Application to test Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp
I have read the entirety of The BackpackGearTest Survival Guide v.
1202, including Chapter 5. My tester agreement is on file. I agree
to comply with the testing and report requirements.
Date: May 2, 2006
Personal Biographical information -
Name: Pamela Wyant
Height: 5'5" (1.65 m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
E-mail address: pamwyant@...
Location: Western West Virginia, U.S.A.
Backpacking Background: Spring 2006 starts my third year of
backpacking. I've progressed from day-hiking and single overnights
my first year, to weekend trips the second, and finally to a 7-night
trip on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia this year. I hike and
backpack mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, and use a
hammock sleeping system. For a two-day trip my typical pack weighs
22-30 lb (10-14 kg) including consumables, and I'm still trying to
lighten that a bit.
Proposed Field Conditions
Considering the test selection process and time necessary for
notification and shipping, I would anticipate this test beginning in
late May to mid-June. Testing of this headlamp would mostly be in
West Virginia, on backpacking trips in the mountainous eastern
region of the state with elevations from 2500 to over 4000 ft (750
to over 1200 m) and temperatures that would likely range from lows
in the 30 F (0 C) range to highs up to the 90 F (32 C) range. I
would also be using the Cosmo headlamp during numerous weekend or
week-long Girl Scout camp events in the eastern/central part of the
state (approximately 19 nights planned for June, July, and August)
and likely in the New River Gorge area camping at a whitewater
rafting outfitter, with elevations in these areas ranging from 550
to 1000 ft (150 to 300 m) where temperatures would likely be
somewhat warmer. Rainfall is usually ample in West Virginia, with
normal monthly levels ranging from 3-5 inches. Humidity levels
during the late spring and summer in West Virginia are often high,
so it looks like there would be plenty of damp or wet conditions to
test the water and corrosion resistance of this headlamp.
Background information pertinent to this test
I've tried several different styles of small LED lights, headlamps,
and standard flashlights, and like different ones for different
functions. I have several small squeeze-on lights which are light
weight but inconvenient for anything but a quick peek at something
due to having to maintain pressure on the light to keep it on and a
limited amount of light emitted. I have a couple of headlamps I use
when backpacking, which I like for the convenience of being hands
free and easy to use, but have found a problem with each I've used.
One had a fussy switch which came on by itself in my pack a few
times, and was rather delicate as I recently found when the hinge
pin came out and was lost somewhere along the way, leaving me with a
headlamp that couldn't be secured to my head. After getting a
replacement pin, it now appears this headlamp has quit working
entirely after only a couple of years of use. Two others I own have
worked so far, but one of them has a switch that is very small and
difficult to find by feel. (And when it's dark out, that's pretty
well the only way to find one!) This headlamp uses coin cell
batteries, so the light isn't as bright as my other headlamps, and
batteries don't last as long as the expected battery life of the
Cosmo. My current favorite is a nice lightweight headlamp with two
LED bulbs, but it uses an odd sized battery I have been unable to
find locally, much less at the limited convenience stores close to
trailheads. hen there are the inexpensive no-name flashlights and
the more expensive brand name mini-flashlights. The first don't
usually last long before cracking and becoming useless; the second
last longer but have a bad habit of turning themselves on in my pack
or camp duffle. Battery life isn't particularly good with either of
these and when using a flashlight, I often find myself stuck with a
dim glow instead of a nice bright beam.
Can the Black Diamond Cosmo provide a better solution? Four LED's
should provide superior brightness, and 75 hours at maximum, 150
hours at minimum brightness should be more than ample lighting for
My current plans for backpacking trips include: a 2-night trip to
the Canaan Valley area in the eastern mountains of West Virginia at
the end of May, a two-night trip in western Virginia in mid-July, a
2-night trip to the Otter Creek are of the Monongahela National
Forest in eastern West Virginia at the end of August, and a 2-night
trip to the Seneca Creek Section of the Monongahela National Forest
in late September. I would also test the Cosmo at all my Girl Scout
camping events, which from June to August include at least 5 weekend
camps of one to two nights, a 4-night camp in June, a 4-night camp
in mid-July, and a 3-night camp in August.
I would also try the headlamp for home uses as those arise.
Unfortunately, having only dial-up internet connection prevented my
being able to download the Black Diamond video on the Cosmo for more
than the basic information, so some of my test questions might have
answers there, but I figure there are lots of others with the same
slow internet connection who might want those questions answered in
a review anyway!
