Almost as light as a standard Petzl Tikka Plus but almost as bright as a Myo XP, we check out Petzl's compact but effective high-powered LED Tikka XP headtorch.
Petzl Tikka XP - First Look
Weight: 94 grammes (including
Lightweight head torch using single high-power LED driven by
3 AAA batteries, single adjustable headband, three light
settings plus flash and boost modes, battery charge
indicator, maximum range of 35 metres, maximum duration at
highest setting 60 hours going up to 120 hours at lowest
setting. Wide angle diffuser for close-up light. Three year
Light, powerful, easy to use.
Controls fiddly with gloves.
It used to be that headtorches were big, heavy and
powerful or small but relatively weak, but as LED technology has
developed, Petzl have been able to develop a head torch that tips the
scales at under 100 grammes but churns out a beam with a claimed
range of up to 50 metres. So, small and light, but powerful, is the
order of the day.
The Tikka XP is like a cross between the standard Tikka and big
brother Myo XP and anyone who's used the Myo will be familiar with
the way the XP version of the Tikka works.
There's a single, high-powered LED which has three settings and a
boost switch which ups range to a maximum 50 metres regardless of
which setting the torch is on. The boost works for 20 seconds only to
save power and prevent overheating.
The light unit pivots in its housing like a standard Tikka and
like the Tikka, it runs on small AAA batteries.
It's hard to believe that something so light and so
compact can throw out this much light. At a measured 94 grammes, the
XP is only around 16 grammes heavier than a Tikka Plus, but has a
much more penetrating and focussed beam. Using the 'boost' button ups
things further, good if you're straining to pick out some
navigational feature in the gloom. That 20 seconds doesn't sound a
lot, but in practice, it's quite adequate.
For close-up work, slide the built-in diffuser across the lens and
drop the power level and you have a more than adequare camping light
with a claimed 120-hour burn time - the same as a bog standard Tikka
Plus in fact.
Two things to be aware of are that while the two small press
buttons work just fine with naked fingers, they're a tad fiddly with
a gloved hand. That's not a major problem if you simply switch the
light on before donning your gloves, but using boost, it's possible
to accidentally switch the light off completely if you depress both
buttons simultanously, which may be relevant for serious
The other proviso is that with smaller batteries, performance
drops off sooner than with bigger torches - Petzl's own figures
suggest that on full power, the range at full power drops from 35
metres to 30 metres after half an hour of use, then down to 20 metres
after 10 hours. Then again, three spare AAAs don't exactly weigh a
lot. As there's no remote battery pack option, we reckon power would
also suffer in serious sub-zero conditions.
Battery changing is easy enough, a little fiddly, but not a
problem for anyone with a modicum of manual dexterity and the
built-in battery level indicator is a nice touch. It changes orange
when 70 per-cent of the power is used and red at the 90 per-cent
The battery compartment is sealed by an O-ring and seems water
resistant enough for UK use.
This is great, a torch that's Tikka sized and near Tikka
weight but throws out a beam that you can be proud of, even if your
mates have high-powered Silvas or Princeton Techs on their noggins.
The low weight means it's never a chore to carry and the wide-angle
and low-power settings mean it also makes an excellent general
camping and faffing light. The Myo XP will give you more range - 65
metres - and more burn time, but weighs an extra 80 grammes.
Using the boost can be fiddly with gloved hands and we wouldn't
necessarily suggest it for serious mountaineering use due to the lack
of a remote battery pack, but for everything else, it's excellent.
Yes, you can find brighter lights and longer lasting ones, but as a
compromise between performance and weight you'd be hard-pushed to
find anything as effective and at £40 it's not bad value either.
A shining hit in our book :-)
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