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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Storm 375 headlamp > Owner Review by Mike Lipay

Black Diamond - Storm 375 Headlamp
Owner Review by Mike Lipay
January 16, 2020



Reviewer Information
Gender:Male
Age:65
Height:5' 6" (1.6 meters)
Weight:155 lb (70.3 kg)
Email:mike-at-pahiker-dot-com
Home:Southwest Pennsylvania, USA
Background:I’ve been hiking since ’65 with occasional backpacking trips (backpacking became a love affair in the early 80’s). My first sleeping bag weighed in at 8 lb (3.6 kg) by itself! These days my loaded pack only weighs about 15 lb (6.8 kg) sans food. While most of my adventures are in the Northeast I’ve also been spending a good deal of time in the desert Southwest and most places in-between. My trips tend be in the cooler months - September through May - as I’m not much of a hot-weather person.



Product Information
Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.
Year Acquired: 2019
URL: http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com
MSRP: $49.95 US
Power: 4 AAA batteries (included)
Light Options: 3 dimmable white light settings; red light; green light; blue light
Lumens: Listed: High: 375; Medium: 160; Low: 8
Measured: High: 364; Medium: 138; Low: 13
Illumination Time: Listed: High: 5 hr; Medium: 10 hr; Low: 150 hr
Measured: High: 4.33 hr; Medium: 8.5 hr
Weight: Listed: 4.2 oz (120 g)
Measured: 3.5 oz (100 g) rechargeable batteries
Size: Measured: 2-7/17 W x 1-5/8 H 1-7/16 D in; 61.8 x 41.5 x 36.3 mm
Note: above depth measurement is to the back of the clip holding the band in place, the depth of the actual headlamp box is 1-1/4 in (31.7 mm)


Product Description

The Storm 375 Headlamp tries to be all things to all people. A brilliant white light that can be dimmed; red and green lights for dark situations; blue light for map reading and foggy situations and when it is necessary to illuminate body fluids (like tracking game); strobe light for attracting attention.


The one place where I find serious failing is with the user manual. As with the light itself the manual tries to be all things to all people in a small package. The manual is written in 6 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and, I assume, Japanese. Their written text covers little more than warranty, care and battery information, everything else is done with icons, which I found troublesome. Features such as locking and powertap (a registered trademark) left this user puzzled as to what these features do.

As it turns out: locking is supposed to keep the current illumination from being changed by accidentally touching any of the three buttons. I have yet to master locking the light, every time I hold down both main buttons as shown in the icons either the light color changes or the light goes through the dimming process.

Powertap is a way to switch from the current illumination level to bright and back by lightly tapping the side button. This I found puzzling because, unlike the other two buttons, pressing it does nothing, it is activated by a light, brief, tap, and the light already has to be on. Additionally, it works with all four color lights: if the white light is on it turns on High brightness; if green is on it toggles between bright green and standard green; same with the other colors.

Dimming is another confusing option based on the icons. Holding down the main (larger) of the two top buttons slowly reduces the illumination, keep holding when the light level bottoms out and it brightens slowly. This was apparent from the icons, what wasn’t apparent is that it works with all four light colors, the icon makes it seem as though it only works with white lighting.

Switch between the colors is also not quite evident from the icons. Holding down the smaller of the top buttons for 2 seconds turns on the colored lights (red, green, blue), it remembers the last color used and returns to that color. Every two seconds the button is held rotates between the three colors.

Pressing the smaller button one time switches between colored, main white, and a second, smaller, white light. Oddly, this second white light can’t be dimmed, it is just a brighter version of the main white light. When dimming the main white light, or when pressing the powertap button, the two white lights combine to form the High brightness level. Medium and Low white brightness is achieved with the main light only.

The strobe light takes some working to get used to activating. It works on all four colors, and in all white light modes, it can even be activated when the light is off. Simply press the main button two times, very quickly. Any delay in speed and the strobe feature does not work. The strobe begins in the color that is currently active or, if the light is off, in the color that was last used. When the strobe was on I was able to switch between the different light colors in the normal way, but the strobe feature continues. The only way to get out of strobe is to press the main button until it turns off.




Usage Report

I’m a bit of an odd duck, I like using rechargeable batteries in devices that can handle the lower voltage (1.2v vs 1.5v), LED’s are one of them, so I typically stick with rechargeables unless I am going to spend an extended amount of time out in cold weather (below 40 F, 4.4 C), then I switch to lithium.

