Black Diamond Icon Headlamp
Ever since creation, man has feared what he cannot see. When it’s dark, psychos with skinning knives chase buxom lasses through the woods, and rappel ropes dangle unseen well short of the ledge.
Fire, then lights, then in more recent decades, headlamps have eased our most primitive anxieties, and are now tools as essential to our civilization as spoons. I don’t know of a single climber who doesn’t own at least one headlamp. I have about half a dozen, and seem to always need another.
Fresh on the shelves is Black Diamond’s Icon, a headlamp I can safely say is the brightest I’ve ever used. Clicked on to full-burn, the single 3-watt LED bulb casts light half again as far as any of my other headlamps, and is so bright that to peer into it is to witness something akin to the Big Bang. According to BD, the Icon will burn about 70 hours on three AA batteries. Switched over to its less retina-scorching array of four super bright LEDs, the Icon will run for 164 hours on its lowest setting. In between maximum and minimum burns you’ll find a myriad of other brightness settings, including blink.
What I like most about the Icon, however, is its optional rechargeable battery pack. For an additional $29.95 you can retrofit the unit with a pack of nickel-metal hydride batteries, which you can recharge like a cell phone from any 110-volt outlet. The Icon is the first and only headlamp with this feature, and once you use it you’ll wonder why such a logical feature was so long coming. Although spendy when you add it all up, the rechargeable, 7.5-ounce Icon works so well and is so handy I may never again fear the witching hour. Take that, darkness.