The NAO headlamp is the future of overnight endurance events, early morning runs, and any other adventure in the dark.
NAO pronounced the same as 'NOW' is a headlamp with an extra long battery life. Well balanced, it provides automatic light adjustments for varying conditions. This means that when you run up to someone else with a light it softens the beam. When you need a long beam it recognizes the need because it has a sensor to register light output and input. For example; if you are running with a group and you all have headlamps, the lamp will automatically blend with the other lights. The net result is a longer battery life. If you are running uphill the NAO senses that you need a short beam that will not glare off of a map or the ground close in front of you.
Picky about how much beam there is in your lamp? The NAO allows you to program the amount of lumens to make the battery last longer or change the strength of the short or long beam.
When do you need the NAO? I am thinking that this is a great headlamp for the Ragnar Relay, Red Rock Relay or any other time you need light to run in the dark. If you get out of the support vehicle to support someone the light will automatically adjust to your needs. Then when you hop back in the car the light will dim so you don't blind all your fellow runners that are trying to get some shut eye.
What about triathlon? How many times have you gone to setup your transition area in the dark? Well, when this beam hits your shiny TT it will adjust. When you are making modifications to your shoes, bike, wetsuit etc. this will give you light handsfree and adjust to a comfortable beam. Warning: when the sun starts coming up you need to take it off because you don't want to submerge this during the swim. The lamp is very water resistant but should not be fully submerged.
I have been using the NAO during early morning runs. I was pleased to find that the battery is rechargeable from a USB port on my computer. The battery did not need a charge after being used 8 different times to run for an average time of 2 hours each. This was over the period of almost 3 weeks. I am estimating that for me this was more than a 12 hour usage. I really like the low battery warning system when the light flashes to let you know you have about 1 hour of light left.
I mostly run trails and this has been great for all trail running. For road running it is great because each time a car passes you the NAO senses additional light and does not keep a constant beam. The adjustments are soft and subtle. If you run under a street lamp the light dims. This is perfect so your eyes are not continually adjusting to brighter light. The NAO is the light with a brain that conserves the light. Think about when you are fiddling to tie your shoe or adjust something on your watch; when you look at something at close range it will register a short beam. If there is snow the natural reflection of light will adjust the headlamp so that the battery life will be longer.
This headlamp is about twice the size of an average headlamp. Because the light is in front and the battery is in the back this balances the extra weight well.
The NAO makes manual adjustments by hand a thing of the past. Coming in at about $175.00 it is a bigger investment than your average headlamp. If you are passionate about camping and going to the bathroom in the great outdoors handsfree the NAO is the headlamp that you want. The NAO is set to hit stores summer 2012.
For more information about this and other Petzl products go to: www.petzl.com