Black Diamond Storm

9 reviews
5-star:   3
4-star:   6
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Specs

Weight 110 g / 3.9 oz (with batteries)
Lumens 160
LED Type 1 QuadPower, 2 SinglePower
Max Distances [QuadPower LED] 70 m (230 ft)
[SinglePower LED] 7 m (23 ft)
Max Burn Time [QuadPower LED] 200 H
[SinglePower LED] 125 H
IPX Rating 7
Batteries 4 AAA

Reviews

8

The Black Diamond Storm headlamp is a waterproof,…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Black Diamond for testing and review)

Summary

The Black Diamond Storm headlamp is a waterproof, medium sized lamp that is loaded with features: High power, waterproof, dimmable, lockable, and touch sensitive.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Dimmable
  • PowerTap feature
  • Powerful output

Cons

  • Uses 4 AAA batteries
  • Can be confusing

At first glance, the Black Diamond Storm headlamp looks pretty much like any other lamp available on the market, but upon further inspection, you’ll notice it has a couple of interesting features not yet available on many other lamps.


Storm.jpg
The Black Diamond Storm

The Storm is rated at a whopping 160 lumens on full power, with the capability to throw a beam 70 meters (230 feet) with a burn time of 70 minutes. On low power, its output drops to 4 lumens, casting a beam out to three meters (10 feet) and a burn time of 200 hours.

The Storm has three sets of lamps, a main central spot, two small white LEDs, and two small red LEDs. The central spot is used when you need those 160 lumens, such as hiking at night, trying to find that belay point, or like I did, exploring abandoned gold mines in Death Valley National Park. On high power, the Storm really lights up the night.


Storm-Center.jpg
The powerful center spot lamp

The two small, white LEDs are perfect around camp or in your tent where you don’t need full power. The two red LEDs are great for night time photography when you don’t want to ruin your night vision, or, perhaps, when you are crammed into an Appalachian Trail community trail hut and don’t want to disturb fellow hikers.


Storm-Small.jpg
The two outer small, white LED lamps

All three sets of lamps are dimmable, simply by holding down the single button located on top of the lamp. And it’s here that one of those new features really comes into play.


Storm-Red.jpg
The red LED lamps

The Black Diamond Storm has the ability to switch from full power to any preselected dimmed position with the touch of a finger. It’s called “PowerTap.” Simply touch a factory determined spot on the right side of the headlamp with your finger and the lamp will switch back and forth from bright to dim.

It works great, though I did find myself fiddling around looking for the exact spot. I was surprised to notice that this feature even works through thin gloves, such as liners. It did not, however, work through heavy winter gloves or gloves that had a lot of extra room in the fingers. Still, I found this feature quite handy when I needed a bit more light for a few moments.


Storm-Powertap.jpg
The Power Tap location

Another nice feature of the Storm is the ability to lock it in the off position, which will keep it from accidently turning on while it stuffed in your backpack.  With the lamp turned off, hold the power button down for six seconds. A blue lamp, located on the left side will flash.

Located in the same spot as the lock lamp is the battery meter lamp. When the Storm is turned on the small light will glow green, orange, or red for three seconds, depending on battery life.


Storm-Battery.jpg
The battery indicator light.

The Storm is also completely waterproof to IPX7 standards to a depth of one meter for 30 minutes. While I didn’t test this, I did do a bathroom sink test for about 15 minutes with no ill effects.

All-in-all, I found the Black Diamond Storm headlamp to be one of the best headlamps I’ve used. While it’s not the lightest headlamp I own — it weighs 4.2 ounces / 118 grams with four AAA batteries installed — it doesn’t feel heavy on my head.

The battery life is pretty good, especially if using the dimmer and/or the smaller LEDs. In fact, using the headlamp extensively in Death Valley for a week of mine exploration and camping, I noticed no discernibly reduction in light output. I did find the power button a bit stiff and cycling through the modes confusing at first, but I quickly learned the sequence and had no further issues.

The Storm would be a great all-round headlamp for anyone — backpackers, bikers, campers, thru-hikers — needing a reliable, well built headlamp.

G00SE MODERATOR

Nice review, Jim. I may look into this lamp for a backup caving light.


4 months ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for testing and sharing this review, Jim. Great pictures too.


4 months ago
Lah

Very interesting. The touch feature is similar to the lamp I just tested. Did you have any trouble with it when it's wet?


