Black Diamond Iota Headtorch: £35 / 54g
We've been using Black Diamond's small but perfectly formed Iota headtorch for a few months now and we thought we'd tell you a little more about one of the best compact headtorches we've tried - more to follow in a few weeks time.
First, its impressively small and light. Weight on our digital scales is a real world 54g all in and the little compact cube is small enough that we can wrap it with our thumb and forefinger. In other words, small enough to simply chuck in a pack or jacket pocket just in case you get caught out.
'It's our first choice 'just in case' headlamp. Not so much because there aren't lighter, smaller alternatives, but because it's actually bright enough to be genuinely useful if you do have to call on it.'
What makes the Iota a little bit different from the normal emergency torch is that it's also bright enough to be useable, like really useable. And it's also rechargeable using a micro-USB cable connected to the flap-covered socket on the side of the torch.
How bright? Black Diamond claims 150 lumens at full whack for a whole two hours, three hours 'average use' says BD. That's enough to walk or run with, at least on non-technical ground. The beam from the single bright LED is quite floody rather than a defined spot, but works well for general use like camping, walking and non-technical running.
It's sophisticated too. It has Black Diamond's rapid dim and un-dim PowerTap feature, so you can adjust light output to suit your activity. And a long press 'locks' the torch so you can't switch it on accidentally.
There's even a three-zone power meter, so you know how much burn time you have left from the lithium ion battery. Speaking of that, it takes around three hours to charge up from empty and you can use any USB output for it. Super convenient if you're, say, at work or in your car.
The Iota's not waterproof - boo! - but it is splash proof to IPX4 standards - BD calls it 'Storm proof'- so should do fine in most conditions. Ours has survived nicely so far.
We started off thinking of the Iota as an emergency headtorch and it is small and light enough for that, but in practice it's turned out to be a lot more. It's the torch we throw in a bum-bag for late afternoon runs when we might get caught out by dusk.
It's the light we use for lightweight backpacking when we can charge it up again from a back-up power battery. And yes, it's also our first choice 'just in case' headlamp. Not so much because there aren't lighter, smaller alternatives, but because it's actually bright enough to be genuinely useful if you do have to call on it. And no more batteries to charge or buy. Genius!