Black Diamond Sprinter 500 Headlamp Review

The BD Sprinter 500 is part of BD’s running focused headlamp range. The neat 123g package consists of a small LED front head unit and a ‘dual fuel’ rear battery pack that takes either BD’s 1800 mAh rechargeable battery pack or 3 AAA alkaline batteries. The headlamp strap itself has reflective material built in and an additional over the crown type strap that can further distribute the weight for those people who might be sensitive to snug straps around their temples. To be honest the unit was so light and stable that I never once used this apart from to try it for fit. These straps can both be entirely removed for washing or replacement if damaged. This repairability is great to see although it can cause a usage issue which I’ll detail later.

Headlamps and LED technology in particular seem to be following their own version of Moore’s Law but instead of transistors and speed its lumens and runtime. Unfortunately some manufacturers have used this bounty to add layers of complexity with so many modes you can barely work out how to get high and low power. Black Diamond have thankfully kept things pretty simple with an intuitive ‘dimmer switch’ type operation for the main lamp which gives a brief flash at lowest and highest settings. There is just a single button for the main lamp and an independent rear button on the battery pack that controls the rear safety LEDs. Whilst stowed in your pack a simple lock function, hold for 4 seconds to lock/unlock, ensures that you don’t fish out a dead headlamp when the light starts to fail. A battery level indicator helps keep track of usage from day to day and the included Li-ion battery pack is easily recharged by USB. The battery pack gives you:

  • 6lm 100h (no reserve)
  • 250lm 7hr (9hr reserve)
  • 500lm 3.5hr (18hr reserve)

The ‘Power Tap’ function allows you to tap the side of the front headlamp housing to switch between high and low settings – very useful when you want to check your map or topo or even just dig about for that emergency Cliff bar at the bottom of your pack you’ve been craving!

The beam pattern has been optimised for runners and gives a very smooth and even illumination on trails. This works equally well for alpine or winter approaches although it may lack the ‘punch’ that some headlamp configurations can produce for seeking out those elusive abseil anchors at night, (un)fortunately I haven’t been able to actually put that to the test over the review period!

With a headlamp you want lightweight, ease of use, long runtime and sufficient power for the task in hand. The BD Sprinter 500 is is Black Diamonds premium trail running headlamp but it makes for a great all rounder with sufficient power to cope with alpine and Scottish winter climbing. Throughout my extended time with the Sprinter 500 it has proved an intuitive and effective headlamp for running, alpine and Scottish winter use. With it’s compact size it is yet another BD headlamp that is up there with the best lumens X runtime X size in the running and mountaineering world. There are more powerful headlamps and more lightweight/compact headlamps but the Sprinter 500 strikes a pretty perfect balance for most users. The ‘Dual Fuel’ feature also makes for a compact way to bring back up power either through separate batteries or purchasing an additional BD Li-ion battery pack.

The only fly in the ointment for me was the way that the removable strap could sometimes come adrift from the battery pack when pulling it out of a sac or when ‘roughly’ adjusting it in a hurry – think miserable Scottish winter at the end of the day or the muddle headedness during a long race as it gets dark. Not a disaster but it leads to a bit of a fiddle and could be an annoyance. This only seemed to happen with the battery pack slots for me and when hurriedly adjusting the size. As a bit of insurance I placed a tiny sliver of that double sided velcro on the elastic at that point which has worked perfectly since.

Overall the Sprinter 500 is a super versatile headlamp that does everything well and for many users will prove to be the one headlamp to rule them all!


  • Great battery life
  • Intuitive controls
  • Compact/lightweight
  • Good beam pattern
  • DualFuel; AAA batteries or rechargeable battery pack


  • Elastic unhooking

SRP £75


Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene reasons and more often they’re in no fit state to return!

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