BackpackGearTest
  Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond SpotLite 160 Headlamp > Test Report by Marina Batzke

BLACK DIAMOND SPOTLITE 160 LUMENS
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
LONG-TERM REPORT
January 12, 2020

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
AGE: 59
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 132 lb (60.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in 2013. My backpacking trips are one or two weekend excursions per month in Southern California. The locations range from Joshua Tree National Park desert areas in the cooler months to mountainous elevations in the summer months. I always hike with a group and like the gear talk in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad. In January 2017, I added snowshoeing to my winter activities.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com
MSRP: US$26.95
Listed Weight with Batteries: 1.9 oz (54 g) consisting of 1.05 oz (30 g) for the headlamp and 0.85 oz (24 g) for two AAA batteries
Measured Weight with Batteries: 2.05 oz (58 g) consisting of 1.27 oz (36 g) for the headlamp and 0.78 oz (22 g) for two AAA batteries
Other details: available in six colors: Aluminum (white), Aqua (cyan), Dark Olive (dark green), Graphite (dark grey), Azul (blue) and Octane (red).

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

While the shipping carton that the headlamp arrived in was all beat-up and banged-in, the Black Diamond Spotlite 160 headlamp was securely positioned inside its cardboard display box. The display carton has all the important features data imprinted.
IMAGE 1
The packing unit
IMAGE 2
The Spotlite with the Battery Compartment open

The headlamp is waterproof tested to operate down to at least 3.3 ft (1 m) for 30 minutes underwater. It is rated at IPX8. Such an IP (Ingress Protection) number is written as IPXX, where the Xs are placeholders for numbers. The first X represents solid (dust/particle) resistance and the second X represents liquid resistance (water). If submerged, water may enter the battery compartment and the headlamp will still operate, yet it should be completely dried out after use in wet conditions.

The lumens explain how much light I get from the headlamp: High is at 160 lumens; Medium at 80 lumens and Low is at dim 6 lumens. Of course, the brighter I blast the lamp, the faster it drains power. The listed maximum burn times are 2 hours at the High setting, 14 hours at the Medium setting and 60 hours at the low setting.

The listed maximum distances on High are 197 ft (60 m), on Medium 98 ft (30 m) and on Low 10 ft (3 m). This is accomplished with Light Emitting Diodes (LED). The headlamp is powered by 2 AAA batteries. Two Duracell AAA batteries are provided inside the packing unit.

The headlamp functions include dimming, strobe light, a red light and a lock function.

I received the Spotlite in red (Octane) with black as contrast. The headlamp plastic body is 1.125 in (29 mm) tall x 2.25 in (57 mm) wide x 1 in (25 mm) deep. Looking at the Spotlite front, there is a Black Diamond logo on the left, the big half-inch (13 mm) diameter white LED in the center and to its right the smaller quarter-inch (6 mm) red LED opening. In its back, the Spotlite has a vertical adjustment, so I can tilt the lamp to point in a particular angle ahead of me. Attached to this vertical adjustment plastic is the 0.625 in (16 mm) wide black/red elastic headband. In two spots, Black Diamond is imprinted in reflective silver. It has two plastic connections along its length which allows me to adjust the headband for a comfortable fit.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Inside the packing unit were printed Black Diamond Spotlite 160 instructions in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. I like that the instructions are a combination of illustrations and text. The headlamp functions dimming, strobe, red light, locking/unlocking and several warnings are shown with illustrations and easy to understand.
IMAGE 3
easy to follow illustrations

WARNINGS:
Do not look directly into the bright LED light and do not shine the beam directly into the eyes of others.
Do not put the elastic band around your neck to prevent accidental strangulation.
Always carry a set of spare batteries and for critical situations even carry a second light. Battery life depends on a variety of factors, including brand and freshness of the batteries, how long the headlamp has been off, the ambient temperature and the settings I am using. I may use AAA alkaline, lithium or rechargeable batteries. Yet I shall never mix old and new batteries and I shall not use different battery types at once.
The listed use temperature range is from 0 F (-17 C) to 110 F (43 C).

WARRANTY INFORMATION:
The headlamp is warranted for one year from purchase date and only to the original retail buyer against defects in material and workmanship.

WASHING INSTRUCTIONS:
I can separate the elastic band from the headlamp plastic body. I can hand-wash the elastic band and line-dry it.

TRYING IT OUT

I pulled the Black Diamond Spotlite 160 out of its well-transportation-protecting blister packaging and the lamp showed no signs of damage - despite the banged in outer cardboard box it had arrived in. The product showed no flaws or defects.

I opened the plastic casing by pressing my thumb fingernail behind a ledge on one side of the lamp body and it was easy to open the backside (that has the elastic band attached): that backside is hinge-attached to one side of the lamp body and opens like a door. It is easy to properly insert the two AAA batteries because + and - are shown on the black plastic. I pressed the backside back onto the lamp body and a snapping sound confirmed: case closed.

