We check out Petzl's small but perfectly formed ultra-lightweight headtorch, or we will as soon as we find the tiny little critter.
Petzl e+LITE Tested
Weight: 27 grammes (including head
band) case, 18 grammes
torch featuring detachable head cord, ball and socket swivel
joint, integral clip, three white light settings using three
LEDs plus two single red LED options, switch lock,
waterproof down to one metre, uses two watch batteries with
ten-year shelf life, 19-metre range on full power with
45-hour burn time, functions at temperatures from -20C to
What's It For?
The new e+LITE, which should be reaching the
shops around [b]mid-Bovember[/b] following heavy demand, is Petzl's ultra-lightweight, semi-emergency torch.
The idea is that it so small and light that you can simply stash it
in your pack, or a pocket or, well, anywhere it'll fit and then
forget it until you need it.
We say 'semi-emergency' because it's a fully functional headtorch
that you could use regularly without problems.
The Techy Bits
As far as we can see there's nothing
particularly radical about the technology behind the e+LITE, Petzl's
masterstroke has been to take advantage of the increasing efficiency
of LED bulbs and the availability of tiny but affordable batteries to
produce a brilliantly thought-out and neatly executed
ultra-lightweight torch with neat features like the integral clip,
the 360-degree swivellng ball and socket joint.
It's design rather than technology strictly speaking, but it's
been beautifully done.
How It Performs
The great thing about the e+LITE - always
spelled like that by the way, it's not an elite for example - is that
it combines beguiling tinyness with surprising useability.
Bang it on full power and it's perfectly happy ambling along unlit
lanes to the pub from the campsite, or keeping an eye on the
spaghetti back at base and with its 17-metre odd range, it's also
more than capable of getting you off the hill in an emergency if
That's just the start though. The torch is just asonishingly
cunning. You can use the detachable elasticated head cord to wear it
like a normal headlamp or to mount it on a helmet, or you can take
advantage of the integral spring clip in its base to mount it on any
suitable thin surface - a cap peak for example, or a lapel, or a part
of your tent.
Then a 360-degree ball joint lets you swivel the light into the
optimum position. Cool and if you really want to, you can save
another five grammes by detaching the clip/ball completely making the
torch a bonkers 27 grammes with batteries....
The batteries are CR2032 lithium watch cells that you can pick up
at the supermarket for a couple of quid - changing them takes 30
seconds with the aid of a small coin, sorted. Claimed burn time is 45
hours and that seems about right.
The mode selecting switch has been carefully thought through as
well. There's a locked-off end position to prevent accidental
discharge, ahem, then low and high-power settings and an emergency
flash using the three main white LED bulbs.
Next over is a red flash from the single central red LED, then a
pure red LED beam designed not to compromise your night vision then
finally another off position. That's great because it means you don't
need to click through night vison-impairing white light to reach the
red settings. If you were being fussy, you might ask for a lock at
the red end of the scale too, but that's just about the only flaw we
can think of.
It's also certified waterproof down to one metre and we had no
issues with water ingress. Nor did we manage to break it, despite
mostly leaving the weighty - ahem - 18-gramme translucent red case at
We reckon the e+LITE is going to become a bit of a classic.
Normally when you pare down weight you end up with something so basic
that function can be compromised, but there's none of that with
Petzl's new torch.
It's superlightweight yet also surprisingly versatile with it and
all those carefully thought out design points will have them oohing
and aahing down the pub. If you're a regular night navver then you'll
probably want something more powerful, but for occasional general and
emergency use, the e+LITE is the absolute, erm, business.
Is there a downside? Yes, it's so small it's easy to mislay it
between outings :-)
Tiny, light, versatile and beautifully thought through.
So small you can lose it rather easily - we think that's
what the case is for :-)
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