Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp Review

By: Justin Miller

Even though I'd broken the hinge off my old headlamp accidentally while packing up my truck in Idaho, I didn't feel the immediate need to buy a new one. The IHSMBR ( was my last bikepacking trip for the year and possibly the last camping trip until next spring. This gave me plenty of time to save up and update some of gear. However, after starting a new job I quickly found a little extra money in my pocket and decided that I would like to take on some evening hikes after work. So, like that, I was in the market for a new headlamp as well as some rain gear.  I went into REI and found a pair of rain pants for a decent price, after finding them I had around twenty extra dollars I allotted myself to spend on a headlamp. I immediately noticed the Cosmo on the display. Being that it is a 2016 model it was front and center. The price was $10 more than I wanted to spend (coming in at 29.95) but the sleek design and 160 lumens seemed like a well rounded combo. After browsing through the other selections I finally settled on the Cosmo and passed on the Black Diamond Spot which offered 40 more lumens for an extra $10.

The Cosmo - Specs $29.95

  • This headlamp has a handful of settings all controlled through a single large button on the top of the device. The setting range from:
    • "Triplepower LED"
    • "Flood"
    • Red Lumen "night-vision" (but when else are you going to use a headlamp?)
  • One of the features that has really sold me on this particular device is the fading lamp. When holding the button on top down the lamp will slowly fade from a Triplepower LED with Flood light down to the dimmest setting just bright enough for reading and not disturbing anyone as well as efficient for conserving power.
  • The Red Night Vision setting helps reduce eye strain while preserving night vision.
  • To cycle through settings is simple; press the button once for LED, double tap for Flood, hold down for Red. Pretty easy.
  • The strap is easily adjustable and can fit around a helmet, or your head with a quick easy adjustment.
  • This headlamp offers 160 lumens or you can buy the Spot at 200 lumens for $39.95.
  • IPX4 water-resistance capable of functioning in rain or wet conditions.
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What I like

Durability- The casing is sleek and compact, however the lamp is held to the strap by a plastic hinge. There's not a lot of alternative options I understand, but being the way my previous headlamp broke I am nervous about packing this lamp in the wrong spot where it might be crushed. I believe they countered this drawback by allowing the headlamp to rest flush when completely upright, so when pressed there is no backwards movement to flex and break the hinge in that manner. Good thinking.

Things I Don’t Like

Strap - the biggest drawback for me would be the headband. It is easily adjustable and can be quickly adjusted from fitting around your head to fitting around a helmet. However, the strap comes loose easily while wearing. I have started wearing the headlamp around my forehead and ended in an audition for Geordi La Forge.

Field Test

Head over to my post for Franklin Falls ( to see the full details of where I went. The conditions were cold and the rain was persistent. I strapped on my micro spikes in the back of my truck before heading out close to sunset on a winter's day. There was snow covering the trail and the river was high enough to flood onto the trail. The rain rushed down from the hillsides creating small waterfalls and miniature waterways splashing across the snow packed trail. The hike wasn't too long but by the time I finished my nervous breakdown after my SLR and iPhone both got water damage it had grown dark. I had the Cosmo tucked away in my jacket pocket were it rested unnoticed my cold hands pulled it out and strapped it around my hood and beanie. The 160 lumens reached much farther than I'd anticipated. Lighting up the trail with the flood light to watch my foot placement on the ice and slush while the LED kept farther trail illuminated. I didn't have a need to adjust the strength of the light, but the single button was easily manipulated by my frozen wet hands. I made it back to the truck safe and warmed up inside. I do not regret spending that extra $10 on this lamp. It is a sturdy minimalist device that I do not see needing to replace anytime soon.