Tag Archives: Black Diamond gear reviews
By Michael Lanza
How do you choose which headlamp to buy for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, and other outdoor activities? Price? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? I’ve tested dozens of headlamps over the years. Here are, in my opinion, the five best models on the market today. Continue reading →
Black Diamond ReVolt
$60, 3.5 oz. (with 3 AAA batteries, included)
Newly updated for 2017, Black Diamond’s ReVolt rechargeable headlamp quickly became the one I grabbed from a drawer full of headlamps, for trips ranging from backpacking 40 miles in May through Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, to backcountry skiing for four days in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains and camping in Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley. Beyond the convenience of running on either its USB-rechargeable NiMH batteries or standard AAA alkaline batteries, it offers a variety of modes and features not found in other headlamps—including BD’s PowerTap technology to instantly cycle between brightness settings, plus being waterproof—at a competitive price. Continue reading →
Ultralight Rechargeable Headlamp
Black Diamond Iota
$40, 2 oz.
Even as backcountry headlamps continually shrink without compromising brightness—indeed, today’s ultralight models keep getting more powerful—my first impression of Black Diamond’s Iota is how darn tiny it is. Smaller than a golf ball, it’s nearly unnoticeable on your head: After turning it off, you could forget you’re wearing it. This two-ounce beacon also represents a leap forward in the affordability of rechargeable headlamps. While the Iota’s relatively short burn time on a full charge limits its versatility, it will appeal to people who want an affordable, ultralight, rechargeable headlamp for outings of up to two or three hours. Continue reading →
Trekking & Snow Poles
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
$170, 1 lb. 2 oz. (with trekking baskets)
One size, adjustable
If you make the mountains your playground in all seasons and find your budget tapped by a variety of boots, packs, and other gear for your sports, the notion of purchasing more than one pair of poles may create some financial hardship (and it cuts into your beer budget). You need one pair of sticks that do it all. From six mid-October days of hiking in the western North Carolina mountains, including a 34-mile backpacking trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to days of backcountry skiing in the Idaho mountains, I leaned on BD’s Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles and they stood up to every task. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
In the interest of full disclosure, as a climber, I’m no one. I climb trad and sport rock routes up to 5.10 and I like moderates. I do the kind of mountaineering where people generally survive. My partners are family and friends, none of whom are sponsored (although my son has climbed 5.9 in sneakers), and my only first ascents were accidental and not recommendable. If you’re looking for a reviewer with a five-continent climbing resume and a home that has bumper stickers, I’m not that dude.
But in a sense, I’m everyone—or I’m like most recreational climbers. For climbers like me, here are my gear recommendations—based on 25 years (and counting) as a rock climber and nearly as long as a mountaineer (and 20 years as a gear reviewer)—for what you need to hit the crags and the mountains to have fun, be safe, and go back to work on Monday with some pretty good stories that will never get into any magazine.
Continue reading →