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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp > Test Report by Pamela Wyant

BLACK DIAMOND EQUIPMENT MOXIE HEADLAMP

Initial Report - May 5, 2010
Field Report - August 17, 2010
Long Term Report - October 12, 2010
Follow up Report - November 5, 2010

Black Diamond Equipment Moxie

Tester Information:

Name:  Pam Wyant
Age:  52
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight:  175 lb (79 kg)

E-mail address:  pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
Location:  Western West Virginia, U.S.A.


Backpacking Background:

I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including backpacking,
day-hiking, car camping, and canoeing.  Most of my excursions
are confined to weekends, although I try to fit in at least one
longer backpacking trip each year, and have started section
hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 300 mi
(483 km) so far.  My style varies with the activity, but since
becoming a lightweight backpacker, I've noticed I tend to pack
somewhat minimally even on trips where I have more space.
Still, I don't like to sacrifice warmth, comfort, or safety.


Initial Report - May 5, 2010

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment

Model:  Moxie

Year of manufacture:  2010

Advertised weight:  44 g (1.6 oz) without batteries
Measured weight:   58 g (2.05 oz) without batteries
                              92 g (3.25 oz) with batteries
                             
Lumens:  15 max

MSRP:  $29.95 USD

Website:  www.blackdiamondequipment.com
The Moxie opened

Product Description:

The Moxie is a light weight headlamp geared specifically toward women.  I am testing the 2010 model, which is different in appearance than the one shown on the Black Diamond website at the time of this report. 

The body of the 2010 Moxie is an attractive pale blue color with a gray back and hinge.  The Black Diamond logo and name appear at the top front of the lamp.  The rear of the lamp features a hinged attachment piece for the headstrap.  The 1" (2.5 cm) wide elastic head strap features a multi-colored pattern of light blue, medium blue, fuschia, and purple.  The strap has two plastic slide-style buckles to allow for adjustment.  One buckle remains stationary, while the other can be slid back and forth to adjust the length of the strap.  I was rather surprised at how freely the buckle slid while I was holding the headlamp in my hands, however once I placed it on my head, the tension kept the buckles in place without sliding.  The strap will adjust from about 16" (41 cm) to 27" (69 cm), not including the stretch of the elastic.

The headlamp features a large central LED, listed at 1/2 watt, flanked by two smaller LED lights, one to each side of the larger LED.  A silver metallic material surrounds the actual lamps to provide additional reflection, and the area is protected by a clear plastic cover. The wattage of the smaller LED lights is not listed; Black Diamond describes them as SuperBright LEDs in the online instruction manual. 

A purple push button switch is located on the top of the housing.  The switch is slightly recessed, but the center portion is raised to be about the same level as the top of the housing.  The button is easy to push, requiring very little effort.  This should make it easy to switch the lamp on and off while wearing it, but I do have some concern as to whether it will just as easily turn itself on inside my pack if bumped just right, since it is so easy to switch on.

The Moxie uses 3 AAA batteries.  The online instruction manual provides a lot of information about battery life, based on the various settings and  which lamp is used, with a minimum stated time of 58 hours and maximum of 200 hours.  The directions do go on to state that battery life can depend on a number of factors, including brand and freshness of batteries, temperature, and recovery time (basically the rest time between uses).  Information is also provided about illumination distances (basically from 7 to 38 meters or 23 to 125 feet).

Trying it out:

Opening tab, strap attachmentThe Moxie arrived unattached from the headstrap.  I found this a little surprising, but it was easy to assemble the strap to the headlamp without  reading any instructions, although they are provided in the online manual if I had needed them.  The strap basically passes through a slot in the back of the strap holder hinged to the lamp body.  One neat thing I found out by reading the instructions is that the lamp can also be attached to pack webbing or a belt of similar width to the headband. 

Figuring out how to install the batteries was a little trickier.  I looked the lamp over searching for a slot to give an indication where it opened, but couldn't find anything at first glance.  A closer examination gave me the idea that it might open at the bottom, where a tab of the light blue material fits into the gray backing.  Sure enough, by sliding my thumbnail under the tabbed area, I was able to pop the bottom of the lamp open, as shown to the right.   Details of the hinge and how the strap attaches are also shown in this photo.

The back comes off at both top and bottom once opened, but is held together by small straps that appear to be made of a material similar to old-fashioned 35 mm film.  This can be seen in the photo below.

The battery compartment is marked with embossed + and - symbols so the batteries can be properly inserted.  I had to sort of tilt the lamp to view the symbols very well, as they tend to blend in with the shiny black plastic of the compartment.  If I were changing batteries in dim light, I would probably need to borrow a companion's light or have a pinch light back-up to assist in viewing the markings.

