Petzl has finally done it – combined all the great things about its Tikka headlamp (small, light and no clutter at the back of your head) and put it together with its new XP technology to give a penetrating beam with a bit more oomph in the new Tikka XP.
The new light has a claimed maximum light distance of 50 meters (using a boost mode) with a normal beam of 35 meters. That puts it right up there as a light you can use for more than just pottering around the camp or lighting the way on an easy route. There are just some climbs and walks when you need that extra reach for route-finding. It’s also good to have the extra stretch should you ever find yourself doing search and rescue on a mountain. The light is so good I’d almost nominate as one of the best mountaineering headlamps there is, but it is outclassed by slightly bigger lights that have just a bit more power.
While I love my ordinary Tikka it didn’t quite give enough light for more than camp chores. Also, with fresh batteries its three LEDs are just a tad bright for reading in the tent. For big expeditions most climbers have been forced to carry a bigger hybrid light with a combination of halogen bulb and LEDs – The obvious problem is that most of these are bulky with a separate battery compartment (and I hate the ones that sit at the back of the head causing clutter) and have a main beam that eats batteries the way slot machines go through coins in Vegas.
Earlier this year I upgraded to the Tikka Plus, which has four LEDs, casts a better beam for walking by and also comes with fancier electronics allowing you to choose three light levels for everything from walking to reading in bed. It also has a blinking mode, useful if you’re trying to attract attention. So far I’m more than happy with it, but I do kinda wish I’d waited for the Tikka XP.
About the Tikka XP
The company claims a battery life of 120 hours on the lowest setting and 60 hours at its bright setting for a 35 meter beam. The boost only works for about 20 seconds at a time to prevent overheating.
This light looks a strong contendor to muscle out the MYO XP on which it’s based. That light offers a slightly longer battery life and a main beam that carries about 10 meters further, but with all the disadvantages of a separate battery back, which will be an inconvenience for most people except those going to extra cold places and need a remote battery holder that can go down the inside of clothing to keep going strong as the temperature drops.
South African Mountain Magazine says the light is:
a winner! Like the rest of the Tikka range the new XP is lightweight and has the battery box integrated with the bulb. It has a powerful, focused light beam with three lighting levels (maximum, optimum and economy), and a blinking mode, useful if you need to attract attention to yourself in an emergency. The tiltable head allows you to direct the beam wherever its needed, and there’s also a battery life indicator which warns you when battery power is running low.
This is what some people had to say about its mummy and daddy, the Tikka and MYO XP. Backpackgeartest.org is running some tests right now so check back there soon.
Kristin Hostetter at Backpacker.com had this to say:
If your headlamp priorities include light weight, long battery life, and convenience, look no further than the Petzl Tikka. This minimalist light has everything we want in a headlamp and nothing we don’t.
Robin Blandford, whose spends more than a fair share of time in the outdoors figures the MYO XP is the:
great, brightest head torch I’ve ever used.
As for the non-Petzl competition, the good folk over at Outdoorsmagic have done a comprehensive test of the Silva L1. Their views were mixed
the L1 seems to live up to its ‘world’s brightest LED headtorch’ claims – if you need a long, piercing beam from a headlamp, this is the fella.
Less impressive is the discomfort we experienced from the overtight headband and poorly designed battery boxes. We were also less than impressed that one of the connectors that link the two pulled out compromising the weather proofing of the unit. We think the whole headband / battery arrangement needs tweaking perhaps with a single battery box and an additional overhead strap along with some padding.
This is what Petzl says about the XP
Provides a powerful, even and adjustable white light, with long light duration. A single light source in a compact headlamp for multiple uses.
- Powerful, focused light beam with 3 lighting levels (maximum, optimum, economy) and a blinking mode, to adapt the light to the activity at hand.
- Boost mode: 50 % more light than the maximum level for 20 seconds.
- Wide angle lens for flood beam-like proximity lighting.
- Battery life indicator (indicator light + blinking LED): warns when the batteries are approximately 70 % drained and 90 % drained.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Tiltable light body enables light beam to be directed where needed.
- Comfortable and stable to wear: adjustable and ergonomic elastic headband.
- Light distance: up to 35 m (50 m in boost mode).
- Light duration: up to 120 h.
- Technical specifications :
- Operates with 3 AAA/LR03 batteries (included)
- Weight: headlamp (59 g) + batteries (36 g) = 95 g
Some users of the older Petzl MYO 3 are reporting reliability problems with that light. So far I’ve not heard similar complaints of the Tikka XP, but wouldn’t be surpised if similar problems crop up in the MYO XP, which is very closely based on the MYO 3
The Petzl MYO XP had some reliability problems reported early on but the issues seem to have been sorted out now as the newer versions (post 2008) get great reviews.