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Product Review: The Black Diamond 'Icon'
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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.
Print subscriptions: in Canada $20.00, in USA $23.00, elsewhere $32.00 per year, postage included. All prices are in Canadian dollars. Make checks payable in Canadian dollars only to "Mark Brazeau", and send to Mark Brazeau, Box 151 Kangiqsualujjuaq QC J0M 1N0 Canada. (Back issues are also available. Contact Sue Hamilton.)
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The Inuit Sled Dog International
The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.
The center bulb is the narrow, long-distance beam.
The four side bulbs are the nearer, area lighting.
Black Diamond 'Icon' Headlamp
reviewed by Mark Hamilton
Sue and I have used headlamps for a long time but until this Fall our experience was limited to a variety of low cost incandescent and LED lights. None of them proved completely satisfactory. We retrofitted some of the incandescent headlamps with halogen light bulbs which then produced a lot more light, but that was at the expense of a further reduction in what was already short battery life. The LED headlamps we tried really only had one virtue, their battery life was much better than our incandescent headlamps.
We shopped for better headlamps on a number of occasions but never found a light that appeared to be the answer to our needs. Early this Fall a friend recommended the Black Diamond 'Icon' headlamp to us on the basis of battery life and its ability to cast a long range, usable light beam. Sue and I purchased two a few weeks later. We put them into service a couple of weeks before that early Nor'Easter roared up the eastern seaboard in late October this year. The storm caused a massive power outage here in Connecticut, leaving about two thirds of the state's landmass and nearly that same percentage of electricity customers in the dark. Our power was out for just short of six full days and during that time those headlamps were what we used for portable lighting. Even so, the batteries we first installed in them were still in service a number of weeks after power was restored.
The Black Diamond 'Icon' headlamp features two lighting modes: area and spotlight. Each mode is accomplished with a different LED lamp assembly and each mode is available in three intensities. A forth setting on the area light mode flashes. Four single power LEDs (combined 100 lumens, illumination to 75ft/23m) are used in the area lighting mode. In spotlight mode a single triple power LED (100 lumens, illumination to 328ft/100m) mounted in a faceted reflector/lens assembly provides the illumination. The 'Icon' runs on 3 AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack. We chose not to purchase the rechargeable battery pack as I prefer to use consumable batteries with LED lighting. LEDs depend on voltage not amperage and most rechargeable battery packs are made up of button cells that don't quite add up to the traditional 1.5 volts of a consumable battery. Black Diamond's web site didn't offer any specifications on the battery pack, at least that I could find, so we chose to use consumables. The rechargeable battery pack could be purchased at another time should we change our minds in the future.
The green, yellow and red lights on the
battery pack indicate remaining power.
Battery life is long, rated at 145 hours in spotlight mode and 164 hours in area light mode. Colored indicator lights in the battery holder advise you as to battery strength: green >50%, yellow >20%, red <20%. I choose to change my batteries when the yellow led comes on, but that's just me. Bottom line: our Black Diamond 'Icon' headlamps exceed our expectations in all regards.
Black Diamond headlamps are available for purchase from a variety of traditional and online retailers as well as direct from Black Diamond. Their suggested retail price is $64.95 USD.
Black Diamond Equipment
2084 East 3900 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84124 USA