Black Diamond headlamps just keep getting better. Damo explores what’s new for 2022.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the invention of the head torch? It’s genius! Whoever invented this must have had a real light bulb moment.

I remember my first head torch. It was chunky. It felt like 5kg on my head and I could never get the three head straps to work together. I would tape three spare batteries on the side so I always had some spares handy, that’s how quickly it would die.

Looking back, I should have taped some Panadol on the other side so I could relieve the headache from those three head straps…

Recently, Black Diamond updated their 2022 headlamp range and it got me thinking, how far have head torches come? What better way to answer this question than with a Black Diamond headlamp comparison?


Black Diamond’s new Storm and Spot are sleeker and packed with features


I’m going to compare four Black Diamond headlamps. I’ll do my best to touch on all the things that make a good headlamp (or head torch, they’re the same thing), because it’s not just about the bright light anymore. We’ve got to consider all things aesthetic too.

First up, we have the Storm 500-R headlamp, the updated 2022 version of the Storm 400 headlamp.

Storm 500-R vs Storm 400

At first glance, they looked similar in size, weight and shape. The Storm 500-R headlamp has a thinner but more durable looking band while the Storm 400 headlamp runs a thicker one.

But the more time I spent comparing the head torches, the more I started to notice the sophistication of the new model. The Storm 500-R headlamp has a neater design, more compact and a very understated light set up. The subtle matte black colour scheme with the thinner band makes it feel less obtrusive when you’re wearing it too (but you can also get it in red if that’s more your style).


The new Storm 500-R above compared to the Storm 400

What’s the light like?

On the maximum light setting, the Storm 400 headlamp is ‘only’ 400 lumens (lumens are a measurement of visible light) compared to the Storm 500-R headlamp at 500. It’s clear on paper who the winner is and this is no different at night.

The Storm 500-R headlamp is insanely powerful. My eyes felt less strained using this head torch – I simply didn’t need to concentrate as hard because I could see. The light is wide too. Although the Storm 400 headlamp is still a bright head torch it’s clear Black Diamond has improved significantly with this version.


Dusk Swimming at Karloo Pools, Damon Tually, Royal National Park, Sydney, NSW, wild swimming, headlamp, dusk, dark


Generally when companies increase their headlamp’s max output it affects the mid range too, giving you much more workable light at a more battery efficient output. Take a look at the table below and you’ll see the medium output of the Storm 500-R is 70 lumens more than the 400 at nearly twice the burntime. That’s big.


How’s the battery life on the headlamps?

Recently, Black Diamond has moved a lot of the newer head torches to rechargeable batteries. This is a clear strength of the Storm 500-R head torch, especially comparing it to the old models. Surely you’re thinking the battery life would be affected by making the headlamp rechargeable.



You’re correct.

The Storm 500-R lasts 40% longer than the Storm 400. Now you can be at peace on the next adventure. No need to strap a couple of extra batteries on the side or even scramble around that cursed third draw in the kitchen looking for some.


The Storm 500-R is now rechargeable and still strongly outperforms its predecessor


The Storm 500-R’s rechargeable feature means that before every trip, the headlamp can be charged to its maximum and you can keep going without questioning whether the torch will die – surprisingly great.

Some other features both head torches share are:

  • Waterproof up to 1 metre
  • Lots of settings like dimming, strobe, red LED night vision and lock-mode
  • Brightness memory which allows you to turn the light on and off at your desired brightness every time you turn it on and off
  • Digital lock mode. This stops the head torches from turning on accidentally

Is the Storm 500-R Headlamp more comfortable?

The Storm 500-R headlamp and the Storm 400 are both quite comfortable. To be honest, I haven’t worn a Black Diamond head torch that isn’t… but I do enjoy the more compact 500-R. The Storm 500-R isn’t as noticeable on the noggin’ making it that little bit more comfortable.

Also, adjusting the head torch is super smooth. The Storm 500-R doesn’t click and glides into position. I can’t even begin to explain how much I prefer this compared to the loud ‘click into place’ versions.


The Verdict

Overall, it’s clear the Black Diamond Storm 500-R headlamp has taken some huge steps since the Black Diamond Storm 400. The improved light strength and battery life, as well as the rechargeable feature, will definitely save you time. And if you factor in the additional money needed for batteries you’ll also save money upgrading to the Storm 500-R.



Black Diamond have basically created the Tesla of head torches. The slick and understated aesthetic compliments the innovative and sustainable tech. The Black Diamond Storm 500-R would be perfect for any type of camping, climbing, hiking, fishing, skiing. Actually, any adventure really!


Spot 400-R Headlamp vs ReVolt 350

Now I’m going to compare the Spot 400-R headlamp against the ReVolt 350. Both headlamps are lighter than the Storm headlamps above, a bit less bright, and cheaper too.


The Spot-R above and the ReVolt 350 (the best comparison) below


At A Glance

Side by side, the Spot 400-R headlamp is half the size of the ReVolt 350 and that excites me. Especially since the first time I turned it on it nearly blinded me for life. You know when you’re driving at night and the car passing you has their high beams on? That’s kind of how it went – you’ve been warned!


The Tech

The thing’s a weapon. Here’s the actual light specs between the Spot 400-R and the ReVolt 350 head torches:

black diamond table 2


Both models are rechargeable so you don’t need to worry about batteries. However the Spot 400-R has an improved ‘cap’ on the charger port. It’s super easy to clip in and feels less likely to break after a bunch of adventures.



Also, Black Diamond has made the Spot 400-R completely waterproof up to 1 metre. Although the ReVolt 350 is ‘Stormproof’, I just feel so much more confident in a product that says it’s waterproof.

I’m a big advocate for buying only waterproof gear for use in the wild. It means no worries. Yep, you’re singing it in your head now.

There are a bunch of features the two head torches share. This includes:

  • Brightness memory, meaning it stays on the setting you last used next time you turn it on
  • Multifaceted optical lens design
  • Distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night-vision and lock mode.


The ReVolt 350 has older rechargeable tech which makes it bulkier

The Verdict

The Spot 400-R just feels so far above. It’s lighter, brighter, and lasts just as long as the ReVolt 350. I purposely didn’t pick the old Spot model because I thought the ReVolt 350 would provide a fairer comparison (both rechargeable). This just wasn’t the case. I’m sure it improves on the old Spot model too, but turns out that rechargeable tech has come a long way.

I highly recommend getting your hands on one of these headlamps if you’re into any adventures that require a bit more agility. I’d even pick the Spot 400-R over the Black Diamond Storm 500-R headlamp because of how nimble and light it is. Kudos to you, Black Diamond. I’ll be adding this to the adventure cupboard.