Black Diamond Sprinter Review

An in-depth review of the Black Diamond Sprinter, a “streets-to-trail” headlamp.

By on October 19, 2010 | Comments

Black Diamond logoWith Fall upon us, it’s time to start watching the sun go down earlier and wait for it to come up later. With that in mind we decided here on Trail Trials to take a look at some lighting solutions to brighten up those inevitable times when you can’t coordinate your outdoor activities with the shortened window of daylight. Below we take a look at the Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp. As usual, there’s a video review followed by written highlights.

What separates the Sprinter from any other headlamp on the market? It has rechargeable battery that is built into the headlamp. No extra batteries to take out and charge. Simply pop the proprietary charging adapter on to the battery pack, plug it and let the charging begin. We know that we have some viewers/readers that live outside the US and the good news is that the charging kit includes not only a standard US plug, but 3 foreign adapters that snap onto body of the wall plug to fit your need.

Black Diamond SprinterThe Sprinter headlamp is rated at 68 lumens which falls into the midrange in terms of brightness. It’s not going to light up the night sky like the 200 lumen Petzl Ultra, but you are going to get ample output to keep the ground beneath you illuminated. There is not a diffuser, but Black Diamond did go with an oval lens to cast a wider beam versus the circle lens that is found on most lamps. High steady, high strobe, low steady and low strobe are the light modes to choose from. One click turns on the lamp and puts you in the high beam mode. Another click brings on the strobe. The third click turns the lamp off. To get from high beam to low beam, you simple hold down the button and it will decrease in brightness.

On the back of the headlamp you will find a safety light embedded in the battery pack. While this flashing red light is great for running in areas of high traffic, it may not always be needed so we were glad to see that you have the option to disable it.

Battery Performance
Since we can’t just throw in some fresh batteries and start using the unit, we took the chance to charge and discharge this lamp a few times. Performing this exercise gave us a better feel for how long it takes to charge fully and then how long we could run it before looking for the outlet. What we discovered in 4 discharge/charge sessions was that once the lamp was completely drained it took between 4-5 hours to fully charge. Once fully charged we were able to get 7-8 hours of continuous output on high beam before the light rapidly dropped in light output. These charging/discharging tests were performed in the climate controlled Trail Trials indoor lab so outside temperature, humidity, and other factors will probably cause a little more strain on the batteries resulting in shorter burn times.

Other Features of Note
Black Diamond put some thought into the design of this unit. It’s very lightweight. The entire assembly feels almost not there when wearing it on your head, which is a good thing! The headband is well designed with a “compartment” that the cord that runs from the battery pack to the light travels though and keeps it from dangling and potentially getting snagged on something.


  • Lightweight – 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
  • Rechargeable – fewer batteries to throw away
  • Brightness to weight ratio is good
  • Well thought out headband with top stability strap and wire compartment
  • Red blinking safety light on the back that can be turned off


  • Rechargeable – tough to recharge on the trail
  • Has proprietary charging attachment
  • Only 7 hour burn time on full brightness

Black Diamond touts this as a “streets-to-trail” headlamp. Without even knowing that prior to the review that is the same conclusion we arrived at, so in that aspect, they nailed it. This is not the lamp you are going to use to get you through a 100 miler. It is, however, a headlamp you can trust to be bright enough and have the juice needed to get you through your week day runs when you get home after the sun has already set.

If you want to pick it up, the Black Diamond Sprinter is available from the Wilderness Running Company. As an iRunFar reader, you get 10% off all Wilderness Running Company purchases. Just enter the code iRunFar10 at checkout. You’ll also get free shipping AND help support It’s a win-win-win!

Call for Comments
Have you run with the Black Diamond Sprinter? If so, let us know how it went. If you’ve got questions, fire away. If you’ve got a different favorite headlamp, share what it is.

[Disclosure: Black Diamond provided the author with a sample Sprinter to review. In addition, the Wilderness Running Company links in this post is part of an affiliate program that helps support]

Travis Liles

Travis Liles is a gear reviewer at iRunFar. He’s been reviewing trail running and ultrarunning gear (and occasionally penning an article) for over 15 years. He is married to his Junior High sweetheart, has two amazing daughters, and works as a solution architect for a large software company. Originally from the Midwest but now based in Portland, Oregon, Travis is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner. Over the past 18 years, he has competed in many ultra-distance races and has completed 15 100-mile races, including Ozark Trail, Leadville, Big Horn, and HURT 100. He is a recovering RD and enjoys pacing friends, trail work, and volunteering at local events.