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REPOST: Black Diamond Polar Star headlamp

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  • splitchard
    Thanks Jim for editing my owner review. Here is the updated version: Owner Review: Black Diamond Polar Star Headlamp Review date: April 18, 2005 Personal
    Message 1 of 2 , May 4 12:34 PM
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      Thanks Jim for editing my owner review. Here is the updated version:

      Owner Review: Black Diamond Polar Star Headlamp

      Review date: April 18, 2005

      Personal biographical information

      Name: Richard Christiana
      Age: 24
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5' 11" (180 cm)
      Weight: 165 lbs (74.8 kg)
      Email address: splitchard@...
      City, state, country: New Paltz, New York, USA
      Backpacking background: My first experiences were short weekend
      trips with a heavy pack over 40 lbs (18 kg) in the Adirondack
      Mountains of New York (NY). Since then I have had the opportunity to
      embark on longer backpacking excursions lasting up to two weeks, and
      I have become a subscriber to the remarkable benefits of ultra
      lightweight backpacking. I bring only essentials such as an
      oversized daypack with a tarp and a sleeping bag inside. My usual
      pack weight is about 20-25 lbs (9-11 kg) during the summer and 30-35
      lbs (14-16 kg) during the winter. I have worked as an outdoor guide
      where I lead backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing trips. I also
      have experience winter mountaineering and ice climbing on Mt
      Washington in New Hampshire, Mt Hood in Oregon, and the Catskill
      Mountains in NY.

      Product information

      Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment
      Year of manufacture: 2003
      Manufacturer web site: http://bdel.com
      Listed weight: 5 oz (150 g) without batteries
      8 oz (219 g) with batteries
      Weight as delivered: 5 oz (150 g) without batteries
      9 oz (255 g) with batteries
      Power source: 3 AA batteries (included)
      Burn time: 3.5 hours with the bright xenon bulb
      500 hours with the LED
      MSRP: $49.95 US
      - Hybrid headlamp including a bright xenon bulb housed in the
      middle of a reflector and one LED positioned to the side of the xenon
      bulb, both enclosed in a plastic lens
      - Plastic lamp housing can be tilted up or down in order to shine
      the beam of light where needed
      - Includes one extra bright xenon bulb that is stored inside of the
      lamp housing
      - Lamp turns on with a pushbutton on bottom of plastic lamp housing
      that can be used with gloves
      - Fully adjustable two strap headband construction with one
      wrapping around the circumference of the head and the other over the
      top of the head
      - Includes 3 AA batteries
      - Batteries are located in a separate pack from the headlamp and
      can be attached to a separate strap that can be placed around the
      waist or around the neck
      - Battery pack is wired to the lamp through a 3 ft (91 cm) long
      insulated electrical wire that wraps around from the back of the head
      to the lamp, connected to the headband by plastic clips
      - Bright xenon bulb shines a beam of light 328 ft (100 m)

      Field information

      Locations used: I have had this headlamp for two years and have used
      it for cooking, map reading, and route finding on winter
      mountaineering and peak bagging trips on Mount Washington in New
      Hampshire and the Adirondack Mountains of New York as well as for
      long day snowshoeing hikes. I have also used this headlamp on ice
      climbs in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
      Description of location: Rough trails, mountainous terrain, steep
      cliff face, with altitudes from 1,000 ft to 6,500 ft (300 m to 1,980
      Weather conditions: A lot of different conditions from rain, sleet,
      and snow. Temperatures of use range from –40 F to 35 F (-40 C to 2
      Comments: I have owned this headlamp for two years now and have used
      it mostly on extended (1 week or more) winter mountaineering trips.
      I have found the weight of the headlamp to be too heavy for use
      during the spring, summer, and fall. It is also a little too bulky
      and the detachable battery pack is too awkward for use during these
      seasons or for short winter overnight trips when battery power
      consumption due to cold weather is not an issue. I prefer to use a
      smaller, lighter headlamp with the battery pack located either in the
      lamp housing or on the back of the head. The headlamp has a
      pushbutton on the bottom of the lamp housing that turns it on and
      also switches from the bright xenon bulb to the LED. I have found
      that I can press this button even with gloves on, although it
      requires firm pressure. I also have had no problems with the
      headlamp turning on accidentally inside of my pack.

