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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp
Test Series by Dawn Larsen

Initial Report - 20 April 2010
Field Report - 6 July 2010
Long Term Report - 10 September 2010
 
Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 49
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
 
Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last few years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for twelve years and I have kayak/canoe camped for five years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my sixteen year-old son.

  gizmo

 
Product Information
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.blackdiamondequipment.com
MSRP: $19.95 US
Listed Weight: 1.2 oz (34 g) without batteries, 2 oz (58 g) with batteries
Measured Weight without batteries: 1.3 oz  (36 g); with batteries: 2.125 oz (60 g)
LED Type : SinglePower
Lumens : 24
Max Distances : 25 meters
Max Burn Time : 100 hours
Batteries : 2 AAA (included)
IPX Rating : 4
Colors Available: Lava, Lime, Lunar Gray
Color Reviewed: Lava
3 year warranty

 
Initial Report
20 April 2010

Initial Impressions

This little thing is bright bright bright!  I love the Lava color.  It is very lightweight and incredibly bright for 3 LEDs.  It came in the day before I took off to go camping at Myrtle Beach State Park in South Carolina.  I thought I had included the instructions in my pack, but I hadn't, so my initial trial was intuitive.  When I got home and read the instructions, I found it can do more than what I experienced.

The greatest difficulty that I had with this product was getting it out of the cardboard packaging which was inside plastic packaging.  Once I did, after I tore the paper packaging, I easily installed the included batteries and turned it on. I really like the fact that it uses only 2 AAAs.  Since I was in my dining room, I turned it on to see if it worked and then threw it in my pack to take camping.

The colorful strap is not as substantial as other headlamps that I've owned. The lighter elastic band almost makes me feel like I'm not really wearing a headlamp.  The adjusters hold the band in place very well.

The light is on a hinge so that I can adjust the angle.  That works very well.
 
This product is only water resistant to 4 IPX, which means that water can be splashed on it from all sides, but it cannot be immersed.

  in pkg

Instructions
– The instructions are very clear and short because this product is not very complicated.  However, the instructions are printed in several languages so the instruction paper is substantial.  It doesn't matter though, because I can't see why I would need to take it with me.  The instructions explain operations modes:  full, dim, strobe; and how to get those to work. They also explain care and cleaning.
Once I got home and read the instructions and the modes absolutely work the way the instructions say they do.  
 
Initial trial –Though we camped in a campground, we camped toward the back, which was not lit at all.  The first time I put the Gizmo on to walk to the camp store at night, I was amazed at how bright it was!  I had Lasik surgery several years ago and though I had bad night vision before the surgery, the procedure seemed to make it worse.  The more light I can have, the better for me.  My previous experience with LED headlamps was that they are just not bright enough for me.  However, this one lit the way for both my son and me. Because I didn't read the instructions first, I accidentally got the strobe to work, but couldn't figure out how I did it. I don't think that I accidentally got the dim mode to work, or maybe I did and didn't know it.  It worked so much better then my son's headlamp did that he took it into the woods to look for wood.

There are three modes of operation: on, strobe, and dim.  I pressed the switch once to turn the headlamp on.  To put the Gizmo in stobe mode, I pressed the switch again once it is on.  To put it in dim mode, which dims the light gradually and then stops at a dimmer setting (from 24 lumens to 4 lumens), I depressed the switch and held it down.  The light dims, and the minimum level is reached, the light will flash and then reverse.  So (and it took me a while to figure this out), when you let go, it will stay on whatever level you let go on. The strobe function was the most difficult to figure out.  The instructions say to press the switch twice, but I had to pause between pressing it once to turn it on and pressing it again to operate the strobe feature.  My inclination was to press twice quickly, which merely turns it on and off.


I also hung it from the netting cord in my hammock to use as a reading light.  Because I can adjust the angle, it worked very well for reading too.

Summary
So far I really like this headlamp better than the 3 others that I have owned.  It is lightweight and very bright!  I will test for durability and battery life.