I purchased this unit in September of 2019 and have used it under many conditions: warm and cold nights; hiking, backpacking, nighttime walks; both wet (rain) and dry weather. I’ve also used it for non-outdoor activities such as working on cars, building a backyard fire. Sadly, the one condition I have not used it under is in foggy conditions as there simply hasn’t been heavy enough fog to try the blue and green lights.

I do like the flexibility of being able to adjust the light output to just what is needed for the task, but it’s not all that easy. Holding down the main button to dim the light takes some practice, I find that it moves quickly and while the dimming does stop when I release the button it’s not instantaneous, that fraction of a second can make a meaningful difference at times, especially when trying to change the level on the non-white lights. I would prefer if there was a way to go quickly between High, Medium, and Low light levels in addition to the dimming feature.

I have been out in some rainy conditions, from drizzle to heavy rain. In all of those conditions I have never had even a drop of moisture get into the headlamp, though a wet headband is no fun to wear.

Elastic headbands are the weak point of every headlamp I’ve ever owned. They tend to last a couple years then lose their elasticity. One of the first things I did prior to purchasing the Storm 375 is to check Black Diamond’s website, they do sell a replacement band at a MSRP of $4.95 US, though there is no photo so no idea if it is the exact same headband or what color is being sent, since it comes in six colors it is important to be able to order the right one.

Lighting duration was impressive with the rechargeable batteries: High is about 4:15 hours (at that point the main light really dims out, but the side light is still on) lumens dropped from 364 down to 275, very noticeable. At medium the light lasts about 8:30 hours. Since I typically use the light for 3-4 hours per night this will easily last me a full weekend at these levels, in actual use I dim the light down to between medium and low, so I get enough out of it to last a 4-day/3-night trip.

I’ve owned this headlamp since September of 2019 and have used it in my evening/night hikes here in the Laurel Highlands, and on my evening walks in my neighborhood as a safety light. Fall hikes tended to be in the 55-60F (15-16C) range. Elevations here range from 1,000 ft (305 m) to 3,199 ft (975 m), so I really haven’t had the opportunity to test it at high elevations. The longest trip I have used this on was hike at the Bear Run Nature Reserve at Fallingwater, this was a 5.7 mile (9.5 km), this was a 4 hour night hike where I tried the white, red, and green lights to see what provided me the best vision. From this I learned just how bad white can be, and that I prefer the green light even to the red. I was able to see further with the green light than the red, it also worked out better because the map provided by Bear Run used brown, blue, and orange colors so the green didn’t interfere with reading the map (trying the red light blanched out the orange). During one of my hikes I encountered a heavy downpour that lasted a little less than 20 minutes, the light worked find during that time, checking it when I got back to my car the battery compartment was perfectly dry, but the headband was soaked, I wore it on the outside of my windbreaker’s hood - not a bright idea (no pun intended), but the hood was already up because of the cold wind when the rain started so I just put it on. After that I learned to drop the hood before putting the headlamp on, once the band gets soaked it takes a long time to dry.




Summary

The Storm 375 is a truly flexible light source, a good light for just about any condition or need. The light lasts a decent amount of time, even at the brightest level I could get a night’s usage on my rechargeable batteries, at the medium level I could go a full backpacking weekend without having to change batteries.

One issue is with the weight, something to expect with 4 batteries and a sturdy case, though only about 3.5 oz (100 g) since it sits on the forehead it does become noticeable after a while. First hour or so it was okay but as the night goes on I did notice the extra weight. While the green light helps with night hikes, after a 3 hour hike I was glad to take it off.

  • Things I like:
    • Every light option in one package.
    • Good light life, even with rechargeables I can get a long weekend in without changing batteries.
    • Can be dimmed to just the right level (with practice).
    • Being able to tap to quickly switch to high light level.
    • I find green light better for nighttime hikes.
    • Blue light is really nice for reading maps.

  • Things I don't like:
    • Weight gets wearing after time.
    • Battery change is difficult, the bottom two batteries require something to pop them out. A ribbon underneath would help with this.
    • Would like a way to go quickly between high, medium, and low levels.

  • IPX67 explained:
    • First number is the solid material rating, 6 is dust tight.
    • Second number is the moisture rating, 7 is 1 meter of submersion for 30 minutes.


Read more reviews of Black Diamond gear
Read more gear reviews by Mike Lipay

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Black Diamond Storm 375 headlamp > Owner Review by Mike Lipay



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