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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

BLACK DIAMOND MOXIE HEADLAMP
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - May 05, 2010
FIELD REPORT - August 19, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - October 11, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy@backpackgeartest.com
AGE: 59
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com
MSRP: US $29.95
Listed Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g) without batteries
Measured Weight: 2 oz (57 g) without batteries
Measured Weight: 3.5 oz (99 g) with batteries
Color Available: Crystal Blue and Pistachio Green
Color Tested: Crystal Blue
Other details: (from manufacturer's website)

* Batteries : 3 AAA included
* IPX Rating : 4
* Lumens : 55 (max setting)
* LED Type : DoublePower LED coupled with 2 SinglePower LEDs
* Position switch activates 3 modes plus dimming
* Max Distances : 40 m (DoublePower LED), 15 m (2 SinglePower LEDs)
* Max Burn Time : 100 H (DoublePower LED), 140 H (2 SinglePower LEDs)

Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Since the Moxie I received is a new version of the current Moxie, I had no expectations of the design prior to receiving it. That was good as my headlamp looks a bit different from the one pictured on the Black Diamond website.

The Moxie is quite cute! My 1 inch (2.54 cm) wide headband is colored in shades of blue and purple to violet. A modern flower graphic covers both the front/top and back/bottom. When loosened to the maximum length, the headband extends to approximately 29 inches (73.5 cm) and is made of a stretchy smooth elastic which is one piece looping through adjusting clasps.

The Moxie headlamp housing is relatively solid feeling and fits nicely in the palm of my hand. Made from a plastic like material, it is mostly a light blue with a small "Black Diamond logo" near the top front of the housing. Almost all of the front of the house is clear plastic which covers the LEDs. A good-size on-off switch is at the top front of the headlamp.

There is a plastic like semi-rotating hinge on the back of the headlamp housing through which the headband is threaded, attaching the headlamp housing to the headband. This hinge allows the headlamp to be positioned forward and downward.

While I know the Moxie is very light as far as headlamps go - goodness knows I used to have one of those huge lights with the battery packs that weighed a ton - when I first held the headlamp, I was thinking the headlamp housing with the batteries installed was rather heavy. Once I tried it on though, I didn't find the weight noticeable though.

The headband felt smooth and comfortable against my skin and the headlamp housing is curved to follow the contours of forehead.

In my experience, Black Diamond makes good stuff and the Moxie appears to uphold the quality I've come to expect. All hard edges are smooth and regular and the soft fabric is uniformly constructed with no visible defects.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Since I am testing a pre-release new and improved Moxie, I did not receive a user guide or directions. With the current model of the Moxie, Black Diamond encloses a very comprehensive manual covering both the Cosmos and Moxie Headlamps in multiple languages... The manual covers everything from installing the batteries, attaching and adjusting the strap and usage, to care, troubleshooting and spare parts information. Helpful graphics illustrate relevant steps.

Black Diamond also thoughtfully has the whole Moxie instruction manual in a PDF file on their website. I used the website pdf file and had no difficulty applying the instructions to my new and improved model...

As with any piece of gear, I'm always on the lookout for care instructions. Nothing too complicated with the current Moxie, simply:

1.) Clean and dry headlamp before and after each use and before storing. Do not use heat to artificially dry the headlamp. Open the battery compartment and let it air dry completely before storing. If the headlamp has been exposed to salt water, rinse with fresh water before drying.
2.) Use a mild soap and a fresh water rinse to clean the elastic strap.
3.) Do not clean in a washing machine, dishwasher or with a high pressure hose.
4.) Do not use abrasives substances on the headlamp.
5.) To clean corrosion on the battery contacts, lightly use a fine-grain emery board on the contacts.

TRYING IT OUT

Now to try out the Moxie! Without having any directions, I figured I could still easily insert some batteries and attach a headband. It seemed rather intuitive. All I had to do was push on a tab or something, right? Yeah, right. After I refused my husband's help and reduced him to barely-stifled giggles, I looked up the directions on the Black Diamond website. I can't say the directions were helpful - I'm not sure the lamp housing is the same on the "new and improved" Moxie as the previous model - but at least I knew I was more or less on the correct path. My problem, it seems, was being too gentle with the tab that opens the lamp housing. I was worried about breaking the plastic. I was especially concerned with the very fragile-looking hinges. I didn't break anything though (yet).

