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Backpacker Magazine – October 2013

Gear Review: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

The best all-around headlamp from Black Diamond Equipment.

by: Cameron Martindell

Black Diamond Spot (Middle) - Ben Fullerton
Black Diamond Spot (Middle) - Ben Fullerton

“Feature-rich, bright, comfortable, and affordable. What’s not to love?” asked one tester after several weeks of using the Spot. Changing between modes—three different brightness settings plus a red beam for maintaining night vision*—is a cinch.

Ergonomic plus: “When it came time to swap out the batteries, my fat fingers opened up the Spot easily—thanks to an easy fingernail pry—so I could make a fast change, even when I was rushing in the cold and dark.” At 90 lumens**, our testers found it bright enough for common camp tasks like setting up a tent and cooking, as well as some midnight bouldering.

Gripes: Some testers would have liked the red light mode to be a bit brighter. $40; 3.3 oz.; IPX4; 3 AAAs; 90 lumens;

Overall: 4.5
Ergonomics: 4.2

More Tester Feedback:

Quinton Brown: This is a great price for a headlamp. I found the one button operation to be intuitive and the lamp itself was very durable.

Nick Kozel: Out of all the lights tested, this is my favorite. All the functions become second nature. It's light and small enough use as a backup or emergency light, yet bright and versatile enough to be your main light. I did have some problems with the headband not staying in place.

Bruce Kreutzer: This headlamp was much lighter than many of the others that I’ve used, and was easy to carry around my neck or in my pocket. The light modes were simple and easy to switch between, and ideal for night climbing.

Bridger Kroenke: I really like this headlight. It has lots of play in the headband to easily fit on a small head or around a large helmet. The only downside: I found switching between red and white modes finicky.

Ben Morrissey: I would absolutely recommend this light to a friend. I like the variety of dim and bright modes and the ease of shifting through them. Also, the lock mode is very convenient, just press and hold the button until it locks. Same to unlock it. Ding: The red light could be brighter and more focused.

Rachel Zurer: The awful, weak red LED keeps this otherwise very solid light from being something I would recommend to someone. If not for that problem, it's otherwise a great performer in a small package with just the right amount of features and a more-intuitive-than-average operation.

*Night vision After exposure to bright, white light, your eyes need 15 to 30 minutes in a dim environment to fully readjust.

**Lumen: A unit of light measurement. One lumen is approximately equal to the light emitted by one candle.

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