The fact that Black Diamond makes such good lamps is a pleasant oddity to me. Normally, they focus on climbing and skiing gear and clothing , that of the seeming hardcore variety. While I can’t attest to the quality of that side of their market, I can say I’ve come to rely fervently on the heartiness of Black Diamond’s bulletproof lights.
I’ve been carrying around a 2013 version Cosmo headlamp and it hasn’t given me any issues whatsoever. Backpacking, camping, or even travel, I’ve relied on it for varied occasions. When I saw that they had released a largely updated version of the 200-lumen Spot Headlamp, I jumped at the chance, and it’s everything I hoped it would be.
Operating any Black Diamond light is usually easy and the same is true with the 2016 Spot. One button turns it on, changes modes, and adjusts brightness with different behaviors to accomplish each. This headlamp includes a second “Power Tap” touch sensitive button that brings the lamp to full intensity from whatever setting you had it on. While I found myself accidentally touching this often, it was very convenient when I did purposefully use it.
The spots features three separate LEDs: a main light, secondary proximity light, and red night vision/safety light. Bright as usual, the main light does a great job of balancing flood and spotlight needs. The proximity light is a totally different design than last year. The bulbs are now shielded with a diffusing cover, which makes them excessively bright to look at, (great for being seen) but soft enough to light a scene without harshness; same goes for the red LED.
Rounding out the headlamp is waterproofing, which I haven’t had the misfortune of testing yet, and lightweight build, something that comes into service when using the lamp for extended use. Even doing a bit of after-dark running, I didn’t notice it to bob around too much.
Moji Lantern Charging Station
Following in suit with the update, they also came out with some simple and nifty Moji lanterns. Coming in three different sizes, the Mojis are handy orbs of light you can throw almost anywhere. I was able to get a copy of the Moji Lantern Charging Station, a 250-lumen beast of light that can simultaneously charge your phone* while lighting up the campsite.
I have to admit, at first I was skeptical, but using the Moji CS was akin to any other Black Diamond light, (of course). One button to rule them all, except this one has that plus charge ports for in/out charging and indicators to let you know how much power is left. One note on that, the indicators were a little hard to decipher. Internal light bleeds into one another of the notches, sometimes confusing as to which tic they were on.
Speaking of which, you get three options with this Moji. Plug in two double-A batteries, two li-ion, or just use the internally charged power source. I thought this was great thinking on Black Diamond’s part, especially since one may not have access to a charger while camping, though the extra option makes emergencies less worrisome.
*Be forewarned, I feel like the Moji CS is a lantern first and phone charger second, perhaps only in emergencies. It took my Android mobile a good four hours to reach 50% from roughly zero. And, while doing so, some flickering did occur with the light itself. My guess is its more meant to have the light off while charging in any event.
Charging qualms aside, I loved the quality of light this lantern gives off, so much to even photograph portions of this review with it.
This thing is bright, maybe too much so. With the light on a picnic bench, much was pointed towards my face, somewhat blinding me to my surroundings in total darkness. If you do opt for this model, you may want to keel off some of the brightness or use the convenient hooks to hang the light overhead and out of your face. In fact, I firmly believe this is where the Moji models are best suited. By comparison, the Voyager style lanterns point most light downward.
So who’s it for?
The Spot Headlamp is a given. Anyone who needs light and their hands free. Outdoorists, climbers, pretty much every person working in the dark. I don’t stop finding new uses for mine and with how comfy they are, pretty much a standard in headlamps.
The Moji Charging Station on the other hand seems to be purely a camper oriented item, maybe those who need a beefy light for mechanic or house work. Too heavy for backpacking, it packs enough power to light up an entire campsite if you let it. Though best used with a few other Mojis, I’m thinking mine is going to get a lot of use this summer…