Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp

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Manufacturer Description

With a sleek rechargeable design and excellent fore-aft balance, the 75-lumen Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp is a versatile, all-weather light that’s ideal for high-impact use on the trail or the skin track. A red taillight strobe in the rear adds visibility in urban areas, and the lithium polymer battery recharges through a USB port in 5 hours. The Sprinter’s waterproof design keeps it going strong in any weather, and the regulated design provides constant illumination throughout the battery life.

Features

  • 1 DoublePower LED with 75 lumens (max setting) projects a strong, oval beam
  • Red taillight strobe with on/off switch for visibility in urban areas
  • Powered by a lithium polymer rechargeable battery (5-hour USB charge time)
  • Settings include full strength, dimming and strobe
  • Regulated for constant illumination on all brightness settings
  • IP7  water protection  immersion down to 1 m (3.3 ft) for 30 minutes (IPX 7)
  • Max Distances
    • High – 45 meters
    • Low – 7 meters
  • Max Burn Time
    • On high – 6 hours
    • On low – 42 hours
  • Measured weight – 105 g (3.7 oz) headlamp only, not the charger
  • Retail – $70

YMMV Review

While Black Diamond is a climbing company, they make plenty of good products for other activities as well.  The company was founded in 1989 and has been growing ever since. They really make some high quality and innovative products that are worth a look if you have not already done so.  This is the first of hopefully many products to be reviewed for the site. The Sprinter Headlamp is now in its second version, and I was able to work with Black Diamond to review it.

With the Headlamp On

Testing

The Sprinter is a rechargeable headlamp made for running but also good for other activities.  I tested the headlamp mainly running this spring and summer.  Many of my runs go well into the night, so I got lots of use out of it.  My runs varied from 3 – 20 miles in all weather conditions.

Design ★★★★☆

Appearance (15%) ★★★½☆

Construction (50%) ★★★★½

Sustainability (10%) ★★★★☆

Weight (25%) ★★★★☆

The Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp is a lightweight rechargeable headlamp made for running in the dark.  The Sprinter has one double power LED light in the front and a flashing red light on the battery pack in the back.  By having the light and battery in two different spots the headlamp is able to be more balanced on the head. This of course does necessitate a wire connector between the two, and that is accomplished with the use of a couple of clips on the headband.  The main strap is elastic for comfort and one inch wide.  It is a continuous strap that feeds underneath the light and battery pack for more comfort against the head.  To increase comfort Black Diamond has given both the front light and back battery pack a slightly rounded shape so it sits more flush against the head.

Rear Flashing Light

The Sprinter is a one size fits all headlamp.  The elastic can stretch and there is also and adjustable buckle that can be used to tighten or loosen the sizing to get the appropriate fit.  If you do need more security, Black Diamond includes a small over the top strap that can be attached and runs over the top of the head.  This small strap is also elastic and connects from the light to the battery pack. The front light has a single hinge so it can adjust up or down to an appropriate angle.  The light has a strong oval beam that has a 75 lumen power on the high setting and 4 on the low setting.  The lens creates even illumination rather than a narrow beam.  The output has three settings that are regulated for even power across the life of the battery.  The three settings are full strength, and adjustable dimming option, and strobe.  The battery life will vary depending on the setting, 6 hours on high and 42 hours on low.  The back battery pack has an included red flashing light for rear visibility.  It can be turned off if you do not want to use it. On the high setting, the Sprinter has a 30 meter beam, on low that drops down to 8 meters.

One of the best features of the Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp is that it is rechargeable.  The headlamp comes with a dock that has a USB cord so it can be powered either by a computer or wall outlet.  The rear battery pack just sits in the dock.  The dock has a light on it that will be red when the battery is low and turns green when it is full y charged.  This charger is one of the biggest changes from the previous model.  The older model could only be charged from a wall outlet.  The Sprinter is easy to use with just two buttons.  The main button controls the front light and when turned on the rear light will automatically turn on.  The rear light does have its own button if you would like to turn it off.  To change between settings on the front light you just hit the button once for high and twice for strobe.  To get to the dimming setting, just hold down the main button until it dims to the amount of light you are looking for. The Sprinter has a water protection of IPX7, which protects it from immersion down to 1 m for 30 minutes.  I would not suggest trying that, but you do not have to fear any storms as it will easily be able to handle any amount of rain.

Top View of the Headlamp

The actual materials that the Sprinter light is made of have been hard to come by.  I, therefore, do not think they are from green or sustainable sources.  The Sprinter does get props for being rechargeable as that is a great feature.  Black Diamond says that they are not out to save the world but rather not screw it up.  They were founded on 10 commitments in 1989, and three of them address this issue of sustainability:

  • To champion the preservation of, and access to, mountain, crag and canyon environments while minimizing our own environmental footprint.
  • The style in which we accomplish our goals is as important as the goal themselves-this is true in business as it is in climbing.
  • Be a fierce but highly ethical competitor.

