Your Essential Black Diamond Trail Running Headlamp Round-Up

Winter is coming...


Cally Silberbauer |

Last weekend I dragged two of my trail buddies out into the stormy mountains for a night run. Why? It was a bit crazy and very wet, but we had some headlamps to try out. Ram Mountaineering Gear gave us the best of the bunch. These headlamps are hardcore and I wanted a true winter night run experience to put them to the ultimate test. Winter is coming, but with these guys, the training carries on…

Black Diamond IOTA Headlamp; image by Ram Mountaineering

Black Diamond No. 1: IOTA

Price: R775.00

Battery life: Three-hour burn time, rechargeable battery powered.

The nitty-gritty: According to the Ram Mountaineering web page, this light is storm-proof. We didn’t exactly put it to the sleet test, but there was rain – lots of it. It’s lightweight and small, but it’s still incredibly powerful. Dynamite in a small package, it features a full strength mode, dimming and strobe effect. That’s about all you need on the trails really. You hardly notice that you’re wearing it, but with a three-hour burn time, don’t head out too far with this little one.

Rating: 9/10

Black Diamond SPOT S17 Headlamp; image by Ram Mountaineering

Black Diamond No. 2: SPOT S17

Price: R750.00

Battery life: Thirty-hour burn time on high (175 hours on low), three AAA batteries.

The nitty-gritty: This baby features seven different light modes, including red night vision. It’s not as comfy as the mini IOTA, but it sits nicely on your head, doesn’t slip and it’s not too heavy. Bonus: it also sports that useful waterproof feature. With more power than the IOTA and a 30-hour burn time, this headlamp is great for long trail runs and hikes. And it’s called “spot” for a reason: the strong, focused beam is super-useful for close-up activities that require serious illuminating.

Rating: 7/10

Black Diamond REVOLT Headlamp; image by Ram Mountaineering

Black Diamond No. 2: REVOLT

Price: R1,095.00

Battery life: Twenty-five-hour burn time on high (180 hours on low), USB-rechargeable headlamp that also runs on standard AAA batteries.

The nitty-gritty: This headlamp works on batteries, which can be recharged – or simply charge using the handy USB cable. It’s also completely waterproof. While it also feels a little bulkier than the IOTA, the easily adjustable strap makes for a comfy fit. A proximity and distance setting allows you to choose your focus: a close-up on those roots about to trip you, or a wider beam to keep an eye on your surroundings. Like the SPOT S17, it also features red night vision. A useful three-level power meter means you can keep an eye on that battery level and won’t get caught out in the dark – but with a 25-hour burn time, there’s no need to rush your adventure.

Rating: 8/10

Black Diamond ICON Headlamp; image by Ram Mountaineering

Black Diamond No. 2: ICON BLACK

Price: R1,595.00

Battery life: Fifty-hour burn time on high (200 hours on low), 4 AA batteries.

The nitty-gritty: I tried this light out first because I was intrigued by the massive battery pack and wondered whether it would be comfy to wear. Surprise – it was! Even though it’s quite heavy with the battery pack attached (it is removable), it fits snuggly and the top strap carries all the weight, so it doesn’t slide at all.

This beastly light has a crazy-long burn time and can definitely be used for a stage race in the middle of nowhere. I guess that’s why I like it so much. It has red, green and blue night-vision modes for all situations. With a massive 500-lumen output, this light is the most powerful in the range. What’s more, it’s waterproof up to one-metre submersion. A little kloofing anyone?

Rating: 9/10

To check out more of the Ram Mountaineering range, click here. 

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