Headtorches are an essential part of every adventurer’s toolkit. They’re crucial for camping or overnighting in a refuge, and also allow you to stay outside for longer - night-running, night-riding and even night hikes all become possible with a decent light. There’s also the safety aspect - even if you don’t plan to stay out after dark, you may have to if something goes wrong.
Headtorch technology has come along way in recent years, with both bulbs and batteries getting smaller and lasting longer. Leading the way in reducing size is the Iota Rechargeable Headtorch from Black Diamond. It’s not the brightest on the market, but it’s certainly high-powered enough to be useful and it’s tiny size and light weight means it’s perfect for slinging in your backpack as a “just-in-case" light, or throwing into your trail-running smock when you’re heading out late and think you might get caught out by dusk.
Even with the batteries in, the Iota weighs in at just 56 grams which, let’s face it, is so light that you wouldn’t even register it as being on your head, were it not for the beam of light shining from the front of the lamp. It’s compact as well, being small enough to fit easily into the palm of your hand.
“It’s perfect for slinging in your backpack as a ‘just-in-case’ light, or throwing into your trail-running smock when you might get caught out by dusk."
The Iota Headtorch packs a lot of firepower for a bit of kit that’s so small. The tiny DoublePower LED emits a decent 150 lumens, and can do so continuously for three hours from a full charge. While we’ve not tried this out in an Arctic blizzard, we’ve certainly found it bright enough for most purposes in the Peak District.
If you want the battery to last a little longer, or if that’s too bright for the environment you’re in, you can easily dim the lamp with the press of a single button. Hold the button down, and it will scale up and down through a whole range of brightness settings, so you can tailor the strength of the beam to your requirements.
In a clever feature, once you’ve dimmed the lamp, if you need it back on full power, you can do so with one simple press of a button. Press it again and the Iota returns to how you had it set previously. The Iota Headlamp can also be locked, meaning you won’t accidentally turn it on when it’s at the bottom of your bag. It has a power metre to show when the battery is running out, and recharges from USB. It’s not waterproof (that would probably add a bit of weight) but it is splash proof so it’s not going to stop working in a shower - we’ve worn it through several while out running. All in all, this is smart, simple, small, inexpensive and if you’re looking for a general purpose headtorch, more than enough for most requirements.
Black Diamond Iota Headtorch