The Vollebak Solar Charged Jacket glows like kryptonite and can be charged by exposure to almost any light source.
Smart clothing has so far struggled to get past the gimmick phase, but one start-up using science and tech to make genuinely useful sportswear is clearly onto something.
The Solar Charged Jacket from Vollebak glows in glorious green to offer some very obvious high visibility benefits during after dark pursuits – except possibly espionage.
What makes it truly viable is it can be charged immediately by virtually any light source and then stores that light for when it’s really needed to protect you in the pitch black.
Aimed at adventurers training in the dark, running an ultra-marathon through mountains, climbing, riding or out on the water, the lightweight rain jacket is perfect as a windbreaker, emergency layer or safety device to warn others of your whereabouts.
Vollebak has previous in this field, with its Blue Morpho Jacket that uses billions of light-reflecting glass spheres for incredible visibility in the snow.
This time, though, the core technology is a waterproof membrane engineered with a phosphorescent compound that rapidly absorbs and stores light, then gradually re-releases it slowly as the sun goes down.
The jacket is fuelled fasted by sunlight, so the simplest way to charge it is by wearing it outside during the day, and just a couple of hours exposure is enough to keep you glowing for up to 12 hours. Cloudy days are fine too and you could even leave it near a window.
If you’re battling daylight don’t fret, because the fabric reacts so rapidly it will work immediately by holding a torch against the surface so small spotlit patches start to glow. A smartphone, head torch, car headlights or a 60W lightbulb will suffice.
In daylight the jacket stays a subtle light grey until you go somewhere dark or the sun sets. When fully charged at night it glows in the green spectrum at around 530 nanometers before fading to silvery green then white.
The Solar Charged Jacket is fully waterproofed and all seams are sealed with specially designed transparent tape, so none of the glow is lost.
The hood and waistband have elasticated drawcords that can be pulled tight rapidly. Welded eyelets at the underarms provide additional ventilation without letting water in.
It has a waterproof front zip with a concealed storm guard for extra protection, the cuffs are laser-cut and bonded, and there’s a waterproof zip pocket at the back with enough room for your phone, card and keys.
In short, we want one and so should every cyclist, runner, hiker or outdoorsy person.
Buy now: £270 from Vollebak