Gear Guide 2012: Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

The Icon uses a four-AA power source allowing for long lasting light and no drops in power.


“BD crossed an M1 Abrams with a Prius,” declared our tester after a three-week expedition in Nepal. “The Icon is tank-tough, yet it sips fuel as economically as a hybrid.” Credit the four-AA power source and a dimmer switch, which let testers dial down the lamp’s brightness to the minimum required, like the subtle glow needed for reading in the tent. “Dimming dramatically extended burn time,” he reports.

After running the lamp for 63 hours on the same batteries over the course of his trek, he didn’t notice any drop in power. At the brightest setting (200 lumens), the center LED shines 100 meters. In the lower setting, less powerful LEDs cast diffuse light for close-up tasks; a red setting proved handy for nighttime map consults and midnight tent exits. Bonus: It’s waterproof to three feet. Ding: Testers wished for padding on the battery case. Plus, expedition-tough and long-life power equals heavy. $80; 9 oz. (with batteries);