I have been intrigued with this brand for some time now. I have seen many ads on social media and a fair few people out and about in the gear. You can’t help but notice just how bright they are, and I mean, they are incredibly bright.
Our friends at Proviz very kindly supplied me with two items from their Reflect 360 running range to test and review. The Men’s Running Jacket and the 360 Running Backpack. I will come to the backpack later on in this review, but first, let’s take a look at the jacket.
Retail price is £89.99.
I was in my kitchen when I opened my parcel. It was immediately clear how reflective the jacket was as my ceiling spotlights were on and it instantly began to glow.
As you can see, the jacket is a silvery grey, but what you might not be able to pick up on from the website and the adverts is the crystallised sparkle that it has. The Proviz 360 range contains millions of tiny reflective glass beads in their material. This reflects light back from light sources, enabling you to be seen from quite some distance away.
The Proviz range use Retro-reflection. Retro-reflection reflects light back to the light source so, for example, if a car is approaching, the light will be reflected back to a driver from their headlights. The same goes for other forms of light, bike lights, street lights etc. The full reflectivity is seen when your eyes are facing in the same direction to the source of light. So, if you are running in the dark and there are no sources of light, then the jacket will appear in its normal grey/silver form.
The jackets reflective material is CE EN 20471 certified. What does this mean I hear you say? Well, this is the international standard for the safety requirements of hi vis workwear. In short, Proviz have ensured that these products have met the international requirements for safety at night.
The jacket is very lightweight and a large portion of the back is a breathable mesh, so that you do not overheat. The underarm is the same. Obviously, this makes the jacket non water resistant (though I believe the several of the cycling jackets are fully water resistant – The Reflect360, Reflect360 Plus, CRS and CRS Plus). There are two large reflective strips on the lower back and the shoulder panel is also rich in reflective material.
The lining is a soft touch moisture wicking polyester mesh, which is perfect for keeping the sweat away from your skin.
The jacket also comes with two side zip pockets, which are a perfect size for a pair of gloves or a hat, should you wish to remove them during a run. There is also a lock zip on the front, which stops the zip from coming down through natural movement when running.
The waist and cuffs are elasticated for a nice fit, without being too tight.
Delivery day happened to be a club run night, so I donned the jacket for its first test run. It was also a very wet evening that night.
On my run, I couldn’t help but notice just how bright it was. A brief look down every now and again and my torso was lit up like a bright white beacon. At this point, I think it is worth me mentioning that I was wearing a head torch, hence why I could see the light reflecting.
The breathable mesh on the back really helped keep my temperature down. I tend to feel the heat when running, so I cannot layer up all that much, so this feature is very much welcomed by me. Those that tend to feel the cold may want to bear this in mind before heading out in the winter.
As we discussed in our guide to surviving the winter chill, you should aim to dress for temperatures 10 degrees warmer than what they are outdoors to allow for the heat that you will generate during a run.
The front of the jacket held up well in the rain. You can visibly see the water beading on the reflective material.
Fast forward several weeks and I have now used this jacket multiple times. It has replaced any jacket or top that I had previously been wearing. I feel much safer wearing it, as I know that there is no way any motor vehicle cannot see you. I have had multiple comments on how bright the jacket is.
The area in which I run in has a lot of uneven footpaths, so it is not uncommon to find myself running in the road for a more even surface. I felt a lot safer wearing something this visible. I must add that I do also wear a head torch with front and rear lights.
Doing a review of this nature would not be complete without comparing this reflect 360 technology with an off the shelf alternative.
See the pictures below to get an idea on just how different these two items are.
I have used a luminous yellow Adidas running gilet that I used to use in the winter months to help me be seen. You can see the huge amount of difference there is in the two tops.
I love this jacket. I have seen lots of reflective tops over the years, but this jacket is on another level. It is so bright, when light hits the jacket, it can be seen from an incredible distance. The photos do not do it justice. If you are a regular night time runner, this should definitely be on your must have list. The jacket gets a huge thumbs up from me!
Proviz also supplied me with the ‘Proviz Reflect 360 Running backpack’. This is a 10L pack which has already had a range of great reviews, so again, this was another item that I was looking forward to testing.
Proviz have developed this pack with runners in mind. It is an evolved version of their Reflect 360 Backpack which is mainly used by cyclists. Proviz have slimmed the pack I tested down, so that it would be more suitable for runners.
As with the jacket, the pack is CE EN 20471 certified.
The pack I tested retails for £44.99.
It is quite lightweight at 410 grams.
The pack has adjustable shoulder and large waist straps.
The pack comes with a large Proviz reflective panel on the rear and three horizontal strips on each shoulder straps. The waist straps also have two vertical reflective strips.
The waist straps have two pockets, one on either side, which are large enough for small phones, keys, gels, bank cards etc.
Next to these pockets are two water bottle holders, which sit next to your torso and hold your average sized bottles.
The shoulder straps have a nice oversized padded area which sits on the shoulders themselves for added comfort. These are very much welcomed for longer runs. The straps are also the same breathable mesh as the jacket I tested, which works well for ventilation. The rear of the pack is also made up of this material.
There are two zipped pockets on the pack itself, one on the front, which sits behind the reflective pannel, and the main compartment which zips across the top. Both of the zips on the compartments have Proviz’s ‘AquaGuard’ zips, which have double slides and cord pulls.
The front pocket isn’t too big, but it is big enough for a few small items, gels, a hat and some gloves for example. This pocket zips vertically.
