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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Iota Headlamp > Test Report by Kurt Papke
Black Diamond Iota Hadlamp
|6' 4" (193 cm)
|225 lbs (102 kg)
|kwpapke at gmail dot com
|City, State, Country:
|Tucson, Arizona USA
The Iota is an LED rechargeable headlamp designed for small size
|Year of manufacture:
|Country of origin:
Also available in Saltwater (aqua), Denim (blue), Nickel (gray), and black
|Listed: 1.9 oz (56 g)
Measured: identical to listed
When I turned on the lamp (it came fully charged), I frankly was
quite shocked at how bright it was for such a small and light
unit. I read the "getting started guide" and put it through
it's various modes. It is fairly straightforward, though
there are a fair number of things to remember if I want to use all
I strapped it on my head. This thing is really light!
The adjustable tilt on the lamp seems a bit "stiff", but perhaps
it will loosen up with use.
The light beam produced is quite wide - this is not a spotlight.
The cover for the charging plug opens quite easily with a
fingernail. I like the short length of the supplied USB
cable, compact and lightweight!
|Area surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona
Falls, Devil's Bridge
|5 mi (8 km)
Sunny, clear nights with 3/4 moon
|Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona
|10 mi (16 km)
|48-80 F (9-27 C)
Mostly sunny, wind gusts to 30 mph (48 kph) with 1/2 moon
|Monument Valley and Canyonlands NP in SE Utah
|N/A (car camping)
|Sunny, very windy with blowing dust, temperatures 50-85 F (10-29 C)
This was a 2-night car camping and day hiking trip to a
little-visited waterfall, and a highly-visited arch near Sedona,
Arizona. We camped both nights at dispersed campsites in the
Coconino National Forest. There was roughly a 3/4 moon on
both nights, so there was some ambient night lighting.
Nonetheless, I used the Iota both nights to traverse from the
campfire to my hammock and prep my sleeping quarters.
One of the things I noticed immediately was that although many of
the other campers had similar-sized headlamps, the Iota was much
brighter than any of the others. In fact, while we were
doing some chores such as putting out the campfire, I kept the
Iota trained on the work area for visibility while others did the
The Iota performed admirably on this trip - I had no issues
operating it in the field for the first time.
This was a car-camping trip to the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona. I used the headlamp mostly to traverse to/from the campfire, restrooms, and my shelter. I did have one frustration with the device on this trip: I wanted to dim the light to protect my night vision, but noticed that if I hold the button down it dims, but when it gets to minimum brightness it cycles back to brightening up again. I found it difficult, especially when bleary from sleep, to hit the minimum brightness level. I invariably overshot it. Other than this minor annoyance, the lamp performed very well.
I wore the headlamp the most amount of time on this trip, as we
spent a lot of time in the evenings around a campfire. The
very low weight of the device really helps with comfort - I hardly
knew it was there. The headband is nicely adjustable - just
a tug away from the center, and the strap snugs right up.
Overall, this is a very easy headlamp to wear.
This was an epic 6-day camping tour of Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Gooseneck State Park, and Canyonlands NP White Rim Trail by Jeep. I used the headlamp most mornings (I get up before dawn, much to the irritation of my fellow campers), and in-camp in the evenings. One of my fellow campers was so impressed by the small size and brightness of the unit that she wrote down the model name and manufacturer so she could buy one.
I didn't really stress the battery during the first two months of use, so I can't say too much about battery life because I never ran it down. On the other hand, the fact that I never had to recharge it in the field was a positive experience.
|July 29-August 6
Juan mountains between Durango and Silverton, Colorado
|45 mi (72 km) total across 7 hikes
|38-75 F (3-24 C)
Sun, rain showers, high winds
My feelings about this headlamp have not changed substantially
over the last two months - I love the small size and
brightness. The headlamp is comfortable and light enough on
my head that often forget I have it on. Battery life is good
with enough capacity for a full week of camping. I intend to
use this headlamp on all of my future backpacking trips where
weight is a consideration, and I do not need the extra
illumination of a more powerful beam.