£45 may seem a lot for a reflective waistcoat/vest type affair, but there are a few ways in which the Vesp from New York designers Vespertine differs from the average.
First off, it packs down into its own integral pouch to less than the size (and weight) of a pair of gloves, making it super easy to pop into a pocket and therefore usefully available, rather than never where you need it to be when you need it.
The first thing everyone is going to notice about this Vespertine Road Hog Reflective Waistcoat is the price. It's hard to see past a price tag of over £200, but designer Sarah Canner has not produced a run of the mill piece of safety equipment, here, nor even an average cycling gilet - this garment comes with a genuine New York designer pedigree, and results from a desire to fuse fashion and function.
There's no denying the Dashing Tweeds Reflective Tank Top is an expensive item of cycling attire. £165 is a lot of money in anyone's book, BUT this is, after all, a truly unique and innovative piece of clothing, lovingly hand knitted on a small scale in England from pure new lamb's wool.
The really impressive bit, though, and probably another reason for the hefty price tag, is the fact that the whole shebang is reflective, thanks to special yarns being knitted in with the wool.
The Buff is a classic piece of kit for outdoor enthusiasts of all persuasions - a tube of fabric that turns into a scarf, hat, bandana, balaclava or face mask – and most popular with cyclists to go under a helmet or round the neck on winter days. This reflective version is your standard Buff with the addition of two strips of Scotchlite silver tape which'll bounce back the beam of car headlights when riding at night.
Vizavee's Sam Browne belt is a contemporary take on a commuter staple that attracts the right sort of attention on or off the bike, regardless of whether you're wearing club or street threads.
Retro reflectives is a clever play on words too, referring to both the style and technical nature of the materials that beam back under the glare of vehicle headlights.
Techno-freaks won't get excited about the Vizavee retro-reflective Union Jack vest - it's essentially a very thin polyester waistcoat dressed in heat-transferred Scotchlite strips with Velcro closures.
While I missed refinements such as mesh pockets for keys, the medium was bang-on size-wise, weighed next to nothing and folded small enough to fit in bigger wedge packs.
Respro hi-viz Nitesight helmet band does exactly what it says on the tin and copyright issues aside, it's a wonder why others haven't embraced this particular format.
It could literally save your life should your lights run out of juice on the midnight training run, or dynamo wiring disintegrate on the way home. Both the plain or Chevron patterns seem equally effective and are compatible with race, mtb, commu-touring and perhaps more significantly, kids' models.
My traditional indifference to stickers has been softened by this Respro Camo Sticker Kit, which deliver exactly what they promise on the packaging - reflective stickers in a camo stylee (other styles are available including plain).
Safety vests probably aren't going to win any awards at the next fashion show (although who knows, perhaps fluorescent is this years florals) but there is no denying their ability to make you seen on the road. Craft's offering is well cut and designed, with features like a meshed backing and plenty of reflective material showing their prestige as a quality clothing manufacturer.
Respro Hi-viz ankle bands are just brilliantly simple safety aids made from dual sided, washable neoprene that fit in a flash around the ankles, doubling as handy trouser-clips into the bargain. Lycra can induce slight slippage beyond ninety odd rpm but before you all start sniggering and picturing geography teachers, brown cords and three-speed sit up 'n' begs, they're fine with 3/4lengths, the latest generation of civilian styled cycling trews and can even be worn as arm bands should you prefer.