LEDwear LED Rucksack Cover Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Interesting backpack cover that easily fits over a motorcycle backpack to to greatly increase visibility.
The LEDs can be cycled through three different high-visibility modes when desired.
See Also: LEDwear Aurora LED Jacket
Just as we were about to publish the article on the new LEDwear Aurora LED jacket, this LEDwear LED Backpack Cover arrived.
Too late to get it into the video (and I'm too lazy to go through all of the post-processing again), but this is a pretty cool piece that's arguably more motorcycle-centric than the LED jackets.
Called the LEDwear LED Rucksack Cover in the UK, the rear of the backpack cover features a hexagon-plus-one arrangement of LEDs.
These are the same type used on the LEDwear Aurora jacket and they are also embedded into the backpack cover material rather than added on to a separate section of fabric.
The LEDs cycle through the same light sequence as the Aurora jacket shown in the video in that review: a fast on/off...on/off "Police/Emergency" style blinking to a steady on/off blinking to always-on light to completely off.
The LEDs on the backpack cover are red only, and the switch is mounted just below the material on the lower portion of the cover. It's a membrane-type switch that is squeezed to cycle the lights through the different modes.
The only backpack we had handy to use with the cover was the Road Sack backpack (review), which is itself highly reflective. Even with the Road Sack backpack stuffed full, I could easily reach around and manipulate the switch, although I can't tell which mode the lights are in unless I back up against something that allows me to see the reflection.
It would probably be nice to have some type of over-the-shoulder cable with a remote membrane switch attached, and maybe even a tiny LED light on the remote so the rider would know whether the LEDs were on, off or blinking. It may be illegal in some states and countries to ride with blinking lights, so it is important to be able to cycle through the light sequences when necessary.
For normal riding at night or during hours of low visibility, the LEDs should probably be switched to the continuously on mode for best visibility. In heavy fog or if traffic is stopped for some reason and visibility is poor or ambient light is limited (e.g., dawn and dusk), it might be a good idea to use one of the blinking light modes for best visibility.
But again, the key here is for the rider to be able to quickly and accurately switch back and forth among modes.
Of course, the high-visibility lime yellow fabric offers the potential of increased visibility during the day, and the vertical retro-reflective strips are highly visible at night when they're illuminated by headlights, as you can see in the photo below.
This, combined with the bright LED light capability, provides a "3 Way" package of visibility for backpack-carrying motorcyclists.
Also, although LEDwear doesn't make any claims regarding the waterproofing ability of the cover, it does provide extra protection in this regard and seems completely water resistant, at least where it covers the backpack; an added bonus.
The edges of the cover have elastic sewn into the hem all the way around. The cover has an opening of approximately 30 cm by 13 cm wide (12" by 5") and it can expand to roughly 70 cm by 55 cm (~27" by 21"). The size of the backpack will, of course, affect how tightly the cover can be attached. But it fits over the admittedly smallish Road Sack backpack with plenty of room to spare.
The cover also includes two horizontal elastic straps sewn to one side of the cover. They snap to the opposite side and are designed to secure the cover to the backpack.
The seams on the inside of the cover appear to be heat sealed and water tight; these are the seals that attach the small battery pack, which holds two AA size batteries. The battery pack fits in a pocket with a hook-and-loop cover.
The backpack cover rolls up into a small package that can easily fit into a tank bag or the large rear storage pocket of the Aurora LED jacket.
The LEDwear LED Backpack (aka Rucksack) Cover is an interesting product that again demonstrates the potential of embedded LED lights for motorcycle use. It is highly visible during the day with its lime yellow color, and the vertical strips of retro-reflective material are also highly visible at night when they're illuminated.
The bright LEDs add another level of visibility that can be used during other circumstances. The cover also provides some degree of water resistance. Motorcyclists who frequently use a backpack may find this product useful.
|wBW Review: LEDwear LED Backpack Cover|
|Manufacturer: LEDwear (UK)||Suggested Retail Price: £22.95|
|Colors: High-visibility yellow w/white and red LEDs.||Made In: Unknown|
|Review Date: July 2009
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
From "T.W." (8/09): "This looks like a very useful product for many motorcyclists, but less useful for those who ride with a backrest that would block the LEDs that are mounted low on the cover. It seems to me that it would make more sense to mount the lights higher up.
Well, maybe Iíll still buy one and install it upside down, although that would put the ON/OFF switch at the back of my neck, which would make it harder to reach while riding."