4 months ago
JimDoss

Leah - Good question and something I forgot to mention. No, I did not have any trouble with the Power touch feature when the headlamp was wet.


4 months ago
Seth Levy TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for your review Jim. Can inanimate objects activate the PowerTap feature? Or does it have to be a hand?


4 months ago
JimDoss

Seth - No, inanimate objects cannot activate the light. It only works when someone touches it.


4 months ago
7

A waterproof, lightweight headlamp that you can easily…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50

Summary

A waterproof, lightweight headlamp that you can easily bring with you on any adventure.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Multiple lighting options, including night vision
  • Power meter
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Uses 4 AAA batteries
  • Short battery life when used on max power

I presently live in a cabin off the grid with no consistent source of electric, so this headlamp gets a lot of use indoors and out! I've enjoyed the sleek, lightweight design, as I'm able to carry it with me wherever I go. I also appreciate the variety of lighting options:


headlamp.jpg

Proximity lighting from 2 SinglePower LEDs


headlamp2.jpg

Distance lighting from 1 TriplePower LED


headlamp3.jpg

Night vision from 2 SinglePower red LEDs

I love being able to switch between lighting depending upon my activity. There is a dimming option as well, which improves battery life. The one downfall I have found is that the Storm uses 4 AAA batteries. As I use this headlamp quite often, I tend to go through batteries pretty quickly unless I'm careful to use the dimmer when I can. However, the power meter is a nice feature. It lets you know what your remaining battery life is so that you can plan ahead and avoid being suddenly stuck in the dark. 

I bought the Storm this winter, and therefore haven't had the opportunity to use it in the water. However, I'm really looking forward to taking advantage of the waterproof feature for kayaking and paddle boarding this summer. Moonlit paddles without the risk of not being seen by boaters will be all the more relaxing!

With 100 lumen output, the Storm generally provides sufficient lighting. There are certainly brighter options out there, but they are likely to be larger and more expensive. For some reason, the strap has a tendency to stretch out when I wear it for long periods of time. This may be operator error. However, if you plan to use it on longer excursions, you may want to test it out to be sure the strap is fitting securely. 

Overall, this is a headlamp that has worked well for multiple uses ranging from lighting the pages of a book to illuminating a hiking trail at night. 

Joseph Renow

Nice review Outdoor. Wow!...4AA batteries and only 100 lumens? The stretchy head-strap worries me too...this shouldn't be happening...but might be the result of all the weight (4AA). To help with the cost and waste of batteries I suggest NiMH batteries...they are recharge-friendly (no memory...and good for hundreds of recharges).


7 months ago
DrPhun

It's 4 AAA


7 months ago
OutdoorKelly

Thanks for the correction DrPhun...yes, it's 4 AAA


7 months ago
Joseph Renow

I see...but still...4AAA seems like a lot of battery right? The same NiMH suggestion still applies:-)


7 months ago
Waldy

OutdoorKelly: Kudos on a good review. I bought my Storm over a year ago and have used it quite a bit. Being a cheap-skate, I almost always run the dimmer at minimum. I love the red light for not waking up others sleeping in close proximity (remember that your color vision is gone in the red light!). I've only had one problem when the light actually came on in my pack (something had to be pressing the button, a feat that is hard to perform in a pack), so I had to use my backup batteries. Otherwise, I'm quite happy with it. For real serious work, where I need more light or longer time, I us my Icon.


6 months ago
Eric Labanauskas BRAND REP

Black Diamond makes the most comfortable headlamps and my first was a Storm. Only replaced it because their 2014 Spot offered 130 lumens off of three AAA batteries at a $40 price point. Great review!


6 months ago
3

Very nice and bright light with a great deal of control…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50

Summary

Very nice and bright light with a great deal of control over light output. The brightness and variety of functions this light has makes it well worth the extra weight.

Pros

  • Bright Triple Power LED
  • 2 Red LED Lights
  • Adjustable Triple Power and Single Power White LEDs
  • Waterproof
  • Lockable Power Switch
  • Low Battery Indicator
  • Large On/Off Switch
  • Plastic adjustment clip on headband serves as screwdriver that opens and closes battery compartment

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Requires 4 AAA batteries
  • No adhesive mounting option for helmets

Among the headlamps designed for backpacking and climbing purposes this seems to be one of the brighter ones that I have tried. Black Diamond claims that it has an output of up to 100 lumens and a range of up to 70 meters and I have no reason to doubt these claims.