Once I had the lamp housing opened, I was able to see where the batteries would fit, but then had to go and find my magnifying glass to read the tiny, tiny indicators for which way each battery needed to be positioned. After the batteries popped out a couple of times, I finally closed it up with a nice sounding snap and tested to see if all was well by pushing the on-off switch.

BLINDED! Note to self - don't turn the headlamp on when it is facing my eyes!

Next, I needed to attach the headlamp to the headband. This I could do without directions. All I had to do was thread the headband sideways into the plastic semi-rotating piece attached to the back of the headlamp, twist and Voila! Adjusting the headband to fit my head was simply a matter of sliding the clasp right or left to tighten or loosen as needed.

Now that I had the Moxie ready to roll, I pushed the switch and uh-oh; - I blinded my husband who was sitting across the table from me. Wow! The Moxie is bright!

After being banished to the other side of the room, I played with the settings a bit. One push of the switch turns either the double power or the 2 single power LEDs on. Two more pushes changes the LEDs to the alternate setting. Once I've chosen either setting, holding down the switch gradually dims the light. Very cool!

Rotating the headlamp downward was very easy to do with one hand; it flicks forward to shine more towards my feet than straight in front of me. With my horrible night sight, I plan to be using this lot on the trail.

SUMMARY

After just a short inspection and try-on, I am happy with the comfort and style of the Moxie Headlamp's elastic strap and the minimal weight of the light itself. The quality of the Headlamp is excellent with no defects that I can determine. Placement of the switch is such that I can easily access it.

Proper operation of the various brightness settings will take a little getting used to, but I have plans for plenty of after dark activities and fun this summer.

This concludes my Initial Report on the Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp. See below for the results of my first months of testing.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Over the past 3 months, the Black Diamond Moxie really got around travelling with me through 5 states - Colorado, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan and Utah. I actually spent 8 weeks straight away from my home which gave me a good feel for how the Moxie behaves in varying climates.

The beginning of my trip found me in New Jersey in mid-May where it was unseasonably cool and very humid and/or rainy. Night-time temperatures ranged from 50 F (10 C) to 67 F (19 C) down the shore where I took 3 different walks - I can't really say I "hiked" - more like "strolled". Thanks to the overcast skies, it was even darker than usual. Terrain was sandy to boardwalks.

Next stop on my journey was mid-coast Florida. Lots of overcast skies, horrid humidity but fortunately, no rain on the 3 nights I took to the trails around the lakes near Palm City. I don't think temperatures ever went below 80 F (27 C) even in the wee hours of the morning - not that I was every out during the "wee hours". Generally, I was walking just after dusk after my grandkids were tucked into bed. Mostly, I was walking in grassy terrain with some sidewalks thrown in.

My three weeks in White Lake, Michigan were hot, hot, hot! Not a day below 85 F (29 C) and nights never cooled down much below 78-ish F (26 C). It rained a lot and I barely got in two hikes a week at night. These walks were all in a rural/suburban setting around the lake where my Michigan house is located. Very grassy, except when I'd mis-step and land in the water!

Blessedly, in mid-June, I finally got back to Canon City, Colorado where though it is still the hottest summer I can ever remember, it IS a DRY heat and not nearly as unbearable as the humid east half of the USA. Two or three nights a week, my husband and I take night hikes through our property to see what we can see, shake off the day's stress and just plain get some exercise after sitting at our computers all day. As soon as the sun dips below the mountains to the west, the temperatures also dip and by 9-10:00 pm, it's around 70-75 F (21-24C). I haven't hiked in the rain and the terrain varies from dry, dust to hard-packed dirt to loose scree to granite. All so beautiful to me!

So, in the field, I used the Moxie at least a couple dozen times for a total of 80 hours or so, but I estimate I probably also used it another 5 or 6 times rifling around strange rooms at night while on the road!


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Moxie works great! It's very easy to operate with the controls conveniently placed and big enough for accurate usage without being overly bulky. After a very short period of time, I was able to, without thinking, switch the Moxie through the various power settings.

I find the low beam to work best for me in close situations, such as around the campsite for cooking and such and in my tent. I use the bright power setting for hiking on the trail. In close quarters, I try not to blind my husband or other companions, so the low setting coupled with the ability of the Moxie to be tilted downward, is a boon. Reading is not something I do a lot of when hiking, but when I do check out trail maps and information, the low setting of the Moxie makes reading possible without having to contort my head to eliminate glare on the pages.

