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Friday, June 6, 2014

A BRIGHT IDEA - PETZL TIKKA RXP HEADLAMP REVIEW

Based out of Crolles, France, Petzl is very well known for their outstanding headlamps and verticality equipment.  A company that began with their founder in the 1930s by Frenchman, Fernand Petzl.  Although a mechanic by trade, he discovered his love for caving as a teenager.  A pioneer in the caving world, he invented and developed new techniques and products to suite.  Today, after 40 years, and distributing products throughout the globe, Petzl still remains one of the industry's leading innovators in their field.

Petzl was kind enough to send one of their Tikka RXP headlamp's my way to try out their new technology.  (Thank you Dave!)  This innovative technology is called reactive lighting.  This means that the light is "smart".  Because it has a built in sensor, it automatically adjusts itself to the particular environment in which you are using it.  For instance, if you are reading a map and then look up into the darkness down the trail, the light will automatically illuminate itself brighter so you have more light to see down the trail.  When you look back at the map, the light adjusts to a more suttle light for reading.  The response is surprisingly very quick.  To me, this new technology is great for two reasons, it saves on battery usage by only using the energy necessary instead of a constant bright light.  The second reason is that I have blue eyes.  They are much more sensitive to light...any kind of light, inside or outside.  Being able to read material in the dark with a softer light is a huge benefit to me.



The Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp











A great looking light.  The white gives it a very clean, sharp look.

I really like the low profile, non-obtrusive design.





The headlight rotates forward allowing you to shine the light right where you need it.




The top of the light has the USB port and the power button.  The port is covered by a rubber-like material piece that is hinged onto the light.  Since the power button is on the smaller side, I had a little trouble locating it while wearing light duty gloves while I was wearing it.  Heavier gloves were almost impossible but could make it work since I knew where it was.  To power the light on and off, push and hold the power button for about two seconds.


Although thinner in width, the adjustable headband is sturdy and comfortable.  The backside of the headband has a nice terry cloth type material for comfort.  Being a female with a good 'wad' of long hair, I always have it pulled up in some fashion or tucked under a hat when I am out in the wilds of nature.  Because the headband does not have a third strap going over the top middle of the head or a large battery pack in the back of the strap  this made my hair comfort much better instead of trying to decide which side the mass of hair was going to reside around the third strap and the battery pack.  




The opening on the bottom is to release excess heat.


The headlamp holds itself into place with two pegs on the headlamp housing which are inserted into molded holes in the bottom back corners of the light.


Shown here is all that is included with the light: headlamp, a USB cord, and instruction manual.  The inner packaging is made from recycled materials.


The headlamp being charged on a PC with the included USB cord.  The light does not work while the light is being charged.  

Besides charging the headlamp with the computer or solar device, I found using my smartphone wall charger works as another charging option.  The charging is indicated by the blinking green LED light next to the mode button.

The battery is removed while gently pulling up on the white tab at the same time pulling out from the black notch.  No tools are necessary, just your fingers.

The battery, on right, separated from the headlamp housing.  Because the battery is rechargeable, it not only eliminates wasteful throw away batteries, but it also eliminates the need to carry extra batteries or wonder how much battery life you actually have left.


The headlamp offers three modes.  While wearing it, the mode button is located on the right side of the light.  Shown here is the "reactive lighting" feature.

This is the constant mode and it is quite bright.  This mode will use up your battery the quickest. 

And without much explanation, this is the red mode, great for night vision and reading.  This mode is the lesser of the energy users.



The red light looks somewhat obnoxious in this picture but actually reading with the light is very comfortable.
I am probably one that is over protective of my gear.  I always have been.  I found a small neoprene camera lens case that fits the light and USB cord perfectly.  


















I spent quite a bit of time using the light in different environments including walking in a night time treed area, using it as a task light, tying on a hook, etc. and are overall are very impressed.  Weighing in at only 4 oz., it's small and compact, comfortable to wear, is made with quality materials and components, and provides excellent lighting variations and capabilities.  The only thing that might cause some skepticism for those that like to be able to clean up their gear, is the white headband and light housing.  With mild soap and water, I'm sure the surface dirt can be removed without much effort.

When trying out new gear that I have never researched, I try not to read too much on the packaging of the product.  I feel that gives me a better idea, and the most fair way as to the true discovery of the product without first developing any kind of personal feeling, bias, or idea.  I am very much looking forward to using this light for all applications.  It now has become a permanent fixture in my daily carry all bag.

Thank you Petzl and Dave at Alta Group, Inc. for allowing me to check out your new product!  Keep the good stuff coming!

#petzl