I have had the Black Diamond head lamp for a few years now, so I have had a lot of time to put it through its paces.
The one on the top is the one I have had for several years, and the one below is the latest version. I picked the orange one both times, I find the brighter colors are always easier to find in your gear or when it is dark out.
Here are a few events that I have used the head lamp for:
GORUCK Pittsburgh in December
Oil Creek 100k
Burning River 100 Miler
I have also used it through a lot of other races, GORUCK events including a HTL, and lots of training.
Here are a few features of the headlamp and a comparison with its new replacement.
Both have a center spot light, which is what I used the most. It projects a beam fairly far. They both also have another mode that activates the 2 LEDs on the side which is perfect if you are working on something at a camp site or are looking for something. It is a very wide area light. They both also have a red LED, which was nice during the GORUCK events. The newer model also adds a green and blue LED. There is also a strobe light mode. All modes you are able to be dimmed which is a nice feature to help save the batteries.
Both have the Power Tap feature, that allows you to just touch the side and the lamp will go to max brightness. This is very nice if you are running with it dimmed and you want to look at something in the distance that you need the lamp brighter. All you do is touch it and it will go to max and touch again and it will go back to the same level.
They both take 4 AAA batteries. The head lamps last quite a while, even over night during my 100 miler. I never had to worry about the batteries running out. It is a little heavier then some of the 3 battery lights like the Spot, but the little extra weight is worth it to me. Both battery compartments are sealed pretty well, even after submersion, there has never been water inside. The new model has a much better method for retaining and replacing the battery. The old version has a screw that isn't the easiest thing to get open, especially if you tighten it a little too much. The new version has a clip and lever, which is much easier to open.
There are a lot of rechargeable versions out there, but I still prefer using batteries.
The new version also adds a small pad that goes against your head. I haven't had a chance to try this out yet but I have never had an issue with the original lamp.
Both lamps have a power LED and a LOCK. If you hold down the button on the top of the lamp the LED will turn Blue and to power it back on you have to hold the button for awhile. This is nice if you threw the lamp in a bag and don't want it to accidentally come on. This LED is on the side of the original lamp.
The new one has it on the bottom of the lamp.
The thickness of both are very similar, because they both hold 4 AAA batteries. The layout of the batteries in the new lamp seem to make it a little sleeker.
In conclusion, this head lamp has worked great for me. It has lasted me through a lot of tough events, in the rain, being submersed, and just beat around. It has never failed me during training, GORUCK HTL, OCRs, multiple ultras (including a 100 miler). The only reason I am upgrading to the new one is for brightness. Over the years the LED's have definitely improved. I will still be using the original as a backup, but plan on using the newer one as my primary head lamp, so I hope it is as tough as the first.
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