Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp
MSRP: $59.95 / Weight: 97 grams / Max Lumens: 130
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Most headlamps fit a pretty standard profile these days - a couple different brightness settings, some weather durability, and possibly a red-light function to preserve your night vision. Black Diamond’s ReVolt has these standard features, but it’s also rechargeable via USB which is a huge advantage for most backcountry uses. This isn’t a review which pits multiple rechargeable headlamps against each other in order to nitpick the minor differences, rather it’s a quick rundown of why the ReVolt works for the majority of my needs and why you might consider getting a rechargeable headlamp in the future.
The biggest advantage of a rechargeable battery is that each new trip can start with a full battery charge ensuring a maximum power output beam. There’s nothing worse than a dim beam from a headlamp whose batteries are less than full. With a headlamp like the ReVolt you can give a full charge anywhere there is access to a power source and USB outlet (the headlamp includes a micro USB cable which plugs directly into the unit). Whether it’s at your house the night before a trip, or even in the car in between trailheads, it’s an easy, convenient way to maximize the brightness of the beam and ensure that the headlamp is always topped off. Additionally, the rechargeable battery pack means you won’t be buying or throwing away extra batteries. For extended trips where recharging isn’t an option there’s always the ability to swap the rechargeable AAA batteries for standard ones, enabling flexibility with the power options.
The ReVolt came as an upgrade to an older Petzl Tikka that I owned, and a couple features prove to be worth the upgrade. First off, it’s possible to smoothly dim or brighten the ReVolt by just holding down the power button. This allows you to fine tune your beam to the task at hand while not wasting extra power. This function works on both the main power beam, which reaches just over 200 feet, and the more diffuse power-saving beam. It’s not possible to adjust the power on the red-light beam, but this isn’t usually necessary as it is just for reading and close tasks. By far the best feature of the ReVolt is the ability to “lock” the headlamp by holding down the power button for around 6 seconds. A little blue light will flash on the side indicating the headlamp is locked, and the headlamp won’t power on unless the power button is held down for 6 seconds. This prevents accidental bumps or jostling in your pack from turning on and draining your headlamp before you even get to the trail (something that happened quite a few times with the Tikka). All these functions operate through just one button, and a three-level power meter on the side of the headlamp indicates how much power is remaining.
The ReVolt has all the functions of a standard headlamp, and a few nifty ones such as the lock mode. What really sets it apart from the pack is the USB recharging capability, which ensures you’re always starting each trip with a fully charged headlamp and negates the need for replacing batteries on all but the longest trips. It’s low-profile and light enough for running, and has enough power for uses like mountain biking. If you’re in the market for a new headlamp I’d strongly suggest considering one with USB recharging capabilities like the ReVolt, and then picking the right one based on proposed used, beam size & shape, brightness, battery life, and weather resistance.
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