YakAttack VISICarbon Pro
I'd been meaning to post a review of the YakAttack VISICarbon Pro for some time now, but I had a bunch of posts queued up before it. So today we'll finally get to it. I must have some kind of subconscious attraction to products with long awkward names because I sure have bought a lot of them. Just to make this read easier, I'll call it the VCP instead.
The short version is that the VCP is a thoughtfully designed and well made, pole-mounted, kayak safety light. It has a remarkable number of useful features for a product of this type and from a functional standpoint, it's not really lacking for anything. As a guy who designs and markets products for a living, I'm really impressed with how well-considered this product is.
Nail Your Colors to the Mast
Also similar to a tent pole, the pole segments and light are inter-connected via an internal shock cord. The benefits of this arrangement are 1) faster assembly since you don't have to fuss with finding the male and female ends to connect; and 2) you can't lose a segment of the pole when collapsed. The drawback is that a shock cord has to be replaced from time to time. Fortunately, YakAttack offers replacement cords as well as every other part of the system on its web site. And surprisingly, the prices for replacement parts don't seem out of line.
Light My FireSOLAS tape, greatly enhancing its nighttime visibility. It contains a 2-LED module powered by 3 AA batteries which are rated to last 100 hours between replacement. That rating seems about accurate given my anecdotal experience. The LED module fires the light directly upward into a plastic diffuser at the top of the torch which redirects the light outward 360° around the boat. This indirect lighting design has the benefit of preventing people from looking directly into the light, preserving their night vision.
Subjectively speaking, the light is about the right brightness level for its purpose. The VCP has enough power to illuminate your yak and help you see what you're doing on and immediately around the boat. It's also bright enough that I think it would be visible from the commonly recommended distance of 2 miles. But it's not so bright that it's going to mess very much with your or anybody else's natural night vision. I don't think it's enough light that I would enjoy navigating by it on a moonless night unless I knew the water really well. For navigation, I augment the VCP with a Black Diamond Spot headlamp. If you do need more light out of the VCP, YakAttack offers a 4-LED module that is a drop-in replacement. I might get one just to have the option because it's not overly expensive and it could come in handy.
Let Your Freak Flag Fly!
my anchor bag. This very thoughtful feature is yet one more indication of how much consideration YakAttack put into the design of the VCP. The flag/bag can also be draped over the light to decrease its brightness and change it to an orange light, which should attract less insects.