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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp > Test Report by Kerri Larkin

BLACK DIAMOND MOXIE HEADLIGHT
TEST SERIES BY KERRI LARKIN
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - June 09, 2010
FIELD REPORT - August 16, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - October 19, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kerri Larkin
EMAIL: kerrilarkin AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 49
LOCATION: Sydney, Australia
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 284 lb (129.00 kg)

I've been a car-camper and bushwalker for thirty years. Mostly I do day hikes as my passion is photography, which means I walk very slowly! I've returned to walking after some years away due to injuries and I'm learning to use Ultralight gear (and my new hammock!). I've traveled most of eastern Australia, walking in landscapes as diverse as tropical rainforest, snow fields, beaches and deserts. My fortieth birthday was spent trekking in Nepal which was a truly life changing experience.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1

Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.blackdiamondequipment.com
MSRP: US$ Not Stated
Listed Weight Without Batteries: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Measured Weight Without Batteries: 2 oz (56 g)
Listed Weight With Batteries: Not Stated
Measured Weight With Batteries: 3.3 oz (92 g)
Claimed Lighting Distance: Up to 40 m (44 y) with DoublePower LED
Claimed Battery Life: 100 hours with DoublePower LED, 140 hours with two SinglePower LEDs
Colours Available: Pistachio Green, Crystal Blue
Colour Tested: Pistachio Green

From the Black Diamond Webpage:
The Moxie takes the powerful, high-value Cosmo platform and livens it up with feminine graphics.
One DoublePower LED coupled with 2 SinglePower LEDs emit 55 lumens (max setting)
Ultra compact batteries-in-the-front design uses 3 AAA batteries
Positron switch activates 3 modes plus dimming
Mode memory keeps headlamp in the same setting as when it was powered off
Protected against splashing or sprayed water from any angle (IPX 4)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

My Moxie arrived safe and sound in a tiny package, which gives an indication of how small this light is. As the New-and-Improved Moxie hasn't reached the market yet there was no retail packaging or instructions included.

The initial impression I had was that this headlight looked like so many others in shape and size, but WOW did it get hit with the colour-stick! I'm testing the Pistachio Green model which is, well, green. It could be mistaken for a camouflage jobbie from a distance, but it most definitely is not. Black Diamond appears to have listened to women and designed this headlight to be something we girls will enjoy wearing and using. Gone are the greys, blacks and downright macho tones of the headband, the rugged all-business black lamp bodies and in-your-face Grrr! of most headlights. This is, if not soft, at least softer.

IMAGE 2
The Headband goes with any colour fur


I'm a big girl and have struggled for a long time to not look like a bloke thanks to the limited clothing choices available to women who are not petite, so I applaud any company which tries to glam-up the hiking/camping scene a bit, without incurring a weight penalty. Black Diamond seems to have succeeded here, and while the Moxie is not something I'd wear to a cocktail party, it certainly lifts the spirits around a camp. Don't get me wrong, I don't wear makeup in the bush or need a hairdryer, but hey, some girls do. Surely it will be easier to encourage a partner to try hiking if they don't have to look like a boilermaker.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

No instructions were included as the Moxie has not been officially released yet, however, it's fairly intuitive in its setup. The lamp is easy to thread on to the headband, and feels very firm when in place. There's a very simple adjustment mechanism to loosen or tighten the headband and once adjusted, it stays put.

IMAGE 6
Adjustment buckles: easy to use and stay put.


Next came fitting the batteries. It took me a while to figure out how to get the back of the lamp unit to open, but once I did get it open inserting the batteries was fairly simple (although they did seem to want to jump out of their slots a bit). The case closes with a nice 'clack' to reassure it is actually closed.

So, batteries in, headband on, it must be time to try it out!

IMAGE 4
My Friend Totoro models the Moxie

TRYING IT OUT

I love this headlight! I was beginning to think I must've been a Conehead: almost every headband, Buff, or headlight I've ever tried has ended up in a little bunch on top of my head. The Moxie doesn't. It stayed calmly on my head, not moving. In fact, I was so thrilled I sat watching TV wearing my new headlight all evening. Sad ain't it?

The headband seems wide enough to easily carry the weight of the lamp unit, while spreading the load across the head. It also seems like it will prevent those bad hair days that come after wearing a headband, and can even be used to keep my hair out of my face. For the first time ever, I actually forgot I was wearing it a couple of times. This is high praise indeed.

Pressing the largish oval button on top of the lamp starts the blindingly bright main DoublePower LED, as I found out by looking directly at it. Note to self: don't do that again! Pressing the button a second time turns the lamp off. Pressing the button a third time starts the two SinglePower LEDs instead of the DoublePower LED. These SinglePower LEDs are noticeably less bright than the main LED, but seem like they will be more than adequate for most camp tasks, including reading in bed. Pressing the button for a fourth time turns the lamp of again. This cycle is repeated from the beginning by further presses of the button

IMAGE 3
Two SinglePower and one DoublePower LEDs: plent of light.


