Sometimes evolution happens in slow increments, and sometimes it makes great leaps.  Black Diamond’s ReVolt combines lessons learned gradually from previous designs to leap to the forefront of compact headlamp performance.

Black Diamond ReVolt HeadlampFeatures:

  • 1 triple power LED, 2 single power white LEDs and 2 single power red LEDs
  • Max brightness 110 lumens
  • Max beam distance: 70m with alkaline batteries, 66 with NiMH
  • Burn time (high and low settings)
  • Alkaline batteries: 70 hours on high, 300 hours on low
  • NiMH batteries: 12 hours on high, 190 on low
  • Uses Black Diamond NiMH AAA rechargeable batteries with USB charging cable (included), or standard alkaline or lithium rechargeable batteries
  • Dimming and strobe settings
  • Lockout function to save battery drain
  • Red night vision mode activates without cycling through white mode
  • Three-level charge indicator
  • IPX 4 water resistance
  • Weight (with batteries): 97g (3.4 oz)
  • MSRP $60

black diamond revolt headlamp

Recharge, re-activate

Although Black Diamond was a pioneer in the rechargeable headlamp arena with its outstanding Icon, the company has lagged significantly behind in creating a rechargeable lamp in the critical compact lamp category.  With the release of this spring’s ReVolt, Black Diamond hasn’t just joined the race, but they’ve sprinted to the front of the pack.

The ReVolt can be fueled by three different power sources: standard alkaline or lithium batteries, standard rechargeable batteries, or the company’s own NiMH rechargeable batteries that come with the lamp.  When the Black Diamond batteries are in place, the unit charges through any USB port; coincidentally, I’ve also found that the unit terminal matches my Verizon cell phone chargers, although this should definitely be considered “off label” use.

black diamond revolt headlamp kit

What’s in the box: 3 alkaline batteries, 3 NiMH batteries, USB cable, and ReVolt headlamp

Where Black Diamond improves upon other compact rechargeable lamps is the ReVolt’s size-to-power ratio.  The lamp has essentially the same profile as the company’s standout Spot headlamp, which is the perfect size to fit in a small zipper pocket after the sun has risen on your long pre-dawn run.  Other recharge technologies – for example, Petzl’s CORE pack – result in a larger or heavier lamp, so keeping the ReVolt nice and compact is a huge plus.

black diamond revolt and spot

Black Diamond ReVolt on left, Black Diamond Spot on right

Additionally, Black Diamond packed a ton of brightness in the small package: the ReVolt pumps out 110 lumens on the high setting, which is more than enough to light the most technical trail in the dead of night.  Black Diamond has been pushing the brightness envelope in compact lamps since introducing last year’s 100-lumen Storm, but that lamp required a 4th battery which added noticeable weight.  The formula is almost perfected with the ReVolt, which is brighter than the Storm while using just three batteries.

(If you’re curious, here’s a weight comparison: Spot is 90g, ReVolt is 97g, and Storm is 110g.)

Like all rechargeable lamps, power output is less with the rechargeables than with standard alkaline batteries.  The ReVolt’s performance dropoff isn’t too significant in the max beam distance, which is only 4m shorter.  The burn time is significantly shorter, but at 12 hours (on high) you should still be able to make it through an all-night ultra on a single charge.

black diamond revolt running

With a brighter lumen output, the ReVolt’s beam is more diffuse and allows you to see the periphery of the trail more effectively than the spot function on Black Diamond’s Spot lamp.  However, if you prefer using a flood beam for nighttime running, the ReVolt’s single power LEDs are definitely inadequate for pretty much anything but smooth asphalt.

In recent years Black Diamond has improved significantly in packing its compact lamps with multiple features and settings.  The ReVolt is no exception, with a full feature set including dimming, strobe, red lamps, a battery meter, lockout mode, and weather resistance.  But perhaps the best accomplishment the company has achieved is making all of this technology affordable.  MSRP of the ReVolt is only 20 dollars more than the Spot and 10 dollars more than the Storm – but the cost savings and eco-friendly nature of the ReVolt definitely justify the cost.

The Good:

  • Multiple power sources
  • Super brightness from a compact lamp
  • Low profile, compact design
  • Loaded with settings and features

The Bad:

  • Flood LEDs are inadequate for active movement

The Bottom Line: Black Diamond ReVolt

Small, durable, bright, versatile, and green: it’s hard to find much to fault about Black Diamond’s ReVolt.  If you need a “one lamp does all” unit, this should be at the top of your wish list.

Buy Now: Available at REI

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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