Black Diamond – Iota Headtorch

The Iota is a small, USB-powered headtorch which is a decent walking and camping companion for those times when you’ve got access to a charger.

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It’s a small form-factor, about the size of 6 AAA batteries with an elasticated headband that is 2cm in width and spreads the (not considerable at 56g) weight of the Iota nice and comfortably. In fact, it’s light enough that you’d forget you were wearing it pretty easily.

The Iota has a single button – and a secret switch that I’ll come to in a bit – which turns it on to maximum brightness (150 lumen), and then if held gradually down dims things to a pleasant glow that’s ample for finding your way around a tent or to the loo. You can adjust it to exactly the level of brightness you need for whatever you’re doing, and it does a little flash when you reach max or min brightness setting.

Personally, I’d prefer it if the Iota turned on in its lowest brightness setting to minimise the risk of blindness by brightness, but that’s just me.

The secret switch on the side of the Iota – marked only by a small bulb symbol – is activated by a tap of the finger (and works through gloves) to immediately switch the output from whatever you’ve chosen to maximum brightness. This is super handy when you’re doing something important with your hands and just need a little bit more clarity for a moment.

The Iota is charged by a micro-USB port which is housed under a small rain-flap on its side. Generally I’m not a fan of USB lighting because of the risk of it running out of juice and leaving you in the dark, but the Iota has an impressive battery life at around 2 hours on max brightness, and a stated 40 hours on the lowest glow. We’ve given the Iota to a friend who does nightly dog-walks and she is in the habit of charging it every night so it’s perfect for that kind of situation.

And in terms of everyday usefulness, the Iota is waterproofed to what’s called IPX4 – or rainproof to you and I. You can’t drop it in puddles, but it fears no British drizzle.

5-hammers