Petzl Tactikka Review
I have here the hybrid Petzl Tactikka head-torch. It’s called hybrid as it is compatible with both standard AAA batteries and the Petzl Core battery. I must confess I don’t know what sort of difference the Core battery will provide in terms of brightness or length of burn time. I can however tell you that the core battery is rechargeable via a micro-USB built into the battery itself and it takes approximately 3 hours to charge.
I normally hate head torches with a passion and I’ve never bought one but, I was given some as a child and I always found it uncomfortable and bulky. Things have changed since I was a child though. Light bulbs have gotten smaller and brighter. Batteries last longer. The array of functions such as brightness, strobe and S.O.S signalling has grown. So it’s only fair that I give this new head-torch a new chance.
The strap is quite adjustable and is not uncomfortable at all. Usually with head torches you have to keep them so tight due to the weight but, with this one it’s very light so you don’t need it to be fused with your face to stay on securely. One of the adjustment pieces is also a whistle for those emergency situations you might encounter which is a nice feature.
There are 3 different lighting settings for the times when you need the extra power over battery life. The lowest setting (5 lumens at 10 meters) lasts for a whopping 240 hours which, if you can count, is 10 days of continuous use. I find this especially useful if you come across an emergency situation while caving, the extended battery time can be life saving. The other two settings for 100 and 200 lumens can last up to 60 hours which is more than enough for most camping trips you might take.
The red light feature is quite a nice addition to the torch. It says on the website that it will run at 2 lumens for up to 60 hours, which seems low to me but, I know some LED’s use more power than others. It has a strobe function as well though which will last up to 400 hours. So if you find yourself in a real emergency you will have a flashing light that is likely to last long enough to alert somebody for rescue. It does make me feel a bit sick using the red light but it’s designed for more covert needs and if you use night vision, should cause no problems.
I have provided a comparison picture for the operation of the light which does not really do it justice. It may be that I set-up camera wrong but it is more likely that spread of the light, combined with the distance I took it, at made it seem less illuminating than it actually was. For example, the shed you can make out in the top right is approximately 40 metres from where I was stood so, it has enough range to light it up but, it just wasn’t enough to really stand out on my camera. I could however see the windows and door clearly enough.
This torch is very well built and comes with a 5 year guarantee. It’s also IPX4 rated which protects it from splashes of water so, providing you don’t submerse it, it should be fine with rain or even if you stray too close to a waterfall. The Tactikka is a very good emergency signalling device thanks to the strobe function and whistle, and really there’s not much else you can expect from this type of product. It’s quality is very high and it’s very well designed.
I’ve used this a few times over the last couple of weeks for walking my dogs, and even explored a large abandoned industrial complex. I’ve been really impressed by this head-torch and the red light function has been useful for when I wanted to keep a low profile. I cant say I’m completely converted to the idea of head-torches and maybe I never will be but, this is definitely one of the ones that makes me think twice. Its plenty bright enough for most needs and it’s really lightweight and comfortable. I think its perfect for anything from dog walking to mountaineering.
Get your Petzl Tactikka here.