Black Diamond Icon Headlamp Review

When you need to see what’s lurking in the darkness there isn’t a better headlamp than the Black Diamond Icon.  This headlamp stands out from the crowd due to several features – its regulated, super bright (200 lumens), has a long battery life and is fully waterproof.  These things provide you the security necessary to depend on this headlamp for critical activities like alpine ascents or locating the skin track that leads you off the mountain in the dark when you might have done “just one more run” too many.

Picking the right headlamp for a trip can be tough.  You want something that will provide you with enough light to get the job done but not be overly heavy.  The Black Diamond Icon isn’t a headlamp I’d consider “lightweight” – coming in at 7.8 oz. (with batteries).  But, it does light up the night like the sun.  This is why I take this headlamp with me when I head out into winter conditions.  During the winter you have two things working against you – generally overcast sky and early sunsets.  What this means to me is that odds are I’m going to be spending at least some of my time hiking in the dark.  To counteract this I need a headlamp that can hold up to sustained use during the middle of the night.  This headlamp has all the things needed to do this.  It has regulated power allowing for long term continuous usage without a noticeable drop in brightness, it uses 4 AA batteries to provide long term juice without having to swap batteries in the dark and its 200 lumen max brightness really does pierce the night.  You would be surprised how much of a difference 200 lumens vs. 160 lumens makes.

As with every piece of expedition grade gear made by Black Diamond the Icon has a superb build quality.  Nothing about this headlamp feels cheap or looks like it might break at a moments notice.  To cycle through its modes the Icon uses the standard single top button used by all other Black Diamond headlamps.  It also has a power meter (really handy), red light mode, several varying brightness levels, a lock mode (to prevent accidental turn on in your pack) and a waterproof rating of IPX 7.


The Black Diamond Icon headlamp provides rock solid reliability.  This is my go to headlamp for when I know I’m going to be hiking in the dark.

Black Diamond Icon