Ethan Newberry has been creating films, reviews, interactive live shows, music and art all inspired by and featuring distance running since 2011. He has worked as an actor, writer and producer in TV and movies. That’s likely why his running videos are so well done. His YouTube channel has 127,000 subscribers and he has over 40,000 Facebook followers. When Ethan talks about running and running gear, people listen because Ethan IS… The Ginger Runner.
We’ve been impressed with his reviews of headlamps and other running lights. So we were totally stoked when we heard from a runner that The Ginger Runner had reviewed the Kogalla RA. You can check out his review on video here.
We transcribed a key portion of his video for this blog post.
“Next category… gadgets. This by far is one of my favorite categories only because I’m a big gadget nerd, whether it’s watches, GPS trackers, lights or other battery operated items that you might take with you on a run. Our 2018 Gear of the Year Gadget Winner goes to a brand and an item that I actually didn’t review in video form this year but found myself using more than I thought. From Kogalla, it’s the RA light system.
“So here’s the thing with this one. When I first got the review unit I had some issues getting it to work, the button doesn’t always operate the light. I initially had problems with it that I just thought I couldn’t get past. But I’ll be honest, once I started using it out on the trail, getting these LEDs on, I’ll tell you what… THIS IS A BEAST ON THE TRAILS!
“It’s a linear series of LEDs and lenses that give you a much wider field of light. Unlike a headlamp that just essentially gives you a cone of light off your head, which creates shadows and depth perception issues, the Kogalla RA can actually attach to a hydration pack, shirt, hat, belt… pretty much anywhere and provides a seriously wide light pattern. But at 800 lumens, the thing is just super bright. When you combine something like a headlamp that does have that far throw and something like this which has a closer proximity light spill, it’s an unbeatable pair. CHECK IT OUT!”
Wow. Ethan really nailed some key points. Most headlamps and flashlights are designed to focus their light on a spot. Typically they have a hot spot surrounded by a dimmer halo. This “cone of light” as Ethan called it, is intended to concentrate the light on your subject. In contrast, the Kogalla RA spreads the light evenly over a wide area. That makes a big difference when running in the dark.
Why does that make such a difference? With the light held in one position and focused ahead you essentially experience tunnel vision. Your brain finds this unacceptable and seeks to build a more comprehensive view of your surroundings. So you move your light around to provide the visual data your eyes need to help your brain construct a visual more similar to what it’s accustomed to seeing in the daylight.
The Kogalla Ra is designed with custom lenses that spread light evenly 120 degrees. This provides a visual field more compatible with your daytime peripheral vision. It reduces mental fatigue and improves your performance. So there’s actually some science behind it. But it’s best just to see for yourself.
Another reason is that when running, the spotlight from a headlamp bounces. So you’re running down the trail and the jostling fluid of your inner ear is telling your brain about the bouncing. Your proprioceptors are also signaling the brain that your body is working to balance itself as your feet alternatively hit the ground in full motion. Now add to that the visual image of the small window of scenery that is illuminated by a spot light from a headlamp or flashlight, and it’s bouncing as well. Your brain has to reconcile all this information and when it doesn’t, it tells you something is off. And that notification comes as nausea. It can be mild and simply a nuisance or it can be debilitating. Either way it affects your performance. And it kind of takes the fun out of the run.
Ethan also noted that the Kogalla RA is “just super bright”. It’s actually brighter than five good quality headlamps. And that brightness comes in a warm color temperature similar to that of the sun. It’s not the bluish tone you get from many headlamps. That ghoulish color of light may work on Halloween but it’s freaky to run with.
Another point that Ethan made is that the light coming from your head creates depth perception issues. That’s because the light is in line with your eyesight. This creates a 2D perception and everything looks flat. When you wear the light on your waist or vest, it creates an angle that generates subtle shadows and texture providing a more 3D view. This helps with depth perception and a better ability to spot those toe busters on the trail.
Lastly, Ethan mentioned you can wear the Kogalla RA “pretty much anywhere.” At 3.6 ounces, it’s light enough to do just that. RA has internal magnets embedded in the back of each LED pod. This allows you to attach RA to any ferrous metal object. When matched with the magnets in the MagBack, you can attach RA to your gear or clothing. Simply place the MagBack on the inside of your clothes or gear and attach RA to the outside. This gear may include a running belt or vest or pretty much anything.
The most popular way to wear RA is to use the Velcro roll in the Accessory Kit. The Velcro is the width of the space between the LED pods. You simply cut it into strips, fit them between the pods and secure RA to shoulder straps, a running belt or vest strap. The BatPak is secured in a pocket, pack or pouch. This allows you to wear RA on pretty much any night running gear you choose.
Ethan did a nice job of highlighting some of the key features of RA. We appreciate his review and we’re honored to be his Gadget Winner of the Year.
It turns out that the best headlamp for running isn’t a headlamp at all. The Kogalla RA Adventure Light is a total game changer for running lights and a “beast on the trails”!