Black Diamond Head Lamp

When the time changed at the beginning of November, running after work became running in the dark after work.  I love running outside, and though I know I will have to (and have had to) run on the treadmill due to frigid temperatures, I prefer to run outside.  I desperately want to be seen while I run, and decided to light myself up like a Christmas tree!

I have several small clip on lights, and a couple reflective strap bracelets with lights, but really was needing something to alert traffic, and after reading several headlamp reviews online, I settled on the Black Diamond Revolt headlamp.  I found it on sale at REI, and paid for it myself.  I am not being compensated in any way for this review, the opinions that follow are my own.  Many of the headlamps are for hiking, biking, mountain climbing, running, trail running, so some of the options that are available for this headlamp are not particularly useful for me, but they are available if I ever decide to hike or mountain climb!

Photo Nov 11, 2 13 56 PM

I chose this headlamp for main 3 reasons:

1.  Rechargable batteries with USB power cord.  This headlamp runs on 3 AAA batteries, which were included in the packaging.  It can also run on 3 rechargeable AAA batteries, which were also included, along with a USB charging cord.  The batteries run for between 70 hours (on high) to up to 300 hours (low beam or dual red lights).  I plan on using the rechargeable batteries exclusively.  There is a handy battery power indicator on the side, which gives me plenty of time to finish the run and plug it in to charge.

2.  Price.  (I did find this headlamp on sale.  Retail $59.95, on sale for $29.95 as a 2013 close out piece)  Price was a big consideration for me.  There are headlamps for sale as cheap as $10, and as expensive as $500.  Now I do run outdoors after dark, but I’m not hiking on trails in the middle of the night, and I’m almost always going to be in the neighborhoods around my home.  I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a really expensive headlamp with all the bells and whistles.  It’s just not what I need! I also didn’t want to get a worthless headlamp for next to nothing, that doesn’t do the job I need.  For my needs, $20-40 was about what I wanted to spend, and for that price, I was able to find a durable headlamp with rechargeable batteries that puts out enough lumens and beam distance for traffic to see me, and for me to see the road ahead of me.

3.  Over 100 lumens, with over 70 meters of beam distance.  At 110 lumens, this headlamp is right in the middle of the spectrum available.  The lowest number lumens in headlamps are about 15-30 lumens, and the highest amount of lumens, and the most expensive, have around 500-600 lumens.  The 70 meter beam distance means I can be seen from almost a football field’s length.  Since my running is in neighborhoods near my home, on relatively slow streets, I feel 70 meters (over 200 feet) is adequate and probably more than what I really need, especially since the average car traveling at 55 miles per hour (way over the speed limit of the neighborhoods I run in) is 160 feet. For safety’s sake, I know I can be seen!

Photo Nov 11, 2 41 17 PM

The headlamp itself is fairly light, coming in at 3.4 ounces with the batteries.  It isn’t real bulky either, it has a stretchy strap that is easy on/easy off, and didn’t pull my hair, didn’t slip down on my head, and wasn’t too tight.  I’ve worn it for 3 runs, and it’s stayed put and been comfortable.  It hasn’t bounced or slipped.  I love that the headlamp is adjustable in the angle of the light.  There are 4 positions, you can click it straight forward all the way down to pointing directly in front of me on the ground.  I kept mine pointed forward, the idea being that it is more important for cars to see me than for me to see the ground right in front of me.

I can definitely tell a difference in the way people see me and react in their cars.  Without the headlamp, but still wearing my flashing clip on lights, vehicles would move over, and sometimes they would flash their bright lights on to see what exactly I was, with my flashing lights.  But with my headlamp, I could tell a marked increase in vehicles moving over for me earlier.  I could also see the road in front of me, to ensure there were no potholes, tree limbs, etc in my path.

Photo Nov 11, 2 34 21 PM

I tried out both the center large light and the two smaller lights on the side.  I preferred the light given off by the two lights on the side (the right picture).  I found that the light was more spread out, like a flood light.  The center light alone was more of a spot light type light, and I could see further with it, but it was not as widespread.

I also tried out the strobe light, which was turned on by pressing the power button 3 times.  I am positive a strobe light would allow traffic to see me earlier due to the blinking, but I could not see as well, and felt safer being able to see consistently.

There are also two small red light next to the outside two white lights, that can be turned on for safety.  The white lights can be dimmed by holding down on the power button.  This feature would be useful for a campsite or hiking… which doesn’t really help me, but maybe someday I’ll go on a hike and need my headlamp.

Photo Nov 11, 2 39 06 PM

Overall, I’m pleased with my headlamp.  For my after dark running during the cold winter months, it will do quite nicely.  I can be seen from a safe distance for vehicles to stop in time if necessary.  Also, with me being able to see, I have plenty of time to move out of the way if I need to, and also the ability to see any obstacles in the road in front of me.  The battery life and rechargeable batteries are a huge benefits for me, as is the minimal weight, the comfortableness of the strap, and the price.

I would recommend this headlamp to someone in the market.  The bottom line is that you have to find the right combination of beam distance, price, and power life.  I’m happy to answer any further questions if you have them, but I am pleased with my headlamp, and I think it will be a great addition to my running safety

Photo Nov 11, 2 37 51 PM

Jasper also approves.  Do you use a headlamp when you run? What were the most important features?  If you’re in the market, what kind are you thinking of getting?

7 thoughts on “Black Diamond Head Lamp

  1. I have two head lamps I use when I run, both are mostly for being seen rather than seeing. I run on lighted streets (rather than the paved trail) when I’m out after dark, so I can see well enuf by street lamp. I got my bigger headlamp at Target and may have paid $15 for it. I nearly always wear a billed cap when I run (though switching over to stocking cap now), so the beam can’t point directly down (because of the bill) unless I look directly down, and who wants to run like that? I don’t think I would want to wear the lamp directly on the skin of my forehead. I fear it would leave an impression that I would carry all day. I must confess that I was dismissive of headlamps (and I did a lot of 3:00 a.m. runs!) until I was driving to work in the dark one morning and saw a runner coming my way with a lamp. I couldn’t really see him, but I could sure see his lamp! That convinced me.

    I also have a little clip on lamp that attaches to the bill of my cap. It doesn’t provide much useful light at all, but it does make me a bit more visible. I wear it on afternoon runs this time of the year when I head out in daylight but might not get back until dusk or dark. Still on lighted streets, but I prefer the extra visibility.

    Finally, I”m not sure which is brighter in your photos: your headlamp or your eyes! Just sayin’

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  3. 3:00 am? INSANE! I’ve never been much of a early morning runner… I prefer to run after work and run off the stress of the day. I noticed a marked increase in the distance between me and the cars when they moved over. I’ve worn the headlamp over a beanie when I ran… I only tried it directly on my skin right after I bought it. I imagine it would leave a pretty weird mark on my forehead.

    And thank you for your comment on my eyes. 🙂

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