Monday, July 8, 2013

Black Diamond Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp- Review

Back in December I raced in the infamous Hellgate 100K. The race begins at midnight in the frigid mountains of Virginia and is known for icy and wintery conditions. Maximal lighting is a neccesity. I knew I'd need a brighter headlamp than what my current arsenal held, and so I chose the Sprinter, a rechargeable model from Black Diamond. I was so happy with it's performance at Hellgate that I used it again to pace my friend through the night at the Western States 100 Endurance Run and it once again, performed superbly. It's a lamp that's built for runners, and this is evident as soon as you slide it on your noggin.   

The Sprinter is geared for runners, and once you slip this balanced lamp on your noggin, it is very evident they had runners in mind.  The headlamp is perfectly balanced, with the battery pack in the rear so the lamp doesn't bob up and down on your forehead while YOU go bouncing down the trails (or road). 

On the back battery pack is a safety light, (a red blinking strobe). Remember in races to turn this feature off! In a fellow competitors race report, he used my blinking light as a pacer and just blindly followed me through the night conserving his energy until the sun came up!

The sprinter boasts a battery life of 6 hours on high and 42 hours on low. The dimming feature allows the user to dim gradually from brightest to lowest deciding on the appropriate level of light that suits their needs. Obviously, dimming the lamp slightly yields much improved battery life. I used the Sprinter on full brightness several times and have found 6 hours to be its limit, however while slightly dimming the lamp, it has gotten me through the night from 9:30 to 7:00 am! (...and comfortably at that due to the wonderful balancing act it forehead was still happy as the sun rose...)  

This is from Black Diamond:


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.
  • 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
  • Protected against water immersion down to 1 m (3.3 ft) for 30 minutes (IPX 7)

In  the past, I have been given lights by BD, (Black Diamond), and while I was pleased with their brightness, I honestly felt the plastic housing was cheap. My suspicions were proven when a model I was using while running through Virginia on the AT, broke in the middle of my trip. 

The Sprinter however, is made of a newer plastic that feels indestructible. The housing feels sturdy and more than capable of taking any beating I could dish out during its life. The buttons seem to validate their waterproof claim and I trust that it is fully impermeable to H20. 

It's clear from the article I'm a fan of the sprinter. I originally wasn't a fan of the rechargeable feature, but I've grown to love it. I have grown to trust the Sprinter for my headlamp of choice during 100 mile Ultramarathons in which lighting issues can make or break a race. The lamp is bright enough to highlight and detail even the most technical singetrack trails with ease, even on a dimmed setting. 

The size is more compact than the pics depict. I have stuffed the lamp in my small pocket in the back of my running shorts before. 

The Sprinter comes with a wall charger which takes about 5 hours to charge fully. 

After over a year of usage, the battery still holds it original life.

The Sprinter retails for $70. I find this to be a fair price, not a steal, but not unfair for the rechargeable feature. 

I would recommend it to ultra runners as their main headlamp, along with a smaller model as a backup light. I used to use two headlamps at a time while racing at night, and with the Sprinter, it is all I need. I'll be trusting it as I pace a friend through the Grand Slam this summer and I personally take on the Colorado Trail Speed Record this July. 


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