Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review; Black Diamond Spot

I have been running with a headtorch for the last couple of years now, early starts and late finishes often bookend my day with running, but 95% of those runs were on the road, mostly with street lights and mostly with cars. My go-to headtorch has been a Petzl TacTikka Plus which is great for a "be seen with" rather than a "to see with" torch. For the ‘Hood I was going to be running through the night…in the woods…with a half moon; dark with a capital D!

Headtorchs span the gamut of price range if you really want to go mad you can easily blow $100 and have a set up which is bright enough to light up a Hollywood sound stage but these typically come with large battery packs sometimes which need a “sold separately” recharging unit and the additional weight that you would expect. So my criterion was bright, light and cheap!

I looked around a bit but ultimately went for the path of least resistance; Zombie or WRC, Zombie’s were either not as good as my Petzl or in the $50+ range; too little or too much, so armed with my discount coupon code for 10% 'QUAD10' I picked up a Black Diamond Spot from Wilderness Running Company for $36.00.

So here are the technical specs, The Spot has eight light-output settings—three brightness settings and strobe illumination in either SuperBright LED or one-watt LED mode. It comprises One-watt HyperBright LED, Three SuperBright LEDs and comes with a Three-year guarantee. It weighs 85 grams (3.0 ounces) with batteries and 50 grams (1.8 ounces) without batteries, (not sure why you would carry without batteries?)

It comes with the standard elastic band and is comfy enough, it requires three AAA batteries. The interesting stuff is brightness and durations, this is a screen shot from the instructions:

Still confused, well basically my usage was either the Hyperbright LED (1W) or the three Superbright (3 LEDs). I didn’t realize that there were half settings until I researched this post. Under the heading that a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s Friday and spent most of the week at a pc here’s a picture. Petzl on the left, SuperBright center and Hyperbright on the right. (Bigger picture to follow).

As you can see there is a significant difference in brightness this translates into distance as well, although experience has taught me that looking just in front of me rather than off into the woods is the best place to look. With Fall upon us, yes it’s finally arrived here in Califonia, and shorter days if you’re running in the dark anywhere you need a decent light system, do yourself a favor and consider this one.

See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at


  1. The BD Spot has been my light of choice for night time trail running as well. These days I use it both for walking the dog in the morning and running after work. I put another one around the neck of my canine running companion so I can see him on the trail.

  2. I had been thinking about getting a new head torch so my hands would be free during my runs. I bought a cheap one in a big box store last year. Although the light brightness was ok for looking around inside a tent at night, it was terrible for lighting my path. Thanks for the info!

  3. great review
    thanks, may pick one up

  4. Great info. Was on the fence about going with a higher design (Petzl Myo XP) but I think you sold me on this one. Thanks for the great review!


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