Black Diamond Icon 2011

Like most Black Diamond gear the Icon is designed to be a professional piece of kit. So it can be used with a rechargeable battery and its seven power settings provide output up to 100 lumens. The Icon also has curvaceous styling too that adds shelf appeal to its professional looks.

Like all the best products the Black Diamond Icon is extremely well-designed. It looks good thanks to its smooth curve, but more importantly it is easy to use straight from the box thanks to user-friendly design features. The top of the headstrap is not pre-attached but it is a doddle to fit. There is just one button and this gives easy access to seven output settings through the use of full depression and half depression operation. With more buttons it always takes time to learn which button activates which function. A smooth ratchet effortlessly locks and holds the headlamp at a chosen angle. Finally there is the battery case. This has a single screw that can be turned to open or lock the battery housing. Three AA batteries fit into the battery housing or at extra cost a Black Diamond NRG rechargeable battery kit can be fitted. A battery power indicator is an additional  welcomed bonus.

On the hill
I found the Black Diamond Icon easy to use, though some if its features could be slightly better. While it is all well-designed, the first slight niggle was the battery housing. The locking screw is easy to use, but it has a slot in the top that I assumed was so that a penny could be used to tighten or loosen it. When I did this I found that the plastic head of the screw no longer turned the metal screw, which meant I could neither tighten nor loosen the screw. (Luckily I had a spare headtorch to use as I could not open the battery case at all now.) It works fine if you don’t overtighten the screw with its headslot. The torch sits comfortably on the head and is easy to adjust and I found that the tilt head worked well. The light output is good. The long beam setting is very narrow but you have wider settings, too. I liked the single button operation, but some may find two buttons easier as you don’t have to think about half button depression to switch settings.

Bulbs 1 x triple power LED, 4 x single power LED
Brightness 100 lumens
Maximum beam 100 metres
Max burn time 164 hours
Batteries 3xAA (included)
Weight with batteries 204g
Made in China
Stores in the UK 50
Stockist details tel. (01629) 580484;

The Black Diamond Icon offers single button use; good light output; long battery life; optional rechargeable battery package available. But beware of turning the battery housing screw with a coin in the screw slot; is single button easier than multi-button?
It’s a well-proven headtorch that provides good performance for hill-walkers as long as care is taken with the battery housing cover screw.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2011