Leader Lights


Petzl Tikka XP

Image via Wikipedia

This is a post I wrote a few back on “mushing equipment”–hope you don’t mind the rerun 🙂

I am a firm believer in LED lights. Seems like that’s all anyone uses nowadays, but back in ’04 I was the only driver in the lower 48 using this technology to train/race  teams  that I know of, and I’ve been using them religiously every since, including putting them on my lead dogs.

Headlights for dogs? you may ask. Looking at various race rule requirements as well as consulting our own common sense, we all know that our lead dogs need identifying lights so that oncoming snomachines can hopefully see them in the dark- big emphasis on hopefully.

Go buy two Tika Plus LED Petzl headlamps, set the headbands on tight, slip them on your lead dogs necks just like you would put on new collars, rotate the lamps to face down and forward, and go on a night run.

What you’re going to notice right away is a pool of light extending six-ten feet in front of your leaders. As you run along, this pool swings and bobs, providing an eye catching spectacle for approaching snomachiners’, thereby increasing your overall safety.

There are significant additional bonuses to employing this system. Instead of your own personal headlamp shining from over the leaders shoulder and casting shadows across the trail, now they have a direct source of light of their own, giving them a heads-up on obstacles like holes and overflow. Now they can see the trail surface regardless of where your headlamp is directed. In rough country and severely twisty turny sections, your headlamp is often pointed somewhere besides the trail in front of your leaders’ noses. In fact, if you put yourself in your leaders booties, having some maniac fifty or more feet behind you randomly whipping his light around for no apparent reason and occasionally blinding you with it, or better yet, to consistently use it to look at the back of your head, simultaneously ruining your night vision and casting impenetrable shadows on the trail in front of your nose, you would probably want to take the first opportunity you could to piss in your owners coffee mug.

Bottom line: If you don’t want to take a chance on finding out what your lead dogs urine tastes like, go get them some headlamps.

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One Response to “Leader Lights”

  1. Marlene Phillips-Daniels Reply August 31, 2011 at 16:51

    Have been gone for a week—loved coming home home to these comments. Don’t have sled dogs, but love those led lights for this tottering granny.

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