Which is Most Reflective Tape?

Recently I saw SOLAS reflective tape, very bright, but is it the brightest? 3M also makes a Hi-intensity tape and then there is this one that claims to be very very bright. Any experience out there?

High-Intensity Retro-Reflective (Conspicuity) Tape - available in 7 colors. This tape is manufactured by Reflexite and utilizes internal cube-corner microprism technology to provide a brilliant reflection (8X - 10X brighter than engineering grade)

Britest tapes in the long run will be
engineered for marine applications. The reflexite stuff is really bright, but the angle it is sensitive to is smaller.

Where/how do you paddle that you think you will benefit from reflective tape? Who will be shining a light at you? Without that - all reflective are overrated as a safety item for paddlers. No matter how good, the stuff is only visible when lit.

Maybe you hide your gear at night and use a flashlight to find it? Would be great for that.

Yes they are good products - but more so for the highway applications most were designed for - where all the vehicles have high intensity headlamps pointed at the reflective signs and truck & emergency vehicle marking. None of the boats I paddle with have headlights.

The highway and marine applications are for relaying information at night (in environments with headlight or flashlight) via signs, lettering, walkways - more than making a small craft visible to other craft.

Just wondering. I like the stuff too - used to have some on a paddle. There is some reflective on my PFD, and I use reflective perimeter line (but just because I like the stuff, not because I think it will make me more visible on the water. I use lights for that).

18 wheeler tape
I use the 1/2 red - 1/2 silver that is on the side of EVERY 18 wheeler trailer has on it’s side.

cheap and bright when a light hits it.


Ever see running shoes at night WAY
before you see the actual human wearing them ?

DOT 2 or 3
I use that red / white stuff also on my cycling shoes and helmet. A few places on the bike also.

why go Passive (Reflective tape) when you can go (Active) Blinking LED lights… Small light weight and water proof…

All good ideas
All good ideas, I like having both active and passive methods. I have heard from CG and Seach and Rescue that the reflective stuff is amazingly helpful to them.

I will stay with the SOLAS stuff, the adhesive is bomber.

it is useful for being trapped out there in fog and night. Helps to find your paddle mates too.

Only from a car - WITH headlights on
Never from a kayak or other boat without headlight/spotlight (same goes for PDF reflective, perimiter deck lines, reflective tape on paddles, deck, etc.)

Both passive and active on bike!!!

– Last Updated: Nov-14-05 4:33 PM EST –

Bikes and helmets are a great place to use reflective tape.

I'm just not so sure it's of much use for many paddlers - at least not for the way they are thinking (to avoid getting run over - or to have help find you).

Anything that gives additional visual aid is a good thing - but its usefulness to rescue personel is to keep you in sight after they've already found you and got spots on/near you. They have to find you first - and for reflective to help they have to either already know where to shine their lights or get needle in a haystack lucky. Certainly better than nothing - and great in some instances - but not all. Don't assume it is always visible/illuminated. On the water, and out of decent light sources, it rarely is.

Yea butttt… it’s the brilliant flash
that catches ones eye … you gotta paddle alot at night I guess ( not saying you don’t).

This stuff is so bright, it’s like the person getting ‘hit’ with the light is shining one right back at you and that is where the visibility is. With the tapes a person getting ‘shot’ with a flood light will passively reply back faster than they could by pulling out some flashlight + there are already ( at least around here) ALOT of flashing red and sometimes white lights on the water already… pretty easy to mistake a paddler’s flasher from a 5mph/no wake buoy.

A fishing boat trolling along @ night is not really looking out for unlit paddlers or anything else for that matter other than their glowsticks so a paddler in the water might not register … but a brillinat ‘flash’ of light will mean something is out there and it’s not of the sea.

Running shoes, pedal reflectors … come on man, you cannot tell me you don’t see these or need to fully illuminate the rest first before you mental note to watch out for something… that is what goes on with the tapes on the water.

I am not a real safey cop but self preservation has me at least carrying something to flash in the night.

Philosopher’s Tape.

The reason you do not want…
a blinking light in a kayak is that it says to other mariners: “rescue me.” If you want to be rescued, fine, light it up, but if you are just out paddling around it is a no no.

Augustus Dogmatycus


SOLAS tape

I would stay with the SOLAS tape rather than look for an alternative that may not be as thoroughly tested. Other retro-reflective tapes may be as good or better, but I can’t find any tests comparing to SOLAS, so you’re taking a chance. Yes, it is very expensive, but it was designed for the marine environment and is recognized worldwide. This from Landfall Navigation’s website:

“It conforms to International Maritime Organization regulation, IMO Res. A.658 (16) and meets U.S. Coast Guard specification 46 CFR Part 164, Subpart 164.018/5/0. It is approved by numerous national authorities around the globe.”

S.Y.O.T.W. or S.Y.O.T.I.


Both Tape and Light
Light hangs on the saddle bag.

with a name like Smuckers its got to
With a name like Wetzool I should believe this post. It is a good thing your a nice bloke bud, cause the name don’t give allot of creds, you know waht I mean?

Yeah, the Solas stuff is pretty amazing really and the adhesive is and remains flexible over time. Seriously, thanks for the ad-vice.

what is SOLAS tape, where do you get it?

I’ve had half-circles of the silver 3M
on my paddle blades front and back for about 4 years of hard use. The ones on the front side are almost gone. My old boat has the silver on the back and I misguidedly put red on the back I should have stuck with white all round so I couldn’t be confused for a power craft. A lot of people have said the moving reflectors on the paddle blade stand out well, like the ones in a bicycle wheel.



tape does help tremendously
I’m often returning to port after dark in my lobsterboat and the few yaks and dingys with tape show up a lot better than just the little lights the rest carry. I’m with Greyak on this one, both reflective tape and a light are the way to go.

SOLAS stands for Safety Of Life At Sea. It’s a specification for highly reflective tapes for use on life vests, life boats, etc. Reflective tape is made to this specification by several companies, 3M among them. For safety purposes, I retro fitted many our pfds at work because one of the projects I work on involves being out in motorboats and/or canoes on lakes all night. It is truly amazing stuff. It can be had at many boating supply shops such as Landfall Navigation. http://www.landfallnavigation.com/ssrt1.html