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Reader Reviews

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Black Diamond Ion

in Lights - Flashlights & Headlamps

Average Rating
2.80 / 5 (10 reviews)

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( sammyl - M )
Black Diamond Headlamp Ion on 08/02/2005 16:01:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Very light (1 ounce on my scale including battery and the elastic adjustable headband), simple, easy to use (one button, on/off function). Headband is permanently attached.

Disappointed I couldn't use it for reading in my tent -- isn't quite bright enough. But the similar Princeton Tec Scout headlamp is bright enough for reading. Also has 5 functions: 3 levels of brightness, 2 flashing frequencies. Can be clipped to the brim of a hat or hood, in addition to the headband. Weighs 0.5 ounce (or less) more than the Ion (with my own headband substituted for the factory version -- you can easily remove and change the headband). The switch was slightly more difficult to operate than on the Ion.

Batteries in each lamp are different: duration might be different.

Edited by sammyl on 08/02/2005 16:19:16 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Black Diamond Ion priced at: $17.99 - $19.95
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Ryan Jordan
( ryan - BPL STAFF - M )

Greater Yellowstone
BD Ion: battery & light ouptut on 08/02/2005 18:33:08 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

The Ion suffers from short battery life (where battery life is the amount of meaningful light you can get out of it) and outdated bulb technology. Form factor is ok, but the light isn't very stable on your head - bounces a lot when trail hiking.

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Michael Karaman
( Kerosene )

Upper Midwest
Good for camp, not for hiking on 05/10/2006 14:15:15 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Very light, and sufficiently bright to read by, at least for my 50-year old eyes. I certainly wouldn't try to night hike with this single LED. Even using it to go a tenth of a mile down the trail to see a nighttime valley view was pushing it, but it's fine for around camp. I haven't had any problems with battery life, but I bring a spare battery or Photon as backup.

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Mark Verber
( verber )

San Francisco Bay Area
Skip the Ion on 01/06/2007 23:18:55 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

The Ion is wonderfully compact and light... but I have to agree with the Ryan's complains. The light isn't as bright and has less throw than a Photon button light! I find that it doesn't provide enough light for night time wayfinding or tasks which require high quality light. The batteries are hard to find and are expensive. I have been very disappointed with how quickly the already low light levels fall off (e.g. poor lifetime). Not very weatherproof.

Edited by verber on 01/06/2007 23:20:21 MST.

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Doug Johnson
( djohnson - M )

Washington State
Black Diamond Ion Headlamp on 03/02/2007 21:02:34 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I once liked this light but its day has passed and there's been no updates.

The Petzl e+lite weighs the same, is much brighter, is much more versatile, and has longer batterly life. The Petzl does cost $10 more...

The Photon Freedom is MUCH lighter and is also brighter and more adjustable (altough it has a clip instead of a strap).

In the 1oz UL headlamp category, the Black Diamond Ion has been eclipsed.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Black Diamond Ion priced at: $17.99 - $19.95
Black Diamond Ion Headlamp priced at: $9.95 - $19.95
Petzl e+Lite priced at: $29.90 - $29.99
Shop ION, Photon products at GearBuyer
David Neumann
( idahomtman - M )

Northern Idaho
BD Ion on 03/03/2007 18:32:23 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I have used the BD Ion for several years. It is light weight and has proven adequate for my needs, but I agree that there are other lights to consider; the Photon among them. For a minimalist headlamp for use around camp (i.e., nature calls, some minimal trail use and some minimal reading) this is light and convenient.

If you really need to hike with a headlamp, this isn't your lamp.

paul johnson
( pj )

LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Let's all say a prayer for... on 03/04/2007 03:49:44 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

a beloved friend whose time has passed.

A nice little task/proximity light in its day. So light in weight. Produced enough light for its intended purpose.

However, it has been passed by other small Li coin cell powered microlights sporting 1 (Photon), 2 (PT Scout), or 3 (Petzl e+LITE) 5mm LEDs.

It's still useful and i'm not throwing mine away or palming it off on some neighborhood kid. However, it's just no longer at the head of its class.

Based upon its current competitors, I'd give it a 3 rating for its weight and light output, and ergonomics, EXCEPT for the form factor of its chosen power source. That little 6VDC PX28A/PX28AB (aka 4LR44, IIRC) battery is NOT the most convenient power source, nor does it, for its size, contain highly dense stored energy. A least now it's available in an Alkaline battery chemistry vs. its original mercury based chemistry. Still, even in an alkaline chemistry it only has 110 mAh of stored energy (a single good quality CR2016 batt has ~90mAh of "useful" stored energy, and a CR2032 has ~225mAh).

Taking this power source factor into account lowers my Rating to a 2.

Edited by pj on 03/04/2007 03:50:26 MST.

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George Matthews
( gmatthews - M )
Rest in peace on 03/05/2007 10:34:01 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

If we could give a rating to a rating, then I'd give pj's elegy a 5! Well done.

Two years ago, I was using the Ion on my way to a late night wizz on a chilly, clear night on Mt. Rogers (VA). I clicked off the Ion and commenced. Then to my amazement, I looked up to see the Milky Way. It was beautiful.

Although my old friend sees mimimal use these days (I'm referring to the Ion), too many memories with the beloved don't allow me to give its rightful below average rating of 2. For sentimental reasons, I give it a 3.

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Ben Egan
( benjammin21 )

The Grid, Brooklyn
BD Ion: Meh.... on 02/10/2008 14:34:28 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I thought that I would really like this light for UL backpacking. Maybe I'd do a little night hiking and it would be the Rudolf of my expedition. However, I did not do as much research as I should have.

I do not recommend this light. In about 15 - 30 minutes it begins to fade, and after an hour it is rather useless. I took it camping a couple weekends ago and was lucky enough to have brought a spare (Maglight, car camping). I was with Boy Scouts just playing a cards and before long it wasn't doing anything really. The only time I would use it now is for when I'm getting ready to go to sleep. I regret my purchase.

This light does not live up to being a very useful tool, even for lightweight backpacking.

Jay Wilkerson
( Creachen )

East Bay
ION-OK! on 06/09/2008 06:36:55 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

After trimming the headband I got the weight down to 0.8 oz. I do not hike at night but do use the late night facilities from timt to time. All being said I am happy with the Black Diamond ION. Batteries weigh nothing so bring a spare and you are good to go. LED is bright enough for all night time camp tasks.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Black Diamond Ion priced at: $17.99 - $19.95

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