If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for gear to keep your pup safe on all your adventures together. We’ve been through our fair share of reflective vests, leashes, collars… you name it, we’ve used it. That is, until we discovered Head-Lites collars. Where we live, half of the year is basically in utter darkness anytime I’m not working, which means we’re out roaming the trails, running, walking, or mushing in the dark; making sure Ellie & Atlas stay within sight becomes a challenge, and staying visible to oncoming traffic or other trailgoers becomes our main concern.
Head-Lites collars are made in Winona, Ontario, and all of their materials for both packaging and collar are locally sourced within Canada. The collar itself is made of a thick nylon material with heavy stitching, and a quick-release Alu-Max buckle (one of the best you can find in terms of strength & durability). While I can’t yet speak for the longevity of the collars in terms of how long the LED lights will last (they claim that with daily use they can last up to 2 months, depending on how much each day you use them), I can say that after daily use for two weeks for about an hour each day, they’re still as bright as ever, and I have yet to change the batteries they came with. They aren’t waterproof, but claimed to be water resistant. We used them on two separate rainy mornings & found no signs of concern afterwards; we’ll definitely be putting them to the test once we start into mushing season.
Photo credit: IG @expeditionhusky
Since we started using the Head-Lites collars, we’ve felt far safer going out during the early morning hours. The white LED lights are so bright that if your dog is heeling next to you, it’s almost TOO bright! The colored lights seem to be better for structured walks in the dark, still plenty bright, but less noticeable when your pup is heeling. We use the colored lights for our walks, and the white lights for canicross, bikejor, and will use them for mushing once the snow hits! Switching out the lights is a breeze. Literally all it takes it sliding down the elastic band, pulling out the lights that were in there, sliding in the new lights, and bringing the elastic band back over the top, and that’s it! I’ve been able to switch the lights in a matter of seconds. The on/off switch is small, but easy to find & turn on or off, and when being used is covered by the elastic band to avoid accidental switch off – even with the dogs playing, there hasn’t been any issue with that.
Photo credit: IG @expeditionhusky
One thing I love about Head-Lites is their incredibly large selection of colors and patterns! We chose the Digi Camo for Atlas, and the Lavender for Ellie. They even have a designated Cani-cross section with bright neon colors, as well as mushing section in which they teamed up with ManMat.cz to create matching patterns for their harnesses. Head-Lites also features leashes that have 9” worth of their vibrant LED lighting, with reflectivity as well, AND an added grommet where you can easily attach a poop bag carrier. Even cooler is that the collars come in a reusable mesh bag made by the small business Cactus Creek in Canada. We store our collars in the mesh bag with an extra set of batteries; it’s so easy to keep it all in one area & be able to switch over when needed.
As for sizing, they do have a sizing chart available on their website, and for Ellie & Atlas, even though their necks are 14” & 15”, we went bigger with the Head-Lites collars for various reasons (19” & 20”). With their longer hair, the lights often sink below their fur-line, which prevents some light from getting out, so by adding the extra length in the collar, there was extra room for it to hang lower and show the light more visibly. Shorter haired dogs should stick to the measurement they get initially. I couldn’t find anywhere on their website that mentions about having dogs with longer fur, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. There is a small amount of room for adjustment – about 3-4” worth, so even if you get something that seems too small, there’s room to make it a little bigger.
We would highly recommend this collar for anyone who deals with being active in the dark with their pup, whether it’s for off-lead fun, structured walks, joring, or mushing. The only caution is if your pup heads straight for the water; I think it would definitely be beneficial to find a way to make the collars waterproof. Otherwise, for an active lifestyle, this collar is a great to make sure your pup stays safe.
Review by: IG Trail Tester @expeditionhusky
Feature photo credit: IG @expeditionhusky