While one of the light modes is turned on, pressing and holding the power button causes a dimmer effect with the light output reducing quite profoundly as the button is held. Once it reaches maximum dimming, the light gives a quick flicker to let me know. Continuing to hold the button past this point starts the light output increasing back up to normal. Once I've got the perfect light output, I release the button and the light will hold at that point. Pressing and holding the button again will restart the dimmer effect.

The Moxie Brochure on the website says there is a "Memory Mode" which will restart the headlamp in the same mode as it was when last turned off. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to activate that mode as my Moxie simply cycles through the DoublePower then SinglePower LEDs each time I turn it on and off. This may simply be operator error, but is something I'll continue to investigate during the field testing phase.

TESTING STRATEGY

With winter truly upon us here in Australia, this is the perfect time to test a headlight. I'll be using my Moxie for all my camping trips over the next few months and have even found it to be perfect for a little light reading in bed at night when at home.

I have a number of short camps planned to test the claims that the Moxie is water resistant (can it survive a heavy dew?), and looking to see how good battery life is.

Most of my trips will be one to two nights due to the pressures of a new job, but I'll be using the Moxie to set up camp, as a cooking light, and for those middle-of-the-night perambulations. I'm also interested to see how this light will work for one of my favourite evening pastimes - spotlighting for wildlife. A light has to be fairly low powered to pick up eyeshine from mammals, which is where the dimmer feature will, forgive the pun, shine. Once I've found the animal I can turn the full force of the DoublePower LED on to see the animal in detail.

I'll also be experimenting with the dimmer function on both light settings to see how they affect my ability to walk safely at night.

SUMMARY

So far, the Moxie appears to be a great little headlight: it has a powerful beam, an incredibly comfortable headband, and an easy to use dimmer feature. Best of all, it looks way better than most headlights I've used.

I've not relied on a headlight previously, so I'm sure I'll have some interesting learning experiences ahead!

IMAGE 5
Low profile light unit + snazzy headband = sexy!


That concludes my initial report on the Black Diamond Moxie headlight. I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Black Diamond for the opportunity to test this light. Please check back in about two months to see my Field Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've been able to get away twice to use the Black DIamond Moxie Headlight in the last couple of months, which is way less than I'd planned on, but life has a habit of getting in the way of the best of intentions. Still, I feel I've been able to give the Moxie a fair test in that time, partly by using it on my outings, but also by using it at home.

My first big outing was for our Winter Solstice party, where a bunch of friends get together to watch the sun set on the Solstice day. As we only see some of these friends annually, its a great opportunity to catch up on what's happening so the talk continues well after dark. That's where the Moxie proved so valuable: as the cold of evening sets in I generally boil water for tea and coffee. This year I was using a woodgas stove, so it needed continual attention. With the Moxie comfortably sitting on my head I was able to see what I was doing and still use both hands for chopping wood or feeding the fire.

I used the Moxie for about three hours on a variety of power settings and it performed flawlessly. The low power setting is great for close work and prevents glare from being the problem it often is. On high power, I was able to carry stuff in both arms and clearly see the trail back to the car.

Being able to angle the light downwards meant I could easily get the beam where I needed it and could talk to my friends without blinding them.

My second outing was to Moonee Beach on the North Coast of New South Wales. Here I used the Moxie to navigate from my car to my hammock site, and to do a couple of short night walks. The Moxie was great for spotlighting night animals too. Using low power allowed me to find the eye-shine, then I could crank up the power to see the critter that was causing the eye-shine. Nice!

On both occasions temps were cool to cold, with the hammock camp getting close to freezing point both nights.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Black Diamond Moxie has been a real pleasure to use. As I noted in my Initial Report, the Moxie has stayed firmly on my head with no tendency to spring off like other headlights have in the past. I can comfortably, and confidently, look up, down or sideways without fear of the light ending up in my soup. The headband has stayed stretchy, with no tendency to sag or lose its stretch so far. I haven't needed to adjust the tension as it has stayed perfectly where I initially adjusted it to. That's been a real benefit. In fact, the headband has remained as comfortable as when I first put it on. It's flexible enough to contour to my head, but rigid enough that it hasn't bunched up or folded over.

The light unit remains unblemished even after a few weeks of rolling around in the back of my car unprotected. That's pretty amazing as there's enough rubbish in the back of my car to polish stones if they roll around! It's a good testament to the quality of this unit that it continues to look brand new despite my punishing it.

Light output has remained perfect. It's always been my habit to swap out batteries before going on any trip so I can't give really precise battery life figures for the Moxie, but I can say I used it for around ten hours with no obvious dimming.

The switch unit remains easy to operate either with bare fingers or while wearing gloves, and adjusting the light output has become second nature now. When walking, I tend to use a fairly low output so I don't blind myself too much. There's nothing worse than walking in a little pool of brilliant light and not being able to see much around me. I like to keep a sense of the Big Picture landscape as I'm walking.

Around the camp, the Moxie has been perfect for general camp duties, reading, cooking, and answering the call of nature. Wherever I look, there's light. I like that a lot. Still, I do like to have a lantern type light for general campsite illumination. The Moxie is great for looking into the bottom of cooking pots to see what's happening down there and makes cooking at night sooooo much easier. A moderate power setting is all that's needed for this.

