It’s headlamp season, folks. Honestly, it’s surprising just how quickly morning light goes once we get into September. Once-bright morning hours are now dark, but there’s no need to completely go away from early morning running, thanks to the Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp.

Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp Features:

  • 1 TriplePower LED with 200 lumens (max setting) projects a strong, oval beam
  • Red taillight strobe with on/off programmability for visibility in urban areas
  • Powered by a lithium polymer rechargeable battery (5-hour USB charge time)
  • Settings include full strength, dimming and strobe
  • Regulated for constant illumination on all brightness settings
  • IPX4: Storm proof—Tested to withstand rain and sleet from any angle
  • Weight: 105 grams
  • MSRP: $79.95
Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp Review

The Sprinter features a single LED up front and battery pack/taillight in back.

Run in darkness (with light)

Don’t let the darkness stop you. Late night or early morning activities are refreshingly-fun and allow you to stay active in spite of diminished daylight. Enter the revamped Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp — a rechargeable, running-focused headlamp with just about every feature you could ever want on on the road or the trail.

For starters, the Sprinter features an ultra bright 200 lumen LED up front that features 5 settings (max, bright, normal, low and dim) up front and three in the back (solid, bright flash and low flash). This combination has you covered for urban or trail adventures. Ultrarunners and other distance runners have long held onto headlamps as the only way to squeeze in enough miles to properly train for such distances. For me, it’s not so much about training for distances as it is to simply get out.

During the summer, I’m out the door by 6am as the light is beginning to crest over the Wasatch Mountains but during the shoulder season, it’s dark until after 7am. Getting the kids out the door to school and getting off to work necessitates an early morning so the Sprinter has come through as the only way to trail run before the morning madness begins.

Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp Review

The rear battery pack features a 3-mode taillight.

Feature-packed headlamp

Batteries are a must-have for deep backcountry multi-day adventures, but rechargeable batteries are much more convenient for dedicated morning/evening duties. The Sprinter’s lithium polymer battery charges from empty in 5 hours via mini USB plug and drains in 4 hours in max brightness. Rarely will the lamp be used in that mode for that much time, so plan on more hours than that for regular use.

Brightness Memory is pretty nifty and works like charm. You can choose to have the headlamp always turn on at 60% bright or enable the memory feature where it will turn on at the last used setting. This is handy when camping and you don’t want to wake up your tent mates if nature calls during the night. Memory works for the last setting with the exception of max bright. A single log-tap and a blink indicates you’re at max. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a quick blink also indicates that you’re at the lowest setting.

Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp Review

The Sprinter wears well for running — which should come as no surprise.

Centering the rear battery and light box does take a little bit of effort because the strap doesn’t slide through it very easily. I had it off-center for awhile until I took the time to fish the strap through. Either way, it’s not that big of a deal.

The taillight is a great feature for road running and a requirement for races such as the RAGNAR series. The taillight is illuminated separately from the headlamp so you can turn it on/off independently.

When running, the strap and the entire light sits well atop a beanie or running hat. The brim of a hat does cast a shadow in front of you, but the pivoting head allows you to minimize it somewhat. Even while running, it’s easy to adjust the pivot — something I do when I’m running downhill or uphill for long distances so as to illuminate the trail properly. It does include a removable top strap, which I didn’t find the need to use, but it’s there if you find the headlamp creeping down on you.

Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp Review

The rear taillight has three modes: Solid, medium blink and dim blink.

Light quality is excellent as the pattern is wide enough to brighten up the necessary width of trail for safety. Black Diamond states that the Sprinter’s lamp projects to 50 meters and that’s just fine because unless your Usain Bolt, you’ll never outrun it.

Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp.

Excellent brightness for early morning trail runs.

The only real negative thing that keeps throwing me off is the headlamp button’s function. A short press turns it off and a long press changes modes. Most bike lights (like the Bontrager Ion 700 R) I’ve got are the opposite of that with a short press going through modes and a long press turning it off.

The Good

  • Durable design can take weather and punishment
  • A wide variety of illumination options
  • Built-in taillight is great for urban running or 24 hour races
  • Lightweight and unnoticeable
  • Excellent light quality and brightness
  • Easily recharged

The Bad

  • Takes some time to fully recharge
  • Strap is difficult to feed through back compartment
  • Headlamp button operation counter-intuitive compared to most lights I’m used to

The Bottom Line: Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp

With the change in seasons, early morning running is now a regular activity and the Black Diamond Sprinter has quickly become my favorite headlamp. It wears well, offers excellent light quality and has me covered should I venture from trail to road.

Buy Now: Available at REI


About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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