Close up of lamp interiorThe batteries slid into place easily, and the back was easy to replace, by simply sliding the top portion into place first, and then snapping the little blue tab closed at the bottom.  Then of course, human nature took over, and staring at the lamp to see if it would work, I pressed the switch.  Yep - that big center LED sure worked well.  I was seeing spots in front of my eyes for about the next hour! 

One thing that appears to be different about the 2010 model is the way it opens, since the online manual says the bracket can be rotated past 90 degrees to help open the door tab.  I tried this, but couldn't get it to work, and it felt as if the hinge would break if I pushed it past 90 degrees, so I did not persist.  Speaking of the hinge, it appears to be very cleverly designed.  It has small notches, and a tab on the headstrap holder fits against the hinge in such a way that it has a little resistance at each notch, which seems to help hold the lamp in the desired position better than other hinged headlamps I have used.

Another thing that seems different is the way the switch operates.  I could not get it to work in the manner described in the online manual, which instructs using half depressions to adjust the brightness.  However I did find that holding the switch down caused the lamps to dim incrementally, and when the desired level was reached, releasing the button caused the lamp to stay on at that brightness level.  Although the manual describes a strobe mode, I could not access that function.

Preliminary Impressions:

Having used a tiny pinch light over the last couple of years as my primary backpacking light, the Moxie seems very bright to me.  I have grandchildren that may soon be backpacking with me, and I occasionally lead beginner trips, so I think the Moxie will be very useful on these type of trips where a brighter light than my minimalist pinch light might be desired.  In particular, I think it would be especially nice if anyone become sick or otherwise needs help during the night.  So far, I'm pretty pleased with the light weight of the Moxie for the amount of light it provides.  I look forward to getting it out in the field to see if I enjoy the extra light enough to keep carrying it on every backpacking trip, and to see how well the batteries last.

Summary:

The Black Diamond Equipment Moxie Headlamp may be light in weight, but it doesn't sacrifice on brightness.  The unit appears to be sturdy and well designed, with some thoughtful features such as being able to clip it onto pack webbing or a belt, a uniquely adjusting hinge, and an attractive, feminine look.

Field Report - August 17, 2010

Field Locations and Conditions:

Ramsey's Draft area of George Washington National Forest, Virginia, May 2010 ~ 17 mi (27 km) overnight backpacking trip (hammocking).  Night time temperatures ranged from freezing to the low 40 F range (0-5 C), with heavy wind.

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, May 2010 ~ weekend (2 night) tent camping.  Overnight temperatures were around 60 F (15 C), daytime up to around 80 F (25 C).

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, May 2010 ~ overnight lodge camping.  Overnight temperatures were around 60 F (15 C), daytime up to around 80 F (25 C).
.
Cranberry, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, May 2010 ~ 25 mi (40 km) weekend (2 night) backpacking trip.  Overnight temperatures were in the 50 F (10 C) range, daytime in the 70 F (20 C) range, with high humidity.

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, July 2010 ~ weekend (2 night) lodge camping.  Night time temperatures in the upper 70 F range (around  25 C), daytime up in the 90 F (30 C) range.

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, August 2010 ~ weekend (2 night) tent camping.  Night time temperatures in the lower 70 F range (around 20 C), daytime in the 90 F (30 C) range.

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, August 2010 ~ overnight camping in half cabin.  Night time temperatures in the mid-80 F range (around 30 C), daytime mid-90 F (35 C) range.

Use and Conclusions:

With day light extending into the later evening hours over the test period, I have not really used the Moxie for any cooking chores or camp set up.  I have used it for late night bathroom trips, gathering gear from the communal fire ring before bedtime, settling into my tent to sleep (organizing gear, locating clean socks, taking out my contacts, etc), and finding things in my pack or duffel.

I've also used the Moxie to walk a few girls that forgot to bring flashlights to their tents at Girl Scout Camp, to check the fire ring area for lost and found items or litter, and a bit of reading.  The Moxie has provided ample light for all of these needs, and doesn't show any signs of  the batteries dimming so far, as I would expect with an estimated 12 or so hours of use so far.  The switch is convenient to operate, and I have not yet had it come on accidentally either in my backpack or in my camp duffel.

The one gripe I have is the adjuster on the headband.  It has been very irritating to have to constantly adjust the headband every time I put it on, as the adjuster does not stay in the same spot when removed, but slides freely around.  I would like to see a buckle that retains some tension so I don't have to fiddle with the strap each time I put the headlamp on, as I often lower my headlamp from my forehead to wear it necklace style when I want to keep it handy, but don't really need the light at the moment.

