On a recent hiking trip, I found myself walking alone after dark.  I had been debating between Petzl vs Black Diamond, two great headlamps brands. I pulled out my Black Diamond Spot and up until this point, I hadn’t had to use it.  Now, when I was absolutely relying on it, I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision.  What if it fails?  What if it’s not bright enough to set up my tent?  Most importantly, should I have bought the Petzl?

petzl_vs_black_diamondWhen choosing a headlamp for my trip, two brands always stuck out to me.  Debates raged about whether Petzl vs Black Diamond were better.  One man said his Black Diamonds always broke when he needed them most, another said his Black Diamond was the most rugged piece of equipment he owned.

People swore up and down that Petzl had the brightest light, others vouched for Black Diamond.  While the choice of the two brands is ultimately up to the consumer, it is important to recognize the pros and cons of each brand and make an informed decision before purchase.  That night, I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision or not, and realized that no one deserves to be unsure of their gear.

petzl_vs_black_diamondBlack Diamond is one of the best known brands in the outdoors world.  While they make gloves, trekking poles, and other outdoor products, they are best known for their headlamps.  While a bit pricier than other brands, it is often for good reason.  Black Diamond’s most popular headlamp, the Spot, is arguably the most popular headlamp on the market.  It is the headlamp for the user that wants it all.  It has two major light modes.  One is the proximity mode, which uses two smaller lights for illumination.  The other mode is the main mode, which uses a big lamp in the middle of the lamp for maximum brightness.  Also included is a red light mode, perfect for preserving your night vision, and a strobe mode.

Other features include a lockout, ensuring that your lamp won’t get turned on in your pack and a brightness adjustor, perfect when you need some light but wish to preserve battery life.  A final great feature is Black Diamond’s PowerTap mode.  With a simple touch, you can turn your headlamp to maximum brightness at a moment’s notice.  Waterproof, rugged, and coming in a multitude of colors, the Spot is an amazing product that showcases Black Diamond’s devotion to their products.  Generally, Black Diamond’s other models are similar to the Spot.  More expensive models, such as the Icon, are brighter, while cheaper models are less so.

petzl_vs_black_diamondThe other main headlamp manufacturer, Petzl, is also nothing to scoff at.  While often less expensive than Black Diamond’s offerings, this is not necessarily a bad thing.  Petzl’s headlamps are often basic and reliable, perfect for the user who does not desire a flashy headlamp with all of the bells and whistles.

While many of their models offer the same features as Black Diamond’s, many are missing one vital component:  the red light.  In those situations where you are trying not to blind someone else or save your own vision, the red light is invaluable.  It is one of those features you don’t even realize you miss until you no longer have it.  Still, Petzl, and noticeably their Tikka, is a great choice that most will be satisfied with.  Most of Petzl’s offerings cost less than half of Black Diamond’s respective models, so they are great for those on a budget.  They are also often just as tough, if not more so than Black Diamond’s headlamps.  If you want to look stylish while wearing your headlamp, Petzl is also the way to go.  Their headlamps often offer better color schemes than Black Diamond’s, though the importance of this is up to the consumer.

So how do you decide between Petzl Vs Black Diamond?

Both Black Diamond and Petzl offer amazing products.  Both offer long battery life, illuminating lights, hinges to aim your light, and are reliable even in the most remote locations.  The major differences between the two brands is that Black Diamond offers more light modes, including the useful red light mode.  If you desire a Petzl with this mode, expect to pay prices comparable to Black Diamond for this one feature.  Petzl’s models are cheaper and basic, yet still function great.  Recognize what you are going to be using your headlamp for and buy the model that best fits your needs.  In my situation, I realized that I made the right choice and would never look back.



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