      This headlamp does a great job of conserving battery power during
      cold weather use. This is where the Polar Star really shines. I
      have had a problem with other headlamps that I have used with
      batteries dying very quickly due to cold temperatures (below
      freezing). Since I can place the battery pack of the Polar Star
      around my waist or neck, close to the body for heat, I have found
      that the life of the batteries is extended considerably. I have used
      this headlamp on a two week trip, starting out with fresh batteries,
      and I didn't need to change them for the entire time. It is possible
      that battery life in cold conditions could be extended with the use
      of lithium batteries, effectively negating the need to keep the
      battery pack close to the body for warmth, but I have not tried
      this. I have only used alkaline batteries. I have also had no
      trouble with the electrical wire getting in the way or getting caught
      on anything.

      Black Diamond states that the bright xenon bulb has a lifespan of
      about eight hours. While it is hard to estimate, since I am
      continuously switching from the bright xenon to the LED, I would say
      that I have used the bright xenon bulb for a total of nine to ten
      hours and I have not had to replace the bulb. I have found the
      bright xenon bulb to be too overkill for most activities such as
      setting up camp, cooking, map reading, and hiking on well marked
      trails. For these activities I always use the LED, which shines just
      enough light. The bright xenon bulb puts out a focused beam of light
      for about 300 ft (91 m), close to the manufacturer's stated specs. I
      switch to the bright xenon bulb when I am going to be bushwhacking or
      hiking on a hard to find trail. Black Diamond says that the Polar
      Star's LED will shine for 100 hours once the battery power has
      diminished enough so that they cannot power the bright xenon bulb. I
      cannot attest to this since I have not had to replace the batteries
      during any trip. I usually replace the batteries before setting out
      on any trip lasting over four days.

      I have also used this headlamp while ice climbing at night. The
      headlamp fit perfectly around my helmet and the battery pack was
      around my waist, away from the swinging of sharp ice axes. The
      headlamp and electrical wire did not obstruct my movements at all and
      the LED was all the light that I needed to see where I was swinging
      my ice axes and placing my ice screws.

      This headband is very comfortable, even when used for many hours.
      The elastic straps do not irritate my skin at all. The lamp housing
      is a little on the tight side which makes it a little sticky to tilt
      up and down. The upside to this is though that once fitted properly,
      the headlamp does not move or bounce at all during activities such as
      hiking, jogging, and ice climbing. The light stays right where I
      want it.

      I have really put this headlamp through some heavy use, and it has
      held up very well. It is made incredibly strong and the electrical
      wiring and connections are all still in perfect condition.

      Summary: All in all, this headlamp works great for longer winter
      mountaineering trips where battery conservation is important.

      o Has a detachable battery pack that can be worn close to the body
      to keep them warm
      o LED can be used for most activities and does not require much
      battery power
      o Very comfortable to wear on head
      o Very specialized for extended cold weather use and therefore it
      is not versatile
      o Heavier and bulkier than most hybrid headlamps that I have used
      o Can be awkward to put on and use because the battery pack is
      separate from the headlamp
    • colonelcorn76
      Hi Richard, Nice job. You can upload it to BGT s Test folder at this url: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/ Once you ve done this,
      Message 2 of 2 , May 7 6:34 PM
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        Hi Richard,
        Nice job. You can upload it to BGT's Test folder at this url:

        Once you've done this, please drop me a note so I can take a look at
        it. If everything checks out I'll give you a link you can use to
        upload it to BGT proper.

        If you require assistance with your upload, please ask in our Yahoo!
        support group, BGTFileUploadHelp @

        If this is your second approved OR you will also need to join:

        This is where everything related to Tests and Testing will be taking
        place. However, please don't stop writing Owner Reviews. The more
        Owner Reviews you write, the better you will get at report writing and
        this won't go unnoticed when Test Moderators are choosing testers.

        Thanks again for the good work.
        Edit Moderator

        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "splitchard"
        <splitchard@y...> wrote:
        > Thanks Jim for editing my owner review.
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