Once adjusted, the strap is comfortable, and the Moxie seems to be well balanced and at a good angle for walking when positioned with the hinge closed, and can be adjusted to various angles to provide optimal lighting for reading or close-up tasks.  So far the hinge stays securely in place when adjusted.

One plus that I have discovered is that the bright strap and housing make the Moxie easy to locate in my pack or duffel. 

Summary:

The Moxie provides nice bright lighting for general camp use, is comfortable to wear, and easy to adjust the angle of the light.  The bright housing and strap make it easy to find inside the dark interior of a pack or duffel.   The adjuster on the headband would be more useful to me if it retained the setting I like instead of sliding freely each time the headlamp is removed.

Long Term Report - October 12, 2010

Field Locations and Conditions:

Roaring Plains section of the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, September 2010 ~ weekend backpacking trip with 3 mi (5 km) of easy trail into a base camp, 13 mi (21 km) rugged day hike, and a 3 mi (5 km) return trip to trailhead.  Temperatures in the 40 F to mid 70 F range (around 5 C to 25 C).  Dry weather, with high wind the first night and high humidity the second night.

Watoga State Park, West Virginia, September 2010 ~ weekend cabin stay.  Temperatures in the 40 F to 80 F range (around 5 C to 25 C).  Dry weather, low humidity.

Use and Conclusions:

With daylight still extending into the 7 pm range, I did not need to use the Moxie for cooking or setting up camp, but used it to walk from my tent to the communal campfire and back, for late night bathroom trips, situating my gear in my tent, and a bit of reading and journaling on my backpacking trips.  On the weekend cabin stay it was used for walking back and forth to evening programs and a large group campfire, and to find a few small items in the interior of my black duffel bag.  I estimate I used it an additional 3 hours during the last two months, and I have not yet had to change the batteries.  The light still seems amply bright, and I don't anticipate changing the battery for several more weekend trips, although I do carry a spare set 'just in case'.

The headlamp has been easy to adjust to suit the task at hand and the hinge has continued to stay securely in place once I adjust the lamp to the desired angle.  The soft elastic headband is still very comfortable, but as I've used it more it has become even more of an irritant to readjust it each time I take the lamp off and put it back on.  This could so easily be solved by a different adjustment system that would retain the strap position when the lamp is taken off the head, and I am really surprised the freely sliding system was ever used in the first place.  I often found myself just holding the lamp in my hand instead of putting it on, simply because I didn't want to fuss with the strap to use it for a short while.  One good thing was that the strap was comfortable to wrap around my wrist or wear around my neck when I didn't need light but wanted to keep it close at hand.

The Moxie packs easily, and the bright color and shape make it easy to find inside my pack or duffel even when the light is dim.  The weight is minimal for the good lighting it provides.  I could easily see to navigate paths for late night trips outside my tent, even without my contacts in (and I don't see very far with them out, even in daylight conditions.)  Being able to adjust the light down for reading was a plus so that the light wasn't glaring off white pages.

The on/off and dim switch is easy to operate, although it does not operate exactly as the directions stated.  Instead of half depressions to adjust brightness, I found holding the switch down caused it to cycle through what appears to be about 4 different levels of brightness, and then gradually cycle back up to full brightness.

Summary:

The Moxie is a versatile headlamp well suited for backpacking and general use whenever a task light is needed.  The range of settings from soft to bright is useful, the lamp is easy to operate, and it is a nice light weight for the intensity of the light.  My sole gripe is the headband adjustment, which is particularly irritating for occasions that I want to take the lamp on and off several times, such as when changing clothes, sitting around a campfire, and of course for those late night bathroom runs.

Likes:

Bright at full setting, can be adjusted down
Comfortable headstrap
Hinge retains setting well
Good weight for brightness of light

Dislikes:

Headband does not retain setting when removed

Follow up Report - November 5, 2010

Shortly after my Long Term Report, I received information from Black Diamond that I had installed the lamp incorrectly on the headband, and that the Moxie normally ships with the headlamp already installed on the band.  Sure enough, by switching the lamp's location, the headband miraculously started staying in place when removed.  Yeah!

I used the Moxie on one additonal overnight campout, with overnight temperatures right at freezing, and the headband retained it's position whenever I took it off.  The batteries continued to be nice and bright, and I did not notice any diminished light in the lower temperatures.

With the headband issue worked out, I have to say I am perfectly satisfied with this nifty little headlamp, and plan to use it for many years.

Thanks to Black Diamond Equipment and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Moxie!


Read more reviews of Black Diamond gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Moxie Headlamp > Test Report by Pamela Wyant



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