Gear Review: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Fact: Not all headlamps are created equal. It´s true that when you find yourself in the dark, trying to navigate down a tricky trail or set up a tent, any light at all is a welcome piece of gear; however, when you use your headlamp regularly, you start to discover those little features that make a big difference. On our trip through South America, Don and I have come to rely on our headlamps for much more than just camping. They are reading lights on overnight bus rides, nightlights when getting to the bathroom in a strange hostel, and of course, an important tool when we are out in the woods past dark, still trying to find that perfect campsite. I have had a pretty basic headlamp for the past couple years now...nothing fancy, but it gets me by. Don, on the other hand, invested in the Black Diamond Spot a couple years back, and I still hear on a regular basis how great it is and how much he enjoys it´s features. His headlamp has a locking feature, includes night vision red LED´s, and is also capable of dimming from within each its modes. I keep telling myself that when I lose or break my headlamp I´ll invest in the Spot...but we´ll see if I can hold out that long.
First of all, and most importantly, let´s talk about the light itself. This headlamp has an incredible range of options, from a bright 90 lumen spotlight setting, to a dimmable red light for preservation of night vision, and everything in between. By holding the top bottom down, the light slowly dims in each of it´s settings, and allows the user to choose just the right amount of brightness. 90 lumens is brighter than most people think, and it is far more light than one person always needs, especially when just reading a map or looking for something in their tent. However, if you´re out hiking past dark or perhaps doing a little backcountry night skiing, those 90 lumens can help you spot upcoming turns and keep you from twisting your ankle on a root. The red light feature can be reached without scrolling through any white light, so you can still see those beautiful bright stars and your dog curled up outside your tent, even while reading late into the night. If you´re regularly with another person, a dim white light, or the red light, can ensure that person´s good night sleep even if you have to get up in the middle of the night or want to read after they´ve gone to bed.
Let´s be honest, almost nothing is worse than having a dying or dead headlamp when you´re on a backpacking trip. The Black Diamond Spot goes above and beyond when it comes to battery life. Don is able to lock his headlamp, simply by holding down the button for a few seconds and waiting for a flashing blue light, any time his headlamp goes into his pack, which ensures that nothing accidentally turns the lamp on and drains the battery. Also, the headlamp features a small indicator light which actually informs the user of the remaining battery life. You know exactly when you need to change batteries (without guessing and running through batteries too quickly) and you never leave on a backpacking trip with a less-than-fully-charged headlamp. In addition to all this, the headlamp lasts a LONG time on fresh batteries. Don used his for over 3 months, on an almost daily basis, before his little indicator light made it clear that it was time for a change.
The more time you spend out of the comfort of a home, the more you begin to realize how important each piece of gear, big or small, really is. A headlamp is just one more item that can actually make or break a trip...or at the very least, make for a more enjoyable experience. For a reasonably priced, incredibly bright, feature-rich headlamp, check out the Black Diamond Spot, and get exploring!