Updated on September 3, 2017
Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp Review
Dissapointed with the performance of my previous Petzl headlamp, the Tikka XP2, and on my way to Central America for 3+ months, I needed a new, reliable piece of lighting. Having previously picked up some of Goal Zero’s portable solar panels, when I came across the rechargeable Black Diamond Revolt I was super excited. My plan was to use the Goal Zero panel to recharge all my electronics including the headlamp via its built in USB port thus eliminating any need to carry extra batteries. I would be totally self sufficient without the grid! But of course things never turn out quite as planned!
Design and Materials
This cutting edge headlamp weighs just 3.4 oz with batteries and outputs a powerful 110 lumens for its weight. Sleek and compact, this headlamp avoids using a separate weighty battery pack, and keeps the three AAA batteries right behind the LED’s in the front plastic cartridge. It has one triple power and two single power white and two single power red LED’s, a lightweight, single push button control, and an elastic, comfortable, adjustable head strap. It also comes in four different colors; matte black, metallic citron, titanium and ultra white.
It also comes with a rating IPX4 for water protection. This “ingress protection” rating suggests that although the unit is not protected when immersed or subjected to pressurized water jets, it is protected from water splashing at it from any direction.
The best feature of this no frills, compact and lightweight headlamp is the recharging capability via a tiny USB port on the side. Otherwise, with single push button control you can cycle between the powerful white triple LED, two small white LED’s or the two small red LED’s. By holding the button down you can also decrease (dim) or increase the lumen output while using the white lighting LED’s. There is also a power meter on the side of the headlamp which is a three level LED (green, orange, red) that shows the battery life for three seconds after turning it on.
Whether it was my super tiny head or throwing it over a climbing helmet, this bad boy has a wide range of adjustability and fits both situations easily.
I picked up this headlamp a week before a flight to Central America and gave the recharging capability a test run. But something was wrong, the BD headlamp wouldn’t work. I called the manufacturer and it turns out I had inadvertently placed the BD rechargeable batteries that come with it in the wrong direction and tried to charge the headlamp. This resulted in me frying the Black Diamond batteries. No problem I thought, right? I’ll just pick up another pair of rechargeable AAA’s. Looking on Amazon and trying to save a little money and ensure they were delivered in time, I rush ordered a pack of Eneloop AAA NiMH rechargeables.
Two days before leaving they got dropped off at my door. I threw them in the BD headlamp, which turned on and off properly but when I tried to charge them. But the light on the headlamp was turning red, it wasn’t charging. I checked several times and I had them in the right orientation (learned my lesson on that one), but still no charging. Again, not sure what was going on I checked Black Diamonds manual for the lamp and it turns out the recharging function only works with the BD batteries. I called them to verify and yes, this fancy feature only works with those specific ones. Well, too late to order some online, I was forced to bring a separate battery charger for them on my trip. Thankfully I already had the Goal Zero Guide 10 plus which was chargeable via USB so I brought that along.
Luckily the Guide 10 plus and its cord wasn’t a lot of added weight but I was dissapointed that I could not use the recharging feature of this headlamp. Other than that, I’ve been using the headlamp with both the Eneloop rechargeables and standard alkaline batteries here in Central America for the last three months. There’s no lights out in the farmlands and I was so thankful to have a powerful headlamp, lighting the dark dirt roads in the mountains.
The 90-110 lumen output on alkaline or well charged NiMH batteries is soo much stronger than my Petzl, perfect for lighting the way. I also liked being able to dim both the white triple LED and the two white single LED’s which comes in handy a lot and helps save battery life. The two red single LED’s are also great for extending battery life and providing a just a little bit of light when needed. BD rates a run time of 70 hours on high and 300 on low using alkaline batteries, and 12 hours on high and 90 hours on low using NiMH batteries.
A quick note though. When using the rechargeable batteries, the headlamp does give out less power, thus you have a slightly dimmer light than when using disposable alkaline batteries and the three alkaline batteries get used up pretty quickly in a couple days when operating the triple LED at full power.
If only I could use the recharging feature of this headlamp that I paid extra for I might give it a better rating. It would also be nice if ANY type of NiMH rechargeable AAA’s could be recharged in the unit, or at least some of the off the shelf alternatives, especially if this little bad boy is still ticking in a few years and BD no longer makes batteries for it.
Otherwise, if you don’t mind the extra cost of the BD batteries, and like the recharging capability, this cutting edge, powerful, super lightweight headlamp is definitely worth a try.
|Manufacturer Model||2013 Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp|
|Model #||Item# BD620600TITMALL1|
|Pros||Super lightweight, takes rechargeable NiMH or alkaline batteries. When you have the BD batteries, you can recharge them via USB while still in the headlamp|
|Cons||Only recharges Black Diamond brand AAA batteries. Easy to inadvertently flip the polarity of the batteries when placed in the headlamp|
|Best Uses||Hiking, Expedition, Backpacking, Cycling, Climbing, Caving|
|Weight||97 g (3.4 oz) with batteries|
|Material||Plastic housing, Elastic headband, Alkaline or NiMH batteries|
|Additional Features||USB port for recharging BD batteries in the headlamp|