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Gear

Field Tested: Black Diamond Storm 400

Basics

Black Diamond’s Storm 400 headlamp emits up to 400 lumens of light. With three lenses and the ability to dim each, the Storm is built for a variety of outdoor adventures. With just two buttons—one for on/off and dimming, the other for switching between modes—it’s user-friendly. The PowerTap Technology on the side of the housing allows you to toggle between the dim and bright settings to preserve battery life.


Pros

Price-friendly and not overly built // Bright, effective illumination // Comfortable for long-term wear // Has three vision-preserving nighttime modes

Cons

Short battery life on the highest setting—using the Storm 400 on this setting, I drained the batteries after two nights out // Doesn’t come with a rechargeable battery pack; instead takes 4 AAA batteries


Our Thoughts

The Storm 400 is ideal for sport-climbing or bouldering trips that occasionally dip into the night. It won’t take up any space in your pack, and is reliable and lightweight.


Size Reviewed

n/a

Weight

4.2 ounces

Price

$50

Brand

Black Diamond


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Night Vision

I have poor night vision. This is something I only recently discovered about myself, after nightfall one summer evening in Rifle, Colorado. My boyfriend could see, and I could not. Like a gentleman, he gave me the one light we had between us for the short walk back to the car. That’s when I knew I really needed a new headlamp, since mine of 10 years ago was long lost.

The Black Diamond Storm 400 is simple, compact, and effective. As the name suggests, the headlamp emits up to 400 lumens on its highest setting, which, if left on, will last an average of five hours. Like any good headlamp, the Storm has multiple settings (six, in fact), and three lenses: one for distance mode, another for proximity mode, and one that you can toggle between red, green, and blue—versus the standard headlamp bright white—to preserve your night vision.

You can dim all the lenses at will by holding down the main button. The PowerTap Technology on the side of the headlamp’s housing allows you to easily toggle between full and dim power with the tap of a finger—so easy you can do it mid-route. At the lowest setting, it will last an average of 200 hours.

Meanwhile, in any setting, you can switch the Storm into strobe mode if you click the main button twice. And when off, you can lock/unlock the headlamp by simultaneously holding down the main and mode-selection buttons, to prevent it from turning on in your pack.

Best for Single Pitches

I used the Storm 400 for the last pitches of the day, the hikes out, and late-night Jetboil cookups. While climbing and hiking, I used it in the highest setting, which was plenty bright. Hand- and footholds were all clearly visible, making night feel like day. In fact, I only remembered the late hour when I rounded a lip and realized, given the angle and the position of the headlamp, that it was going to be impossible to direct the beam around the corner.

The proximity and night-vision modes were great for cooking and other before-bed activities. I preferred a dimmed red for tasks that didn’t require much light, and a dimmed blue for scoping the guidebook.

Weighing in at 4.2 ounces, the Storm 400 is barely there. I loved that the mass is entirely situated around the lenses themselves—there’s no accessory battery pack pressed up against the back of your skull. The Storm 400 feels straightforward and sleek.

That said, the con is that the Storm, on its highest setting, won’t last. You can keep track of battery life via the three dots on the left side of the headlamp, which illuminate to indicate the remaining battery level—the headlamp comes with four AAA batteries included. And though it is lithium-ion rechargeable-battery compatible, you’d have to buy them elsewhere. Given the crux of replacing batteries (or charging four if you opt to), I wouldn’t recommend this headlamp for long night sessions on a rope, when prolonged bright light is necessary. For me, the battery lasted only about two nights of roped climbing. I adjusted my expectations after that.

The headlamp is dustproof and waterproof. Ringing in at $50, the Storm 400 is on par price-wise with headlamps of similar features.