I found it best to use a low to moderate power setting for reading as at full power the light is just too bright to be comfortable. There's just too much glare off the pages to be able to read easily. However, at full power, it's very easy to see well ahead on a trail, or to pick a good campsite in a large clearing.

The Moxie was perfect for setting up my hammock in the dark: everywhere I looked, there was light to see what I was doing. That's one of the real benefits of this type of light.

SUMMARY

I've found it really hard to come up with any problems with the Moxie. It simply does exactly what it says on the packaging, and does it well. Although the light output is not quite as powerful as my LED Lenser, the Moxie has more than enough light for virtually any situation. It stays on my cone-shaped head with ease, it works flawlessly, and it weighs a lot less than my Lenser. The only minor problems I had were with trying to open the battery case, which can prove difficult, and the fact that the batteries seem to want to spring out as soon as I open the case.

Part of the sales pitch with this light was its more feminine headband. Nobody has commented on the band yet, but I guess that it tends to be dark when I'm wearing it! As I've used the Moxie I've come to realise that, sure it's nice to have a nice band to look at when packing my gear, but it's certainly no deal-maker. I'd enjoy using this light regardless of the headband colour. Maybe I'm becoming less vain as I age?

In all, this is a quality item that is designed to do one job - provide light - and it does it with aplomb.

TESTING STRATEGY

I'm expecting to have much more time for testing in the coming months as I'm moving to an area just minutes away from a National Park. I'll be checking the headband for continued function and stretch as well as getting more of an idea on battery life. While I don't expect any surprises, I'll be wanting to ensure the switch gear continues to operate, and to make sure I don't have any future problems with that tricky battery compartment!

This concludes my Field Report on the Black Diamond Moxie Headlight. Please check back in approximately two months for my Long Term Report.

My thanks to both BackPackGearTest.org and Black Diamond for the opportunity to test the Moxie.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Black Diamond Moxie has accompanied me on another four trips recently: one weekend at the beach and four evening hikes through local bushland. Temps have ranged from around 20 C (68 F) in the early evening, to around 7 C (44 F) overnight. Conditions have been mostly fine although there was some mist on two of the walks and plenty of humidity every time. I've not had to try the Moxie in the rain but feel it would cope quite well with moderate showers as the case seems well protected, and its coped with my sweating! My travels have been pretty much at, or near, sea level.

Again, I've just tossed the lamp in the back of my car to give it some rough treatment between tests and it still looks like new.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've used the Moxie in the field for about 12 hours since my last report, and a further twenty hours at home, and have purposely not swapped out the batteries to see how long they last. So far I can't really say as the light shows no sign of dimming! That, to me, is a great attribute as it means I'm not so worried about having to change the batteries before each trip which saves money and reduces my carbon footprint.

I've used and abused the Moxie to see how it would cope with the rigors of a hard life on the road and I can honestly say I've been very impressed with this light. In fact, it's become my 'go to' light of first choice now. It's reliable, easy to use, and does everything that could be asked of it with dignity. It certainly weighs less than my other headlight and doesn't have an external battery pack, which makes it easier to manipulate on my head.

One of the things I initially loved about the Moxie was its wide, comfortable headband, and that hasn't changed during the test period. I've found it stays adjusted the way I left it with no signs of slippage when worn. It's still the most comfortable headband I've worn. I've also realised the wide band is great at wicking away perspiration (I sweat a LOT) and has helped keep the sweat out of my eyes. That's an unexpected bonus. There's no sign of wear, stretching or fraying on the band and the colour has remained true despite being exposed to hot sun in the back of the car.

Operating the controls has become second nature now and I find it easy to adjust between the high and low beams, even though it can be a bit frustrating at times to have to cycle between modes to get where I need to. Still, this is a minor quibble. The initial promotional material stated that this unit would 'remember' my last setting and come on at that power the next time I switched it on, but this is not the case. It always defaults back to the same setting and must be cycled to get back to where I was. It's a minor quibble and really doesn't detract from the Moxie's appeal.

While the super-ultralighters may scoff at the 92 g (3.3 oz) weight, there are some marked advantages over lighter headlights. Firstly, this is a rugged unit which I don't have to treat with kid gloves. Which brings up the second advantage: it's not a fidly little light with micro buttons. The Moxie can be operated with the thickest of ski gloves. Finally, it's not going to get lost easily, either in a pack or at a campsite, as it's very easy to see due to both its size and colour.

SUMMARY

All in all, the Black Diamond Moxie is a great headlight. Whether or not the 'girl-friendly' colouring will encourage someone to start hiking is a moot point as this light would suit virtually anyone. Kudos to Black Diamond for thinking outside the box with colouring and making the Moxie look as good as it works. Although I'm no fashionista, I actually enjoy wearing something that's not khaki or black.

This light does everything I need in a headlight, and does it with style. Operation is simple, battery life is great, it's comfortable, and it makes a lot of sense as a piece of kit. What more could a girl ask for?

This concludes my Long-term Report on the Black Diamond Moxie Headlight. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank BackPackGearTest.org and Black Diamond for giving me the opportunity to test the Moxie.

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

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