This headlamp has three different styles of lights, most of which have multiple functions and an adjustable output.  The style of lights are as follows:

  • 1 Triple Power White LED: Adjustable light outputDSCF0111.jpg
  • 2 Single Power White LEDs: Adjustable light output, flashing mode
    DSCF0116.jpg
  • 2 Single Power Red LEDs
    DSCF0114.jpg

The light output on the triple power LED is amazing; I have been able to easily spot trail blazes on trees that have probably been well over 50 meters away. This light is located in the center of the headlamp and has a lens that creates a focused beam.

The triple power LED is the first light that comes on when headlamp is turned on (unless it was previously turned off when the red LEDs were the last lights to be used, then the red LEDs turn on first). The triple LED's light output can be adjusted by holding down the on/off switch; this slowly dims the light, allowing you do pick the exact amount of brightness that you desire.

Increasing the light output is done in the same manner by continuing to press the on/off switch—the light will decrease to its lowest output and then will begin to gradually increase its output.

The two single power white LEDs create a good deal of diffuse light that is great doing chores around camp, setting up a tent in the dark, or illuminating a trail for nighttime hiking. These two white single power LEDs are the second light that is cycled to when the on/off button is pressed. Like the triple power LED, the two white single power LEDs have an adjustable output. Additionally they have a blinking mode that is activated when the on/off switch is quickly double tapped when the single power white LEDs are already on.

Finally there are two single power red LEDs that are the third and final light that can be cycled to by pressing the on/off switch. These red LEDs provide a diffuse light and do not have an adjustable light output; however, they do have a blinking mode that can be activated in the same manner as the blinking mode for the single power white LEDs.

This light is very easy to operate, even with gloved cold hands. There is only one button that operates the entire headlamp, and it is large and easy to access. One of the best features on this light is that it can be locked in the off mode by simply holding down the on/off switch. This prevents the light from accidentally turning on in your pack.

The only minor drawback is that it is sometimes hard to get the light to switch into the blinking modes because the double-clicking the on/off switch needs to be pretty fast.
DSCF0107.jpg

DSCF0118.jpg

The headlamp has a single headband that is very adjustable. It is large enough to fit around a bike or climbing helmet. The one thing that I wish Black Diamond would do with their headlamps would be to provide a helmet mount that could be used to attach the headlamp to a helmet without the use of the headband, similar to the adhesive mounts that Petzl makes for some of its headlamps (e.g., Petzl Tikka 2 Adapt Kit).

I frequently commute on a bike at night and attach this lamp to my bike helmet (Giro Surface) using the elastic headband, but an adhesive mount would be much more secure.
DSCF0102.jpg
DSCF0141.jpg

The headlamp's angle can be adjusted down a considerable amount via a hinged connection that is very similar to Petzl Tikka models. However, it does not allow for as wide a range of angle adjustments as lights like Princeton Tec's Byte headlamp.
DSCF0103.jpg

This headlamp is well built and I expect it to last a long time. The plastics used in this headlamp feel solid and the waterproof housing looks like it will keep water out even after extended use. There are no obvious areas for water to leak through and the opening to the battery compartment is sealed with a gasket and held securely shut with a screw that can be tightened and loosened with the end of the plastic clip on the headband.

I have used it in heavy downpours while hiking and biking and it not failed. This headlamp is much more durable than the last headlamp I owned (Princeton Tec's Byte), which failed on me after a few weekend backpacking trips.
DSCF0108.jpg
DSCF0106.jpg

Given the variety of different lights and adjustable outputs this headlamp has, it is well suited for a variety of activities. It is great for nighttime hiking and backpacking because of its ability to illuminate trails and identify distant trail markings.

It's also great for mounting on a bike helmet—if possible—to be used to make yourself more visible on the road and to help supplement other bike lights. If this headlamp is to be used for biking, I would recommend using additional lights mounted to your bike for enhanced visibility of the road surface.

Ashleigh MODERATOR

Really nice write-up, Andy!


5 months ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for sharing your review, Andy, and for all the helpful photos you included.


5 months ago
1

This is a great all-weather headlamp with variable…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50

Summary

This is a great all-weather headlamp with variable output, dual beam shape, and red-light function. Good for hiking and up-close work in camp or around the house. Also, good for a cycling light.

Pros

  • Variable output
  • Flash setting
  • Red light
  • IPX-7 rating
  • Spread or focused beam

Cons

  • Requires 4 batteries
  • No BD brand compatible rechargeable battery

I've used this lamp a few times and I love it! I started with the Black Diamond Spot (a solid lamp itself), but for $10 more, the Storm offers an IPX-7 (vs. IPX-4) rating and 100 lumens of output (vs. 90).

The Storm performs very well in all conditions. Even in 20 degrees and winter rain, the lamp stood up and stayed on (on my head and turned on). The precise variable output is a must for me now. The ability to go from long-distance spotting on night hikes to reading in the tent at night with the push-and-hold of a button is awesome, and something I won't be able to live without. The one-button design is easy to use and switching between modes only takes a push or hold of the button.

The lock-out feature (hold the button for 6 seconds) is also invaluable: I'll never have to open my stuff sack to find an illuminated and half-drained headlamp again! I've had the same set of AAA batteries in the lamp since purchasing it in fall 2011 with intermittent use since, and the output is still great.

The casing is plastic and seems pretty hefty, but I haven't been too rough on it yet, so no comment on the durability quite yet. The gasket-sealed battery casing is held shut with a small hand-tighten or flat-head screw and feels very secure. The screw receiver is plastic, so I am worried about the threading eventually stripping. The headband is elastic and comfortable so far and stays tight over hats, beanies, or directly on the head.

I have used the lamp for cycling to/from work at night in Dallas, and it performed wonderfully. I was able to rig it to the front of my bike using the strap and it was great!

Overall, it's a great headlamp that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good value, mid-high output lamp for all-weather use.

I purchased the lamp from Whole Earth Provision Co., where I work. This review is in no way affiliated with Whole Earth Provision Co. and my opinion of the product does not reflect that of Whole Earth Provision Co.

0

Yup, this is the one I bought too. At first i was…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 50 bucks

Summary

Yup, this is the one I bought too.

Pros

  • The dimmer
  • Good price
  • Durable
  • Good strong light
  • Batteries are holding up nice
  • Easy to use the dimmer

Cons

  • Not sure. Further testing will tell.

At first i was going to buy a Petzl Tikka 2. Then the girls in the store told me that they all had this one. The dimmer is what sold them. So I thought, how could they be wrong.

And sure enough, they were right. The dimmer makes this lamp. And it's 30 dollars cheaper. It looks and feel durable and the batteries, I think there are 4, are holding up nicely.

0

Good spot distance, variable output, solid retail…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50

Summary

Good spot distance, variable output, solid retail pricing.

Pros

  • Variable output
  • Able to be locked from turning on
  • Comfortable headband

Cons

  • Flood is too dim
  • Uses 4 AAAs

I cannot complain about this headlamp. It's comfortable, offers the selection of its entire range of brightness in both spot and proximity modes, and has good coloration.

The ability to lock the headlamp from turning on — accomplished by holding the power button for several seconds — is a great plus. I believe in bringing extra batteries, but one should never go into their backup based on accident or stupidity.

The only drawbacks I've found are it being 4 AAAs, which is nitpicking, and having slightly too soft proximity lighting. That being said, the proximity lighting is usable for chores and cooking.

0

Good all-around, all-weather choice. Have used this…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40

Summary

Good all-around, all-weather choice.

Pros

  • Brightness
  • Good in all weather conditions

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Weight is not the "lightest" out there

Have used this headlamp for several years with no problems. Held up well to abuse. Put out good light, good range of options/modes including a fairly bright red output. Nicely sealed against wet weather. 

0

Great headlamp for all things. I bought this after…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 34.99 USD

Summary

Great headlamp for all things.

Pros

  • Adjustable beam
  • Bright
  • Sturdy
  • Durable

I bought this after many reviews of other headlamps and all I can say is this thing is a great piece of gear to have for any backpacker, hiker, camper, etc. I have used it on numerous backpacking trips and I must say that the red lights for night vision are great, didn't wake anyone at all....The main beam is so bright but you can turn it down so you don't kill the batteries since it does take four (comes with 4 though).

When I'm not using it for backpacking I just use it to read a book in my bed at night which the two led's turned down are perfect for. I think its a great product for [$] more from the Spot plus it's water resistant. What more could you ask for!

0

Best headlamp i've ever had.. super bright!! This…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $35

Summary

Best headlamp i've ever had.. super bright!!

Pros

  • Bright
  • Nice colors
  • Red light
  • Waterproof

This Black Diamond headlamp is really bright.. with 100 lumens you get what you buy.

Has a strobe mode, red light and a powerful distance illumination.