Headlamps are an essential piece of gear for outdoor sports, so you want to be sure you're choosing the right style with the features you'll need on your adventures. With headlamps, there's lots of talk about lumens and beam distance, but another key metric is the IPX rating.
An IPX rating refers to the degree of protection that a product has against the elements, mainly water and dust. It can be a super important metric in the outdoor world and understanding the ratings will help you make the best gear choices for whatever you're up to outdoors.
The first number in an IPX rating refers to solid particles, think dust and other debris. It will either appear as an X, meaning it's untested on solid particulates, or a number from 0-6. The second X refers to liquid, which runs on a scale from 0-8.
Without getting too into the weeds on IPX details (we won't bore you with sizes of jet spray and angles of water exposure), we'll go over the three levels available in our Black Diamond headlamp line for 2020.
IPX4 - This mainly offers protection from splashes, such as rain, mist, and dew. It is not fully waterproof when submerged. Headlamps with this rating are good for running, hiking, biking, and most outdoor uses. If you do end up dropping it in a puddle (it happens), it may be okay, so it's worth trying to take it apart, removing the battery and letting it dry out before trying again. (Products: Astro, Revolt, Sprinter, Sprint)
IPX8 - This is the highest rating on the liquid scale. Gear with this rating can be fully submerged in 3 feet or more for 30 minutes or longer. After submersion, it's recommended to remove the battery and let it dry out. (Products: Spot, Cosmo, Spotlite)
IP67 - Here we have the highest solid rating and second highest for liquid. It can survive complete submersion in water, but only up to 1 meter and for no longer than 30 minutes. On the Storm, a rubber seal and clasp prevents the need to dry out the battery compartment after submersion. These are our most durable headlamps that can stand up to the most abuse. (Products: Storm, Icon)
As always, we encourage you to shop your local outdoor retailers. To find an independent Black Diamond retailer in the Southeastern US, check out our Brands page.