A headlamp is essential gear for camping and travel adventures. It's also incredibly useful for any endeavor where you need light, like working around the house. I've owned countless headlamps since I first started hiking back in high school. My all-time favorite version is the one I currently primarily use: the **Black Diamond Spot-400 R**. [Here's the link to it at REI](https://www.rei.com/product/202760/black-diamond-spot-400-r-headlamp). ## Black Diamond Spot-400 R This is my current go-to headlamp. It's what I use when I'm camping, the one I toss in the pack for a hike, the one that I bring traveling, and the one I wear while night kayaking. It's Jen's favorite headlamp too. ![[black-diamond-spot-400-R-headlamp.jpeg]] ### What I like about it It's pretty compact and the comfiest of the headlamps I've owned. It's not too big or heavy, so you don't notice it on your head (unlike some of my other brighter 4-AAA headlamps), but it's more than bright enough and has all the features you'd want. #### (Re)charging Being able to recharge via micro USB is the killer feature in an already great package. We've used rechargeable AAA batteries in our headlamps for ages now, and while that's preferable to disposable batteries, it's still a bit of a pain. If you need more than one charge's worth, then you either need to bring extra batteries to swap out, or bring the charger (and ours is huge) and find an outlet for it. And even if you're just charging at home, then you need to make sure you have an even number of spent batteries—you can't charge three at a time, you need either 4 or 6. So being able to charge via USB is *incredibly handy*. You can charge it in your car, or in the tent via a battery block, or easily at home with no fuss. Also, the little charging panel itself is well done; it's a plastic snap-closed cover, not the cheap silicone flap that is in constant danger of getting torn off. Note: this headlamp is also available in a non-rechargeable version, so make sure you’re looking at the “R” model. #### Other features The buttons are rather intuitive. There's a depressed "mode" button, which shifts between flood and spotlight, strobe, red light, etc. And then there's the dimming button, which turns it on and off and dims/brightens when held down. Crucially, the headlamp retains the light setting and intensity when you turn it off, which is handy. It also has a lock-out feature (hold both buttons for a few seconds), which prevents it from accidentally turning on in your pack. There's also a "quick bright" function where you tap a certain spot on the side of the headlamp with your finger and it'll immediately turn to max brightness. Tap it again and it goes back to low light. It takes some getting used to, but it's great to have. It offers an IPX7 rating, so it's submersible and dustproof, so you can use it in the rain without worry, or (as I do) while kayaking. #### Some specs - Brightness - High: 400 lumens, 100 meter distance - Medium: 200 lumens, 60 meter distance - Low: 6 lumens, 12 meter distance - 2.6 ounces (which includes the 1500 mAh lithium-ion battery of course) ### What could be better The one thing that I wish was a bit better on this headlamp is the red light—it just needs to be a bit brighter. It's perfect for inside the tent, but it's not quite bright enough for me to hike with, at least in desert terrain that requires some trail-finding. --- > [!info] About my product reviews > Online reviews are untrustworthy and suck these days, so I post my own to share my experience and research (see #product-reviews). [Contact me](https://rscottjones.com/contact) if you have any questions. Sometimes I'll include an affiliate link (that costs you nothing) so you can help support site costs, but as with all of my public notes, my goal here isn't to make money. Tags: #products/outdoor-gear #product-reviews