Today they are not only a brand that makes some high-quality products but also a voice in the industry.  Black Diamond is definitely a company worth supporting. If you want to know more, check out their site. There is a whole section addressing sustainability.

Strap Stays Against the Skin

Fit ★★★★☆

Adjustability (25%) ★★★★☆

Comfort (35%) ★★★½☆

Head Sizing (40%) ★★★★☆

The Black Diamond Sprinter has been my go to headlamp ever since it put it on the first time, and this is not because I needed to test it. What I really like about this headlamp is how stable it is on my head.  I do not use the over the top strap as I have not had any need for it, the main strap is secure enough to hold the Sprinter in place.  I think this is due to the weight being well-balanced and the rounded shape of the front and back units.  This makes it so the whole headlamp sits against my head flush and therefore, does not move, even when running downhill.  The strap is one inch wide, which seems to be just right.  If it was any bigger, it may feel like too much, but if it was smaller than the weight may be distributed over to narrow of an area, I think one inch is perfect.  I have found that the headlamp is really easy to adjust as there is only one clip, and you just slide the strap through to the appropriate spot.  If this does mess up the location of the rest of the pieces, they can also be moved around the strap so you can get a fit that works best for you.  I have worn this headlamp both with and without a hat, and it has been comfortable both ways.  I tended to use a hat more, but I think that may be mainly because it is colder at night, not because of any comfort issues.

Hinged Front Light

Performance ★★★½☆

Adjustability (20%) ★★★★☆

Battery Life (20%) ★★★☆☆

Brightness (25%) ★★★½☆

Durability (20%) ★★★★☆

Ease of Use (15%) ★★★★☆

The Sprinter has been great on my runs thus far.  The beam pattern is wide enough that you can see all the different features of the trail.  It can get difficult to sometimes notice rocks and features when they are all the same color, with a one bulb light, you will lose some depth perception.  This is going to be the case with any single light, especially when it is up on your head as it will not be able to project shadows as well.  Compared to some of my other options, the Sprinter compared favorably.  I tended to do most of my runs on the full-power  setting as I did not need a full six hours of light and knew I could recharge it when home.  In the case of an ultra marathon, I am disappointed that the full power cannot make it through a full night.  That is where the dimming setting comes in most handy as you can make sure you will have enough to get through the whole night.  On high the output is 75 lumens which I found to be enough for running but not enough for faster paced activities.  With 30 meters of light, you can get plenty fast on skis or a bike to essentially outrun the light.  The Sprinter is not necessarily made for that but worth noting.

Blinker and Adjustment Buckle

The Sprinter feels very well-made and, I have not had any issues with it.  Since you do not have to open and close the battery unit there really is not much that can go wrong. The front hinge is the only weak spot I can imagine, but I have not had any issues with it. Speaking of the hinge, it is smooth and works well. My main concern is not with the hinge but rather the fact that there is no lip or blocker to keep the light off your face when running.  When angling the light down to see the trail in front of me, the light also lights up some of my face and can be a little annoying, especially on runs that last several hours.  I wish there was a little lip or blocker in place to prevent this from happening.  While this is sometimes annoying, it has not prevented me from grabbing this light more often that any of my other ones.

Charger Dock and USB Cord

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, the Black Diamond is arguably the best headlamp for running I have seen yet.  While it could have some more power or battery life, both are plenty for 90% or more users.  I can only think of a couple of situations when I would probably want more of either.  The Sprinter, however, does fit very well as it is well-balanced and able to accommodate a wide range of head sizes.  I like that as my wife can use it just as easily when she needs to go on a late run.  One of the other great features is the rear blinking light.  While having reflective material on is great, a flashing light gives you even more visibility.  The Sprinter is also rechargeable, which has its pros and cons, but unless you are an ultra runner running through the night, this is a great thing.  I always just plug it in after every run, and it is ready to go.  With 6 hours of life on high it has plenty of juice and I do not have to spend more money on batteries.  The con of course with a rechargeable is you have to find an outlet or computer to recharge it, but that should not be too hard.  The Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp retails for $70, but think of all you will save in batteries.  If you need a nighttime running headlamp, I would strongly recommend this one.  As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Rechargeable battery
  • 75 lumen oval beam on high
  • Great weight distribution for a good fit
  • Easy to use modes with dimmer
  • Now can charge via USB

Cons

  • Can shine on your face when angled down
  • If using for faster paced activities you may need a longer beam

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Adventures

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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