REPOST - OR BLACK DIAMOND ICON HEADLAMP -- Ken Norris
- Owner Review: Black Diamond Icon Headlamp
Date: December 17, 2007
Name: Ken Norris
Height: 5' 5" (1.65 Meters)
Weight: 170 Pounds (77 Kilograms)
Email address: kenjennorris@...
City, State, Country: Carnation, Washington, USA
Backpacking Background: I have been hiking and backpacking for the
past ten years, going on the occasional overnighter or day hike. In
the past year or so, I have begun night hiking and long day hikes
(twenty miles [32 km] or more). These trips center on Washington's
Central Cascades, supplemented with some trips into Oregon's gorge
and outback regions terrain characterized by steep inclines
and "moist" conditions.
Field Conditions: The primary field conditions apply to the Central
Washington Cascades. Moderate temperatures: spring, summer, and
fall from down to 30 F (-1 C) up to 85 F (30 C). Typically a wet
climate. Always at night (for obvious reasons). Most of the
trekking occurred on steep trails on varying terrain, from soft pack
trails to scree fields. Some excursions consisted of night-long
hikes of ten miles or more and trail runs, varying from clear
moonlit nights to fog-socked blindness of only eight feet (2 m) of
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Bulb type: 1-3 watt LED/4-superbright LEDs
Weight (w/ batteries): 7 ounces / 198 grams
Maximum beam distance: High: 100 meter (328 ' 1.01 '') / low: 50
meters (164 ' 0.50 '') (per the manufacturer)
Brightness levels: 6
Beam type: Fixed / focused
Battery life: at 70 degrees F (21.11 C) High: 80 / low: 140 hours
(per the manufacturer)
Batteries: 3 AA (included)
MSRP: $59.95 USD
The headlamp comes with typical features, like a headband and a
strap that crosses over the top of the head all of which are
adjustable (the top strap is easily removed). Plastic parts are a
light gray, while the elastic bands are black with a white design.
A cord runs from the battery pack (attached at the back) along the
right side of the head to the bulbs at the front. The bulb housing
at the front is vertically adjustable to seven different positions.
A single button on the bottom of the bulb housing activates either
the 3-watt LED beam or the four 1-watt LEDs that frame the 3-watt
bulb. Fully depressing this button switches between the beam or the
four 1-watt LEDs (NOTE: all five beams may not be activated
simultaneously). Slightly depressing this button within a
particular mode changes the brightness level: three levels for the
3-watt beam, four levels for the four 1-watt lights (one of these
levels is the strobe, which causes the four 1-watt LEDs to blink).
Key Features: Here are some of the key features:
- removable top strap
- compatible with helmets
- six brightness levels
- excellent battery life
- one strobe setting
I have used the Icon for eight months, taking it on numerous trips
and even storing it in my glove box in anticipation of a flat tire.
My first experience with the Icon occurred on Rattlesnake Ridge, a
popular day hike through dense woods and on to a granite ridge. I
experimented with both the four 1-watt LEDs and the one 3-watt LED.
I quickly realized that the four 1-watt setting worked for hill
climbing, as long as the pace is mild and there is no competing
light source. The 3-watt setting provided a focused beam about four
feet wide (1 m) that allowed me to pick up the pace.
This first excursion prompted me to revisit Rattlesnake Ridge for a
longer trek 12 miles (19 km) and over one thousand feet (305 m) of
elevation gain in a dense fog. With visibility at a minimum (about
eight feet [2 m] thanks to the fog), I discovered the versatility of
the Icon. In order to get my bearings, I would use the four 1-watt
setting. It lit up my immediate area. But when it came to keeping
track of the trail, the 3-watt setting was optimum: it cut through
the fog to the greatest degree possible considering the
The four 1-watt LEDs proved their usefulness yet again during a trip
to Montana in the Bozeman area. I was crewing for some friends'
adventure racing team, so I had to set up camp at a new location
every day, often at night. The Icon made setting up my tent in
terrain I had not seen during the day easy. At one point I arrived
at a trailhead at around ten p.m. I noticed some tents silhouetted
thirty yards (27 m) from the parking lot. The Icon helped me find a
level area without waking up other teams, thanks to the lowest
brightness setting. At another leg of this experience I used the
brightest setting of the four 1-watt LEDs in order to read a book.
My second extended use of the Icon (the first being my traverse of
Rattlesnake Ridge) was on a section of the Pacific Crest Trail by
Snoqualmie Pass in the Central Cascades. Because we hiked through
the night, I had the Icon on for about ten hours. This time I
reached an elevation of roughly six thousand feet (1829 m), which
meant negotiating rough trails that required some trail blazing and
finding secure footing in scree. The Icon proved itself a comfort.
I never once felt that the darkness was an issue, even when the
trail seemed to disappear or finding my footing required a keen eye
for potentially loose rocks. This trip also opened my eyes to the
ease with which the Icon fits over a hat the bill did not
interfere with the quality of the beam directly below thanks to the
seven vertical positions.
My successes with the Icon even prompted me to try it as a bike
light. Sadly, the 3-watt beam just is not wide enough, nor does it
project far enough for the quick speeds associated with downhill
mountain biking at night . . . but I digress from the realm of
hiking and backpacking.
I used the Icon with this same set of three Duracell batteries on at
least three times the number of adventures I have described so far.
I never noticed a change in brightness. In fact, the indicator
light on the battery pack continued to register green the highest
level up until the point that I installed new batteries out of a
sense of curiosity. There was no difference in brightness between
these new batteries and the old. I estimate I have used the
original batteries between thirty and forty hours, yet the green
light continues to burn. Amazing.
Things I Like:
The comfortable elastic straps (I forget I'm wearing it, even while
The 3-watt LED
All seven vertical positions
Long battery life
Things I don't like:
The large battery pack
Not being able to activate all five lights simultaneously
I continue to marvel at the brightness of the Icon, coupled with its
battery life. I've set up tents with it in total darkness by
myself. I've experienced its endurance during night long hikes; it
never lessened in its brightness despite constantly being on. I've
hiked in conditions of near zero visibility due to fog, and the Icon
pierced through the vapors.
- Hi Ken,
OK, this looks good. Please place a HTML copy in the Owner Review
Test Folder. It is found at the end of the list of reviews on the
main page or here;
The free BGT Report Writer for HTML creation may be found here;
If you require assistance with your upload, please ask in our Yahoo!
Please let me have a link to the review or at least the name once you
have it uploaded.
- Hi Ken,
I found your HTML and it looks good. You can put it in its new home
Log in to BGT, and then navigate to that folder. Click "Upload File,"
be sure to select the "Owner Review" button, and follow the
instructions to upload your HTML file and pictures.
Thanks for the review, now it's time for number two!