Since I suffer from night blindness, I need all the help I can get when venturing out at night. The Moxie throws out a nice bright beam of light and I can actually follow a trail without too much trouble. This is good; especially when nature calls and I really don't want company but would otherwise need a "guide"!

I am very pleased with the fit and feel of the Moxie on my head. It is light enough that I can forget it once I've put it on. The headband is soft and comfortable and has not caused me any undue sweating during this hotter than normal summer. No stretching, fraying, fading or staining has occurred despite the less than delicate care I've afforded it.

This past weekend, I did notice the batteries appear to be weakening and the light is dimming. I will be replacing the batteries before my next trip to Saguaro National Park in two weeks. I really didn't keep accurate records on times, but I will do so in the next two months.


SUMMARY

I really like the Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp! It is barely noticeable, weight-wise, when I'm wearing it, is easy to use and gives off adequate light in the situations where I tend to use a headlamp. I'm not as pleased with the amount of time the batteries lasted, but I can't say if that deficiency is due to the Moxie or me. During the long-term testing period of the next two months, I will be keeping a close watch on that to see exactly how long the batteries perform.

Now onto the last phase of testing after two more months!.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

In the last two months, I have used the Moxie Headlamp over a dozen times, mostly for one to two hour night hikes with my husband around our property and one overnight camp with our granddaughter. We really enjoy exploring in the dark when even the familiar valleys and ridges look so different from daylight views.

The terrain around our property is varied. We are in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at roughly 5600 ft (140 m) and the elevation goes up from there another 900 ft (23 m). Within our property there are valleys filled with cactus and prairie-type grasses, hills of sand to gravel to granite and lots of juniper and pinyon pine make up the landscape.

Temperatures have been quite warm this summer with daytime highs up to 104 F (40 C); however we are blessed with desert-like conditions where sundown produces almost immediate drops of 30 degrees or more. Over the testing period, temperatures ranged from 75 to 45 F (24 to 7 C).

We had no rain at all.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

My opinion of the Black Diamond Moxie hasn't really changed since I wrote my Field Report two months ago, I continue to be happy with the performance of the Moxie in the field. It is comfortable, easy to use and reliable. I can adjust it perfectly so it is snug around my forehead and yet does not leave ridge lines in my skin.

BD Moxie in tree
Easy to See, Easy to Use!
The light produced is bright enough for me to be able to not kill myself on the trail or in camp after dark. I always hike behind my husband - my leader at night - and he has a reflector on his pack. The Moxie really lights that up nicely, even on single power.

While I was not that wild about the distinctive coloring and patterned headband at first, I found it certainly does stand out, making it very visible even against a "busy" background as demonstrated in the picture at left. This is especially nice when the Moxie is "at rest" in a very crowded tent setting. Besides, both my granddaughters declared it a "cool" color!

I have also taken to keeping the Moxie on my nightstand at home and when and where ever I travel. On the single setting, it is great to use when trying to find my things without switching on a light that will wake my husband.


I changed the batteries just after I posted my previous Field Report. Changing the batteries was intuitive and very easy to do. During these last two months I tried to keep an accurate log of my usage of the Moxie so as to determine the battery life. I found that my (new) rechargeable batteries lasted just about 75 hours before starting to dim a bit. The dimming was not so bad as to be unusable, but still noticeable to me. As I previously mentioned I have bad eyesight and I need all the light I can get especially when outdoors in the pitch black darkness where I live and hike. Almost all of my Moxie usage was with the double power.

Over these four months of testing, the Moxie has not had a single materials failure - no broken pieces, fraying, fading or stretching of the fabric band or discoloration of the plastic housing. The quality is such that I expect it to last for years to come.

SUMMARY

The Black Diamond Moxie has been a great addition to my backpacking gear. It is lightweight, easy to adjust, very comfortable to wear and lights my way sufficiently in the dark. I feel more confident hiking at night when wearing the Moxie which says a lot as I'm visually impaired and need more light than the average person. While I didn't quite get the stated hours of usage with the batteries, I'm still happy with the battery life.

I certainly will continue to use the Moxie during all night-time activities in the future!

Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and Black Diamond Equipment for the opportunity to try out this neat piece of gear.

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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