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Black Diamond Sprint headlamp review: a lean, mean lighting machine with a few pressing problems

Ultralight, rechargeable and water-resistant the Black Diamond Sprint is a great headlamp for roads and easy trails

Black Diamond sprint red
(Image: © Black Diamond)

Our Verdict

A tiny, lightweight back-up or handy headlamp on roads and easy trails once you’ve read the instructions and remembered how to access each brightness setting.

For

  • Ultralight and comfy
  • Rain resistant IPX4
  • Rechargeable via micro-USB
  • Inexpensive

Against

  • No red light at rear
  • Not hugely bright
  • Only lasts 1.5 hours on max
  • Doesn’t also take 3 x AAAs
  • A little complicated to operate

Black Diamond Sprint: first impressions

At almost half the weight of other running headlamps we tested, the robust little Black Diamond Sprint is definitely one to pop in your pack in case you’re out longer than you expected to be, happily snapping that beautiful sunset and forgetting what comes next.

In fact, you could take the Sprint as a spare lamp instead of spare batteries for a heavier, brighter head torch so that you don’t have to worry about changing batteries in the dark. Which is a right faff, let’s face it.

And, for such a tiny, light headlamp, the Sprint packs a serious punch with 225 lumens on max power for at least 1.5 hours, or 120 lumens for four hours on the medium setting. This is plenty bright enough to run happily at night on roads and easy trails, but for more technical terrain, faster off-road running and night navigation most people will want a brighter light. 

It’s comfortable to wear, very water resistant, has a rechargeable lithium battery, and a battery life indicator on the side, but annoyingly you have to read the instructions (and even worse, remember them!) to be able to operate all the brightness modes; the dimmer function is a little tricky and the genius quick-power-boost side-tap only works with tech-compatible gloves.

Specifications

• RRP: $65 (US) / £50 (UK)
• Weight (incl. battery): 50g / 1.8oz
• Max light output: 225 lumens
• Average run time: (Low) 4 hours / (High) 1.5 hours
• Max beam distance: 40m / 131ft
• Water resistance: IPX4 (water-resistant)

Black Diamond Sprint: on the roads

Black Diamond Sprint

The blue Black Diamond Sprint (Image credit: Black Diamond)

There’s a lot to like about the Sprint, but you really do have to read the instructions. Maybe some people like a techy product, and this has a lot of good features packed into it, but when you’re in the dark (and possibly the cold and wet) this super-light, otherwise brilliant piece of kit also needs to be super-simple to operate. What’s wrong with just one click to scroll through three preset brightness modes and a hold down for strobe?

Instead, max power is hold the nice large button down for one second; dimmer switch is hold it down until it dims to the level you want (a nice touch, granted, but it’s tricky to hold your hand to your head while trail running); strobe is double-click; power-tap is at the side (but only works with bare fingertips or tech-compatible gloves on). 

We know this all sounds a bit ungrateful, but when you’re on a chilly, dank, dark hillside in the Lake District all you really want is a simple head torch that turns on, goes a bit brighter, and then a bit brighter still, all with the press of one nice big glove-compatible button… 

However, if you’ve got more brain-power than we have, this is the perfect just-pop-it-in-the-pack-in-case companion for you. 

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.