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Gear Review: Black Diamond Zenix IQ Headlamp

The Black Diamond Zenix IQ Headlamp must be overstocked or discontinued, because I see it at least once per week over at steepandcheap.com for a price in the low $20 range.

I have this headlamp and I’ve been quite impressed with it. I’ve used it on a number pack trips, for night photography jaunts, and for car camping and it has worked like a charm. It is one of the newer LED headlamps that puts out enough light to actually navigate a dark trail – unlike the earliest models which were designed more or less for around camp use.

It has two basic modes of operation. In one the more powerful central lamp comes on and in the other a pair of smaller LEDs at the edges of the light unit come on instead. The former provides brighter light but consumes battery power more quickly, while the latter is only bright enough for camp chores but is draws less power from the batteries. In both modes you can switch between several different brightness levels and a blinking mode. (The latter is useful for giving your backpacking partners a severe headache – or for a long lasting emergency signal light. A friend of mine used a lamp with a similar feature to guide me to camp once when I arrived many hours after dark.)

If this headlamp has a downside it might be the smallish and somewhat difficult to press control button. Once you figure out where it is it works fine, but it is still difficult to operate even with light gloves on. Well, it might have one other. At a time when some of the very small and dimmer backpacker LED headlamps weigh around 1 ounce, this one is a bit bulkier and heavier – but still quite a bit smaller and lighter than the headlamps we used in the pre-LED era.

But in actual operation – at least for typical backpacking use – if you are looking for a long lasting headlamp that puts out enough light for actual hiking, this could be the one for you.

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June 19, 2008 - Posted by | Commentary, Equipment, Gear Reviews

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