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The Best Headlamp for Backpacking: Black Diamond Ion Review

This lightweight, compact, and affordable headlamp packs a ton of power into a small package that’s perfect for backpackers or minimalist travelers.

Black Diamond Ion Review:

Price and Where to Buy the Black Diamond Ion: The Ion is available on Black Diamond’s website for $24.95.

How the Black Diamond Ion Rates:

  • Usefulness: 10/10. Flashlights aren’t ideal for camping, as it’s tough to hold onto one and use both hands. A headlamp is a much better choice, and the Ion is one of the smallest and most lightweight models out there. It’s powerful (100 lumens) so you can see well even in the pitch black, and it also has settings for proximity and distance, dimming, strobe, and a red night mode (so you don’t blind your camp-mates). The Ion’s strap is soft and adjusts easily, so it will fit any head size.
  • Value: 9/10. The price is a great deal for a headlamp of this quality. Note that it runs on AAA batteries, which are included.
  • Portability: 10/10. The Ion weighs a mere 1.9 ounces–you won’t even notice it in your pack.
  • Durability: 10/10. The headlamp is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about ruining it the rain.
  • Cool Factor: 10/10. Available in a variety of colors, the Ion is as cool as a headlamp can be.

Final Verdict: Headed out camping, hiking, or running in the dark? Bring along the powerful Ion to light your way without weighing you down.

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More from SmarterTravel:

Caroline Morse Teel is always on the hunt for the newest and best travel gear. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to see what she wears around the world. 


Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

E-mail her at

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