Running in the Dark - Petzl Nao

Hi all,

Purchased the Petzl NAO at the weekend as it is getting to the point I am going to be running in the dark until it gets light again!  Most of my running is in unlit areas and offroad trails so I needed something fairly bright.

I was wondering if anyone on here has used this product, and also if you had used the operating system to customise the settings at all?

I am hoping to get out for a run tomorrow night so I will let you know how it performs!



  • Hi Dave

    I was looking at this over the weekend as well. I held off purchasing as I wasn't sure.

    All my runs are off road, so I will be very interested in your feedback once tested.



  • I used this for the Lakeland 100 - just used it straight out of the box and havent had chance to play with any customisation. But, it is brilliant. Couple of tips, have the torch angled where your primarily looking, ie down at the ground. This means it will still adjust when you look far ahead, but saves a lot of battery as the sensor detects the feedback/reflection and doesnt pump out too much power. I had it on for the whole of one night (on the lower of the two "out of box" settings" and only got thru 1/3 of the battery - impressive. Other tip is to note you can turn the switch around the other way to "lock" it, so it wont accidently turn on in your bag...Brilliant bit of kit

  • Just have one on delivery at the moment. I can't stand the thought of being confined to street-lit areas as the nights draw in! I'm hoping to do more 'adventure' racing in the next year, too.

    They seem popular at the moment. Most UK suppliers are out of stock and the wholesaler can't get them a firm indication of when they're going to be able to get more.

    Useful advice, thanks, BR.
  • It's arrived!

    I'd definitely recommend getting the belt kit for it: - the battery is heavy, and for running, it'll be very much more comfortable to have the battery off your head.

    Can't test it for a proper run, as I'm tapering for an endurance event on Sunday image - might go for a walk tonight.
  • Hi all, I've just purchased the Nao and currently going through the custom settings myself. I stumbled across this thread as I'm trying to see whether anyone's customised theirs for night road-running (as opposed to trail-running which is one of the Petzl profiles). Anyway, I'm heading out tomorrow for a long night run with it set on 'trail-running' so will see how it performs. I've no doubt it'll light the way better than what I was using last year but just a little worried about how it 'reacts' to oncoming traffic. Will let you know!

  • How did it go?


    I switched mine to the trail running profile and left it on the brighter setting. It was almost like running in daylight, and this was on the edge of a cliff in the pitch black! A 45 minute run on this setting left it at max battery light showing, although I had it angled downwards so that it wasn't lighting 50 metres in front of me (which it will happily do if I tilt my head up).


    Some of the moving shadows of bushes as I ran towards them really freaked me out! They looked like a dog running towards me. Rabbits just freeze in your headlamp and mill around your feet. Met a woman sat on a bench in the pitch black away from all civilisation - I felt like asking, 'are you a ghost?' A very trippy experience.


    I think the lower-light setting will be enough though, apart from technical descents. 

  • I had my first run with the Nao tonight on trail running profile. I was amazed at how bright the thing was, and how reactive it was too; it quickly changes once my head was raised to look into the distance. On a thin country lane it lit up the road ahead similar to the main beam on a car, head down and it switches back to one light, so similar to dipped beam on a car.

    Will definitely be doing some night trail runs now I know I will actually be able to see where I'm going!

  • I agree it's a very nice piece of kit if you don't mind the price. Most of the time I run on the low reactive beam, which is enough for most trails. For very rooty/rounded granite trails I turn it up, mostly just because I can image

    On transition to trail it goes dim under every streetlight, which I suppose is OK and as it should function, but it takes a bit to get used to. Also in colder weather an out-breath causes a temporary rise in reflected light, which is sensed and the light cuts down quickly. This can be a bit off-putting but not risky. On can set to constant output at the two brightnesses if this or other conditions like fog or falling snow make this an irritation.

    The stringy headstrap work well, much better than I expected. I find the weight acceptable (compared with my former 3 x AA) as it is a single custom battery at I assume standard 5V for USB charging. The nattery level indictor is very useful to have.

    I find the twist-and-springback power button the easiest to use of many headtorches I have tried. It would be easy to use even with thick lobster gloves on. The twist cycles off-high-low-off and a long hold ( 2 secs) flips reactive constant. Just a slight niggle is to have to go round the cycle to get from low back to high.

    I like the fact that a waist strap is even available, and in principle this gives better shadow relief for roots, etc. but I manage OK so far. My SO is very jealous of it image

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