The main compartment is advertised to be 10L. It is enough to carry a change of clothes in. You wouldn’t fit too much else in there though, but this is a pack for running, not an everyday pack.
As with most backpacks, there is a division in the main compartment to seperate items.
The feature I like the most is that it is hydration pack compatible. I am currently training for the London Marathon 2020. I usually find that any run over a half marathon distance, I will require hydration while I am out. I often run in the evening, so I will be much safer using this pack than my existing hydration pack.
I first wore the pack around the house to see how it felt. I only had a change of clothes in it at this point. Once I had adjusted the straps to my fit, which was very easy, I couldn’t help but notice how nice the fit was. My current pack feels bulky and I can never seem to get a snug fit with my hydration pack.
The waist strap sits nicely over the stomach and the two pockets on this strap are easily accessible. There is a little area just behind the pockets to tuck in the excess strap so that it isn’t flapping about when you’re running. It felt nice and secure.
Prior to this review, I used a 2L Camelbak bladder and a cheap pack I picked up off of Amazon a few years back. For the review, I used my existing bladder which I have filled up and placed it in the elasticated section of the main compartment. There is still plenty of room in there to fit some clothes in there in case I needed an extra layer, but I wouldn’t want to put too much in around the bladder itself. There is always the front compartment to use should you wish to carry anything else.
On another test, I set off on a half marathon distance at night. The entire journey the pack felt secure and comfortable. My existing hydration pack isn’t great and feels a little uncomfortable on the longer runs in comparison to this. The padding on the back and the straps resulted in a nice and comfortable run
The bladder tube feeds from inside the main compartment through the left or right strap and then tucks behind the reflective strips on the straps. The tube then just tucks underneath the strap. I didn’t have an issue with this at all.
I needed to tighten the strap a little whilst I was running and this was as easy as you would hope for it to be. A gentle pull on the strap and it was nicely adjusted.
I had an iPhone 7 in one of the front pockets and my car keys in the other pocket. Both were more than secure for the entire run.
The hydration pack itself was securely held within the elasticated section of the main compartment. I didn’t feel it move for the entire 13 miles.
On another test I ran a 17 miles, which I would not have gotten through had it not been for the pack. I packed snacks, a second layer (it was a cold morning), gloves, gels and of course, water. The pack again held out brilliantly. It was comfortable, secure and had it not been for the sloshing water, I would have barely even noticed it was there.
As with the jacket, I have used two existing packs that I had already. One is a cheap hydration pack from Amazon (not pictured), which fits my Camelbak bladder and not a lot else, the other is my everyday pack (Karimor) that I use for work/gym. This has a large section of reflective material.
I am not directly comparing these packs as they are very different in their purpose, I am merely using them as an example of how visible they are at night. Whilst the Karimor pack is visible, the Proviz reflect technology is clearly brighter.
Now, the pack itself is not labeled as waterproof, it is labelled as water resistant. To clarify, water-resistant means that the product has a waterproofing repellent coating applied to the outer fabric to prevent absorption of water, letting it just run off of the pack, but the seams are not taped, so they may not withstand constant rain.
I thought I’d try the pack out in the shower to see how much protection the pack would offer if you were caught out by the weather.
I placed a cotton top inside the main compartment and kept the pack under the shower for 30 seconds, working the water back and forth. I kept the pack upright to ensure the water was not going down the strap funnels into the pack.
After I shut off the water, I opened the pack to checked the top. The majority of the pack was dry, however where it was sat in the bath, it had saturated the bottom of the pack. This meant that the top was slightly damp.
After the pack had dried out I gave it a second test to see if holding it in the air when soaking it would make any difference. Unfortunately, if anything, this was worse. The black material over the shoulders was saturated this time, making the clothing inside damp.
It should be noted however, that this is an exaggerated test. The pack is not advertised as waterproof, only water resistant, so, by all accounts, it has done really well in these tests.
I will now be replacing my existing backpack with the Proviz 360 Running pack. It has exceeded what I expected. There are a lot of packs out there for similar prices, but this one ticked all of the boxes for what I needed. It of course has the added bonus of having the large Proviz reflective panel on the rear and strips across the pack. Knowing how bright these are really help you feel safer when you are running in the dark.
As I mentioned above, the biggest pull for me is the fact that it is compatible with hydration bladders. This is a great feature which I know that a lot of distance runners will be happy with.
I have very much enjoyed testing these products as they provide you with an extra feeling of safety when running in the evening.
I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending these products to anyone. In fact, if you are a regular runner, that often runs in the dark, the Proviz range should be an essential purchase to your running gear. They’re so much brighter than anything else on the market. The brightness is incredible.
I would like to thank Proviz for giving me the opportunity to test these great products for the Running Bible community.
Please note, that whilst these items were provided to me free of charge to test, the review and opinions are my own. I have not been put under pressure or influenced to write favorably or otherwise by the Proviz team.
Proviz have kindly offered to giveaway the same great gear which was tested in this review:
1 x Proviz 360 Running Jacket
1 x Proviz 360 Running Backpack.
On top of this, they have offered an exclusive Running Bible 20% off discount code should you wish to purchase any of their fantastic range. Use the code ‘runningbible20’ to claim your 20% off.
The competition will be live on Thursday 16.01.20 at 20:00.
Review conducted by Rob Beazley, The Running Bible Owner.
For review or promotional enquiries, please contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supplier – Proviz
Website – https://www.provizsports.com
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