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The GO Outdoors Guide To High Visibility Clothes and Accessories

Classed as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) High Visibility or 'Hi Vis' is reflective or luminous clothing, accessories or equipment that provides visibility in low light conditions.

High Vis is particularly effective when a light is shining on it, and it reflects with ease. Hi Visibility works from a process called retro reflection. Retro reflection allows light rays to 'bounce back' from their origional direction, shining light backwards.

High Visibility items are essentails in many countries as a safety measure, but in the UK they are reccommended at a leisure level. For work wear and labour, hi vis may be an employment requirement.

Here at GO Outdoors we believe that Hi Vis is essential for all outdoor users, from cyclists, runners, walkers, as well as children on the roads. In short, hi vis in whatever form is an essential for anyone wanting to be seen.

High Visibility is not just limited to clothing and accessories, but is also included with items such as warning triangles and bike lights, working in conjunction with these other safety measures. This guide to hi vis will help you decide on the best level of hi vis protection for yourself and your activity.


High Visibility Requirements in Europe - Driving and Cycling in Europe


  • For travel in the below countries it is mandatory to carry both a warning triangle and a high visibility jacket or gilet in the main body of the car, and cyclists must wear high visibility jackets in poor light conditions.
  • The warning triangles should be used in an accident, and although you don't have to wear the hi vis jacket when you drive, you should have it on hand for use when fixing the car.

It is at time of writing only  recommended you carry a warning triangle and a hi vis jacket in the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Germany, but it is not a mandatory requirement.

It is mandatory to carry or wear a high visibility vest and/or a warning traingle when cycling or driving in the following countries:

France - Warning Triangle and Hi Vis Jacket OR Gilet when driving, Hi Vis jacket or Gilet when cycling

Belgium - Hi Vis Jacket/ Gilet When Cycling

Italy - Hi Vis Jacket/Gilet When Cycling

Austria - Hi Vis Jacket or Gilet When Cycling, Warning Traingle in car

Spain - Hi Vis Jacket or Gilet When Cycling, 2 Warning Traingles and a Hi Vis Vest when driving

Belgium - Warning triangle and Hi Vis vest when driving

Croatia- Hi Vis Vest and Warning triangle when driving

Ireland - Warning Triangle when driving

Denmark- Warning traingle when driving

Norway - Warning Traingle when driving

Your high visibility jacket must conform to EU standards, known as EN ISO 20471:2013  

Levels Of High Visibility

Hi Visibility can be as small as a strip of light reflecting plastic or piping, or as visible as a luminous jacket, sash or vest. 

High Visibility is classed under two main areas, fluorescent fabric colors, and reflective details.

You can choose from piping, which catches the light and reflects it, or a full fluorescent jacket that offers excellent levels of visibility from the bright colour. The levels of high vis are determined by levels, or classes. 

The poorer the light conditions, the higher the levels of Hi Vis you will need. 

You may also require a particular level of high visibility wear by law, particularly when you are driving or cycling in Europe where the law is more stringent. 

The European standard of high visibility is marked as EN471, and all GO Outdoors products meet this safety standard. 

Low Level

At least two 5cm bands of high visibility features. (Found in accessories) 

Class 2

An intermediate level of protection. This should contain 2 5cm bands of fluorescent fabric, and 2 13cm bands of retro reflective material. (Example- Usually a vest, gilet, bib or similar. ) 

Class 3

The highest level of protection. This should contain 2 bands measuring 8cm of fluorescent material and 2 bands of 2cm or more of retro reflective detail . (Example- A full upper body covering of hi vis (A jacket or suit made of high vis, overalls or similar.)

High Vis Accessories

  • Accessories can be straps, lights and other accessories and can be effective enough when on a dark roads- always better than nothing.
  • You can choose from 3m Scotchlite, typical used in a strip form to add in illumination, as well as flashing LED lights to add in visibility.
  • Some manufacturers pass on information on the visibility of your accessories, for example, 'a mile of visibility'. If this information is on hand to you, use the to buy the best and most effective equipment you can afford.

High Vis Clothing

  • High Vis is available in a variety of clothing styles that can ensure you easily spotted, as well as functional styles that are easy to put on.
  • If you commute, a simple hi vis vest can be stashed in your pannier or in your rucksack for easy use, so as the evenings draw in you can have a safe cycle home, even on side roads.
  • Hi Vis jackets are a great benefit to anyone looking to get a fuller level of protection(PPE) at all times read above to ensure you choose the level you need- from full florescence to piping on a 'normal' jacket. 
  • Many hi vis vests are designed with side straps as well as hook and look closings making them easier to slide on and off.

Hi Visibility Accessories

  • Accessories can be classed as any straps, lights, socks or gloves that offer florescence or light reflection. 
  • 3M Scotchlite is typically used in a strip form on accessories. 
  • Flashing LED lights are also used to add in visibility.
  • If you have a flashing light which you are relying on, then ensure it has a long battery life.