GoMotion Litebelt 100 ReviewFebruary 25, 2015
- Bright and effective light
- Ample storage space for things like keys, gels, and cell phone
- Blinking rear red light and reflective detailing enhance visibility
- Waist‐mounted light is less suitable for trail running
- Heavier than a typical headlamp
- Fore/aft weight imbalance can lead to bounce
The GoMotion Litebelt 100 is a combination light and waist pack that is perfect for runners looking to log miles in (sub)urban environments during pre-dawn/dusk hours. Although heavier than a typical headlamp, visibility is enhanced by a rear‐mounted red blinking light and the pockets offer plenty of storage for small items.
The GoMotion Litebelt 100 is an interesting attempt to combine the features of a light with a waist pack. For the most part it is successful in achieving this. The waist-mounted light provides more than ample illumination, and the rear‐mounted flashing red LED provides an additional level of visibility. The zippered pockets are the perfect size for storing keys, a cell phone, and a gel. When combined with a handheld water bottle, the Litebelt can easily handle early morning runs that start pre-dawn and finish after the sun comes up.
The primary limitation of the Litebelt is that the waist-mounted light limits usefulness while running trails. Essentially the issue is that, unlike a headlamp, the light does not follow the runner’s head movements. This became a concern when trying to scan ahead for turns and obstacles, and essentially forced running at much slower speeds. A secondary issue was that the Litebelt tended to bounce a little bit while running fast downhill. The weight also might be a turn off for some: at 385 grams, the Litebelt is 4‐5 times the weight of a typical headlamp—although to be fair, it also offers more features than a typical headlamp, so strict comparisons are not necessarily the most meaningful.
The Litebelt is ideally suited for (sub)urban runners whose primary concern is visibility rather than illumination. It also works well when used in conjunction with a headlamp during nighttime trail running, and can help provide much needed depth perception. Performance‐oriented runners will probably want something a little lighter to use during harder training efforts.
The Litebelt has a fairly wide contact area, particularly in the aft portion of the belt, which helps to spread the load and reduce the perceived tension around the waist. On the other hand, the rear of the belt is noticeably heavier than the front due to the battery pack (which is rear-mounted). This imbalance led to some bouncing, particularly when running downhill at faster speeds. Compared to most waist packs, however, the comfort was definitely a little better than average.
The Litebelt has a quoted maximum output of 100 lumens. This is fairly typical and more than adequate for enhancing visibility and illuminating the area in front of the runner.
Ease of Use:
The Litebelt has three controls. The first is a button that cycles through the different illumination modes, which are really just three brightness levels. The second is a button that turns the light on or off. Having a second button for this is a bit more convenient than a single button that must be cycled through all modes to switch the light off. The third controls the beam width. This allows switching between spot‐like and area‐like illumination modes, but the actual mechanism was somewhat stiff, and required a level of fine motor-control that made it difficult to adjust while running—as opposed to a button which just cycles through various beam width settings. Belt adjustment was straightforward, and the pull tabs on the pocket zippers made the pockets somewhat easier to open and close.
Because the Litebelt is a fairly unique product, the feature set is not easily characterized with a single rating. Compared to most headlamps, the Litebelt packs a few less features. For example there is no red LED mode and no blinking mode; just three different illumination levels and a spot/area adjustment. On the other hand, the Litebelt has features that headlamps don’t have, such as storage pockets for small items (keys, cell phone, etc), reflective detailing, and a rear-mounted red blinking light. And compared to most waist packs, well, it has a light, which waist packs typically don’t have.
The Litebelt has a quoted runtime of 50+ hours on the lowest power setting. So the runtime‐to-weight ratio is considerably lower than what a headlamp offers. However no issues were encountered with battery life during testing. How was it tested: I tested the GoMotion Litebelt 100 during several runs of up to a couple hours duration, on both road and trail.