can see when we turn that on, it also creates our light to flash here on our backup light. We can do a couple of things with that. We can turn that off if we’d like which is just by holding down the brightness. So we can move from high to medium to low, or we can hold that down and that’s going to turn on our backup, or emergency, or warning-type light. That can be worn on our back or anywhere else you want to place that unit. It has fairly simple controls here. It’s ‘high,’ ‘medium,’ and ‘low,’ and ‘on,’ and ‘off.’ Of course, since that’s on your chest, all of that’s directly in front of you.

We also have our way of having a flood light here and that’s directly on top. It’s really just a swivel with how that’s done. We can see our light here on the table and as we’re going to grow that out based on what we’re doing. So it’s a really nice and easy way of being able to do that. The good thing I like about this is because it’s a swivel, because you can feel those tabs on the top and the bottom, it makes it really easy to feel where it’s at. If you’re wearing running gloves it’s not something that you can’t grab a hold to, so it’s a very tactile feel. So whether you have bare hands or gloves on, you’re able to adjust relatively easy.
On our backpack unit here, this is encased in a little, Velcro case. This is where our batteries go in. We have a very simple door here on the back with a threaded bolt. Then you can see plastic here and we have three AA batteries inside of the case. With three AA batteries with this on high, it will go about eight hours; on our lowest setting, we get about 54 hours; with medium, we get roughly in between the two—a little closer to, I think, 16 hours or so rated for the medium light. Depending on what the lighting needs are, you obviously can get a fair amount of light out of this.

Over here on the other side, we also have a strap that’s going to hook up to our backpack. We can see that this side has a nub as well as this side over here. That’s going to allow for easy in and out. We have just a very simple hook goes on and allows us to connect that on. So of course when that’s on our backpack or our hydration pack or our race vest, we can easily get in and out of that without having to take the whole unit off or take the Velcro off.

What we’re going to do now is get a hydration pack or a race pack up here and we’re going to see what it really looks like to get all this stuff put on there and get an idea of what that wear is going to be. The reason I picked this race pack was because these straps are really thin and mesh-y. They don’t have a lot of strength to them, and I found it to work really well. But it’s just good to know—this was the least sturdy of anything that I have, so I wanted to try it on this to make sure that it was going to work well. It’s obviously going to strap on really well. These are fairly sturdy straps. You can see there’s some kind of nylon sewn in here for reinforcement, and it just feels like a nice piece of material here as well as some really strong hook-and-loop enclosures. Let’s take a look at how we would do this.

The first thing we’ll do is find where we want to put it, and then we’re going to be able to fold that over the top. We’ve got some reflective hits on there. We’re going to move over to our other side, and we’ll want to do the same thing. So we’ll open this up, feed it underneath, then place our straps there. Now we’re kind of set up. You’re going to want to do something with this. One of the downsides of having this external battery pack is figuring out where you want to put it. Luckily a lot of vests and packs now have a lot of extra pockets that maybe we’re not using; so we’re going to throw that in one of these front pockets if we wanted to. It’s going to fit in there relatively well. That, of course, is going to put your safety or warning light on the front. So if you’re running in traffic, this may not be the idea to do it. But you can very easily run it over the top, here and throw it in the back which has tended to be what I did when I was using this thing for testing.

So now what we have is our strap; we have it all put together. To get in and out of it is really simple. We have that light right in front of us. We can take this strap and tuck it down somewhere if we need to, but we’re really set up. Now this is sitting right in front of us. It’s ready to go. We have our power light, our increase/decrease in light, as well as turning on and off our back battery warning light. Then we have our flood light that is simply in here. So it’s a really simple and easy way to be able to have all that lighting and stuff right there available. It gives you a lower view on the ground instead of having it be up on your head.

The Fusion Backpack [Light] Kit from GoMotion is a really versatile piece that I like using. With the days getting shorter (at the time of testing), this allows me to throw on this vest, carry a couple of gels with me, have some reflective hits on the vest as well as have a light without having to mess around with a headlamp or anything like that. It puts out definitely enough light at 100 lumens that it’s going to light up most of the way for you. I also found it nice to be able to wear in conjunction with a headlamp. So if you’re somebody that likes to carry handhelds (lights), this could be an option to maybe replace that. I personally never have really done well having a handheld (light) as I kind of fly them all over the place. This allows for a more steady beam of light and I have my hands freed up. I can turn my headlamp off when I go into an aid station or when I don’t need that on, and I still have this available to me. The upgraded options of the 100-lumen bulb as well as the ability to turn on/off the flashing light on the battery pack when you’re in an area where you might need the flashing light—I found these to be really nice upgrades. So if you’re interested, obviously, go to the GoMotion website and check these out.

Any questions or comments? Leave those below this post. Thanks for watching. We’ll catch you next time.

Travis Liles

Travis Liles is a gear reviewer at iRunFar. He’s been reviewing trail running and ultrarunning gear (and occasionally penning an article) for over 15 years. He is married to his Junior High sweetheart, has two amazing daughters, and works as a solution architect for a large software company. Originally from the Midwest but now based in Portland, Oregon, Travis is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner. Over the past 18 years, he has competed in many ultra-distance races and has completed 15 100-mile races, including Ozark Trail, Leadville, Big Horn, and HURT 100. He is a recovering RD and enjoys pacing friends, trail work, and volunteering at local events.