For my initial report, I would be reporting on the size and weight
of the headlamp, its appearance, the materials used, and the
apparent quality of construction. Issues I would be looking at
include: Does the actual weight match the advertised weight? How
easy is it to operate? Can I easily switch between low, medium,
high, and strobe output? Do I have to cycle completely through to
get the headlamp to turn off, or is there a shortcut? Just how
bright is it compared to other lights I currently use? (No specific
brands will be mentioned, just general impression of how it does
versus a squeeze light, headlamp, or a small flashlight.) Is a
certain type or brand of batteries recommended? Is the headlamp
comfortable on my head? Is it easy to adjust the band and the tilt
headlamp? Is the light level comfortable to read by in a quick test?
For my field and long term reports, I will look at performance,
durability, and functionality of the Cosmo headlamp. Have I
experienced any problems with it? Does the light remain
consistently bright even as the batteries drain down? Do the
batteries last as long as claimed? I'm willing to test both low and
high output claims if possible. Of course, with sleeping and work,
testing output level of 75-150 hours might prove a little hard to do
accurately, but I'll do my best, even if it means setting alarms to
remind me to go check it. Has the headband stretched out, or the
lens become badly scratched from normal use?
Other questions I hope to answer over the course of the test: Is
the low setting soft enough to be comfortable to read by but bright
enough to use for camp chores to extend battery life? Does the high
setting provide enough light for a night hike? What activities are
best done in the mid-setting? Has it always felt comfortable and
balanced on my head or does it make my head feel compressed and
achy, or overly hot? Does it tend to slip while doing chores or
walking around or does it stay in place? Can I use it slipped down
around my neck to provide a softer light when I'm socializing with
others, instead of having the light glaring into their eyes, or
better yet, will the tilt feature adjust far enough down to avoid
blinding others while still on my head? If tilted down, does it
make my eyes hurt from having the light directed at them? Can I
wrap it around my wrist and have usable, focusable light if I don't
want it on my head? Can I set it down and use it as an area light?
Is it bright enough to easily penetrate the dark depths of the
interior of my backpack even during the day? Can it be used in
the pouring rain without harm? What if I've accidentally dropped it
in a puddle does that affect how it works? Has anything (like the
hinge pin, the switch, or the headband) broken off or come apart?
Is the switch easy to operate? Does the light accidentally turn on
inside my pack and run down the batteries? Does colder weather seem
to affect performance? Do certain batteries perform better than
I will of course describe a variety of conditions and locations the
headlamp has been used in, my overall impressions, and whether I
plan to continue using the Black Diamond Cosmo after the test
Recent completed test series:
LuxuryLite Travel Pillow
AntiGravityGear Universal Alcohol Stove Accessory Pack
In addition to these two recently completed test series, I have
completed test series on:
Dunham Waffle Stomper Terrastyder Low shoes
Grabber Performance Group Warmers
Imlay Canyon Gear Canyon Knife
Brunton Glorb Lantern
Dunham Alcatraz shoes
DeLorme Earthmate GPS LT-20
I have completed a total of 7 owner reviews, 3 of which were in
response to monthly calls for owner reviews.
Link to all my completed reviews & reports:
Big Sky Products Warm-N-Cozy Epic Jacket initial and field reports
complete. Long term report due June 13.
Big Sky Products Warm-N-Cozy Epic Pants initial and field reports
complete. Long term report due June 13.
Big Sky Products Warm-N-Cozy Better-than-Fleece convertible jacket
initial report complete, field report due June 13.
Black Diamond Mountain Series Enduro CF Hiking Poles initial
report complete, field report due July 4.
Granite Gear Stratus Latitude Pack initial report complete, field
report due June 27.
Klearwater Water Treatment initial report complete, field report
due May 30.
Current applications out: Lawson Blue Ridge Camping Hammock
Other BackpackGearTest activities:
Currently monitoring Duofold Multisport Mid-Layer Jacket test and
Suunto Vector test
Mentor program (currently as mentor, formerly as mentee)
Owner Review editor
Past tests monitored:
Spenco Backpacker Footbeds
I have sufficient time to test and report on both the Black Diamond
Cosmo headlamp and the Blue Ridge Camping Hammock if selected, in
addition to completing tests and reports on my current test series.
Testing the headlamp will not conflict with any current tests. I
have demonstrated I can handle multiple tests at the same time,
while submitting reports in a timely manner.
I would like to thank BackpackGearTest for providing opportunities
to test a variety of gear, for all the help given me in the process,
and for the chance to apply for this test.