What I liked:
Very lightweight
Very bright

What I didn't like:
The packaging is difficult to open
 

Field Report
6 July 2010


Field Conditions
 
Myrtle Beach State Park in South Carolina - 4/16-18.  The weather was warm and clear, but very windy as this campground is on the beach just behind the dunes. Temperatures were about 87 degrees F (31 C) during the day and about 55 degrees F (13 C) at night.  I used my sleeping hammock for one night and a backpacking tent for the other.

Maggie Valley, North Carolina in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains - 5/13-15.  The weather was humid with intermittent showers with temperatures in the upper 80s (30 C) during the day and mid 50s (13 C) at night. I tied my sleeping hammock in the woods on a hillside behind a privately owned wilderness cabin.

Observations

This is one bright little light!  In a completely dark room in Guatemala, I would use this by my bed as a nightlight.  It illuminated the entire 8 x 8 foot (244 cm) room very well.  Same for the nightlight use in Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

It took a while for me to understand how I could get it to blink.  So I have to turn it on, then hit the button again. It is a good thing that I don't use this feature very much except when I ride my bike at twilight, because I have to fiddle with the light every time before I can get it to blink.  I also have not used the dim feature.  For me, I either want it off or on.

The angle adjustment works very well too.  It is easy to adjust it high or low whether it was on my head or on the bedside table.  It sits flat on a surface very well, so sometimes I would use it as a nightlight on a table for times that I had to find my way back to my room from the bathroom. I also used it in this way in my hammock.  I hung it on the line that holds the mosquito netting over my head.  Being able to adjust it helped me to use it as it hung.

The Gizmo is very lightweight. I forget that I have it on.  The headband is very comfortable and it doesn't slide down my head or squeeze too hard.  This was especially nice when I used it to read by in my sleeping hammock. It is also very compact and packs well in a backpack or a suitcase.  

What I like
lightweight
VERY bright

What I don't like
the blink feature is confusing
the dim feature is unnecessary so far


Long Term Report
10 September 2010


Field Conditions and Use
  • 3 hikes in Texas, late July - Short, 2 mile (3 k) trips at night along Barton Creek.
  • Weekend camping trip Forsyth, Missouri in August - The weather was warm, 80s F (23-27 C) at night, and clear.
  • 2 day backpacking trip, Buffalo River, Arkansas, August - The weather was much like Missouri, but it rained one night.
  • 8 day trip to Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August 21- September 7 - The playa is hot, 90-100 F (32-38 C), during the day and cold, 30s to 50s F (-1 to 10 C), at night.  The dust is very alkaline and permeates EVERYTHING.  The wind blows all the time.  There were two especially strong dust storms with winds up to 45 mph ( kmph), one at night.

Conclusions
This Gizmo is a great little light!  It is very lightweight and puts out a lot of light for 3 LEDs.  It performed very well on all of the hikes, dry or wet. The rain didn't seem to affect it at all. It adjusts easily and the pivoting head is very convenient.  It was very comfortable and never slipped or squeezed my brain.  

When I was at Burning Man, I used it in the dust every night.  About 3 days into the trip, it would only stay on for 5 seconds.  So I took it apart and tried to blow the dust out of the inside.  The playa dust is like very caustic talcum powder and it gets into everything.  That didn't work, but replacing the batteries did. This means that it only used one set of batteries in over 4 months.  I was really glad that it was adjustable because trying to use a headlight in blowing dust is much like trying to use car headlights in blowing snow.  I could alter the angle of the light and it helped to illuminate my way much better.  I also used it to make me visible on my bike, by switching it to blink mode.  I now know what I will use that mode for.  There was enough illumination to ride from the surrounding lights, but maybe not enough to make sure that chemically altered burners saw me.  Someone commented at one point, "you're very bright!"  I don't think they were talking about my intellectual ability.

Summary

The bottom line is, that I will continue to use this light as my main headlamp.  I like it so much better than my old one. I would absolutely recommend this little Gizmo.

What I liked
lightweight
VERY bright

What I didn't like
I still didn't use the dim feature

This concludes my long term report. Many thanks to Black Diamond and BackpackGearTest.org for providing the Gizmo headlamp for testing.





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Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp > Test Report by Dawn Larsen



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