One press on the big button: white LED on. Long pressing of that big button: the white light dims low to high to low. One press on the little button: red LED on. Long pressing of the big button: the red light dims low to high to low. One press on the little button: from red to white LED. To lock, I hold both buttons simultaneously for 2 seconds while none of the two lights are on. The lamp flashes red to show me: locked. To unlock I press both buttons for 2 seconds and the white LED comes on. For strobe, I press the big button twice and the white light starts flashing. To turn the blinking strobe function off, I simply press the big button once and the white LED is off.

A first test in my darkened home gave me the initial impression that both lights are really bright at their maximum settings. It is easy to keep pressing and having the lights dim high to low.

SUMMARY

The Black Diamond Spotlite 160 is a waterproof tested headlamp with a good number of different features.

LIKES:
easy to follow instructions with both illustrations and text
nice variety of functions
using the functions is intuitive
Lock feature is very important


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Mt. Pinos, Los Padres National Forest, California, USA
1 day Navigation outing: 4 mi (6 km)
Spotlite was part of my 10 Essentials.
Elevation: 8300 ft (2530 m)
Temperature: 60 - 40 F (16 - 4 C)

Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
2 day/ 1 night backpack: 6 mi (10 km)
Spotlite used in camp.
Elevation: 1900 - 2600 ft (580 - 800 m)
Temperature: 66 - 55 F (19 - 13 C)

Inyo National Forest, California, USA
3 days of dayhikes: 22 mi (35 km)
Spotlite was part of my 10 Essentials.
Elevation: 9850 - 10300 ft (3000 - 3140 m)
Temperature: 68 - 50 F (20 - 10 C)

Cooper Canyon Trail Camp, Southern California, USA
2 day/ 1 night backpack 9 miles (15 km)
Spotlite used in camp.
Elevation: 5700 - 6300 ft (1700 - 1900 m)
Temperature: 67 - 50 F (19 - 10 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Black Diamond Spotlite 160 Lumens headlamp did a great job on my backpacking outings in camp. I used the Spotlite to prepare my dinner, for the nature bathroom visit before bedtime, to wash up before tent time and finally to get ready inside my tent. I am never wasteful with my headlamp use. I do not read inside my tent. Once I climb into my sleeping bag, it is lights out right away. I am still on my first set of batteries. For nighttime accessibility, I attach the Spotlite to a carabiner that dangles from my tent ceiling. This way, I could grab the headlamp quickly, should there ever be a situation where I need lighting with one quick motion.

I mostly use the white LED - it simply provides the most, the brightest illumination. The red light is ok for tasks nearby but I prefer the white LED for walking around. I have predominantly used the red light when we sit in camp chatting.

I like the easy dimming function: by simply holding either the red or the white light button for longer, the light changes from high brightness to near-off and back up again. Easy for me to pick just the right light level for the task at hand.

The Locking function that prevents accidentally turning on the headlamp while it is inside my pack is extremely important. I use it all the time. My hiking group requires us to carry the Ten Essentials - survival items recommended for safe travel in the backcountry - and I am committed to carrying mine when I am out and about, and illumination is one of the Ten Essentials. I have had the Spotlite inside my day pack on all outings. I store the Spotlite in a small plastic bag with the Locking function in place. Works beautifully.
IMAGE 1
safely stored in plastic bag

I have not used the Spotlite to hike long distances at night. I have not tested the waterproofness of the Spotlite. The weather was always dry.

SUMMARY

The Black Diamond Spotlite 160 Lumens light is a bright LED headlamp.

LIKES:
bright white LED
dimming from high to low and back
Locking function

NO DISLIKES really


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Little Jimmy Campground, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
2 day/ 1 night backpack: 6 mi (10 km)
Spotlite used in camp.
Elevation: 7500 ft (2300 m)
Temperature: 35-58 F (2 - 14 C)

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
2 day/ 1 night carcamp: 6 km (10 km)
Spotlite used in camp.
Elevation: 3050 ft (930 m)
Temperature: 27-57 F (-3 to 14 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Spotlite 160 has continued to be lightweight and bright during my uses. Just like in my Field report, I used the Spotlite to prepare my dinner and to select items from the camp happy hour food offerings, for the nature bathroom visit before bedtime, to wash up before tent time and to get ready for the sleeping bag inside my tent. I keep the headlamp handy by attaching it to a carabiner that I have hung from the tent ceiling.
IMAGE 1
headlamp hanging from carabiner


The Spotlite is easy to turn on or off by pressing the top button. I am impressed by the bright white light which illuminates the path ahead of me. I use the red light while with fellow backpackers that I do not want to expose to the bright white light.

On my last outing I was a bit rushed when packing up my belongings in camp and I forgot to lock the headlamp but the lamp did not turn on accidentally. I am still on the first set of batteries with estimated six hours of use. The lamp and the headband continue to be in perfect shape.

SUMMARY

The Black Diamond Spotlite 160 is a lightweight headlamp with a bright white LED. It is now my first choice of headlamps on all outings.

LIKES:
bright white light
lightweight

NO DISLIKES really

Thank you to Black Diamond and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity testing this bright LED headlamp.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Black Diamond gear
Read more gear reviews by Marina Batzke

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond SpotLite 160 Headlamp > Test Report by Marina Batzke



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson