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Black Diamond Icon-Polar lights up cold-weather climbing

Black Diamond took its professional-level Icon — a waterproof headlamp with impressive 200-lumen output — and for winter use moved the battery pack from behind the head and into a separate compartment.

The resulting Icon-Polar headlamp is made for climbers and adventurers venturing into bitter-cold environments, and who prefer less weight on their heads.

Black Diamond Icon Polar
Black Diamond Icon-Polar headlamp with detached battery pack

The Icon-Polar's battery pack features a long lead that enables it to be worn close to the skin, a welcome feature for cold-weather pursuits.

It moves the battery pack out from underneath a climbing or skiing helmet or winter hat. Plus, it helps keep batteries warm and conserves their energy, increasing cold-weather performance.

The blazing Icon-Polar seems tailor-made for winter expeditions. Besides the battery pack move, it boasts all the same features as the original Icon from Black Diamond.

Quad-power LED's throw an impressive 200 lumens at max power, which is enough to illuminate the trail nearly 100 meters ahead. This might not be enough for dog sledding, but it's certainly enough for winter hiking, biking, and mountaineering.

Two single-power LED's throw 35 lumens, providing a softer option with longer battery life. Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night vision, and lock mode.

A three-level power meter shows you your remaining battery life for three seconds after switching on the headlamp. And like the Icon, the Icon-Polar is protected against water immersion down to one meter (3.3 ft) for 30 minutes (IPX 7).


  • Weight: 230 g / 8.1 oz (with batteries, same for Icon)
  • Lumens: 200 (max)
  • LED's: 1 QuadPower LED spotlight, 2 SinglePower white LEDs, and 2 SinglePower red LEDs
  • Max Burn: 250 hr
  • Batteries: 4 AA's
  • Available: August 2012
  • MSRP: $89.95


This is a sweet lamp. I like the OG BD Icon(I was actually considering one.) I like night hiking quite a bit. I want to see some reviews on this light but seems impressive. 

It would be nice if they made some type of adapter plug to where you could switch up the battery compartment from the winter kit to the set-up that the standard Icon uses. 

This would give great flexibility to the user for warmer season use as well. I am not sure I would want to have a battery pack up against my skin when the temp/humidity kicks up. 

I bought an Icon a few weeks ago but was disappointed to learn that the rechargeable battery is not Lithium based but NiMH. I bought the Icon in part because it has an optional rechargeable battery pack, but I won't trust it in winter until I can find out whether it as cold proof as Lithium. Unfortunately,  4 x AA Lithium batteries (which is what the Icon requires) cost $17.

And its not that expensive. Mail order please.

technology will come

Haha. What's new is old, but with improved technology. My first headlamp was a Wonder, made in France. The headpiece and battery compartment were separate, connected by a cord so that it was possible to carry the battery case inside clothing to keep the battery warm. We used to say that it was called Wonder, because it was a wonder it ever worked...batteries were special, they frequently leaked, the cord was too lightweight and it's plug often worked loose.

I'm in the market for a new headlamp. For winter use, this might be convenient. However, for moderate temperatures, I'll stick to an all-in-one type. The cord can be a hassle.

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