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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Petzl Tikka Plus > Owner Review by Katie Montovan

PETZL TIKKA PLUS HEADLAMP
BY KATHRYN MONTOVAN
OWNER REVIEW
March 21, 2012

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathryn Montovan
EMAIL: sull0294(at)gmail(dot)com
AGE: 29
LOCATION: Groton, New York, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing and winter camping for over 10 years. My excursions are mostly weekend and occasionally weeklong backpacking and kayaking trips in the wooded and often wet, rolling terrain of western New York. I usually tarp camp with a small to large group. In general, I strive for a compact and light pack but value well made and durable gear over ultralight items. I also spend significant amounts of time day hiking with my dog.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

IMAGE 1
Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp

Manufacturer: Petzl
Manufacturer's Website: www.petzl.com
Year of manufacture: 2010
MSRP: NA
Listed weight (with batteries): 2.9 oz (83 g)
Measured weight (including batteries): 2.9 oz (83 g)
Dimensions: 2.4 x 2.3 x 1.7 inches (6.1 x 5.8 x 4.3 cm)
Battery Type: 3 AAA
Maximum light output: 50 lumins
Max Beam distance (high): 35 meters
Beam distance (low): 13 meters
Battery Burn Time (high): 55 hr
Battery Burn Time (low): 140 hr

PRODUCT DESRIPTION

The Petzl Tikka Plus is a water resistant headlamp with 2 LEDs and one easy to use button. It has five modes: high, low, strobe, red and red flashing. The beam type is flood, meaning that it is ideal for tasks that require a wider light. It is attached to an adjustable elastic headband and can point straight down for performing tasks in camp or be directed nearly straight ahead for night hiking and other longer distance tasks.

IMAGE 2
Front of headlamp


There is only one button that controls the light setting. It has two general modes, red light mode and white light mode. To switch between the modes, hold the button down for a few seconds. When turned on, the headlamp will enter the same mode it was in during the last use. The setting (bright, low or strobe) is set by the number of times the button is pressed in the first two seconds. If the headlamp is off, pressing
-- 1 time turns it to bright
-- 2 times turns it to low
-- 3 times turns it to strobe
In red light mode, pressing
-- 1 time turns it to steady red
-- 2 times turns it to flashing red
This may sound confusing, but I have found it to be really easy to use after a little bit of playing around with it.

The 3 AAA batteries are housed in a compartment on the back of the headlamp. This is accessible by pulling gently on a small tab on the top of the headlamp. I have found that the batteries are easy to replace and the compartment stays securely closed when not intentionally opened. Even with heavy use, I replace my batteries once every 3-6 months. When the batteries need to be replaced, I usually notice a diminishing brightness of the light. For example, I start using the bright setting when I normally would use the low setting. The decline is gradual enough that I have never been stranded completely without a light, but I usually carry extra batteries in case I need them.

IMAGE 3
The battery compartment

FIELD INFORMATION

This has been my trusted headlamp for about 2 years and has been used for many backcountry trips and for daily tasks at home. I have used it in conditions ranging from 0 F to 100 F (-18 C to 38 C), and elevations up to 6200 ft (1890 m).

My first trip with this headlamp was to a variety of places around Utah. We started with a two-night backpacking trip to Zion National Park with elevations up to 6200 ft (1890 m) and temperatures ranging from 40 F to 100 F (4 C - 38 C). We then spent one night camping at Lake Powell on the beach in blowing sand and another night car camping on a rocky campsite near Arches National Park. This headlamp did not have any problems with the temperatures or elevations encountered on this trip. It provided great light for setting up camp, cooking, finding our way down unknown trails at night, searching through gear, reading in the tent, and middle of the night trips to the outhouse. It was well sealed and did not have any problems after a night camping in blowing sand.

This headlamp then traveled to Finland with me on an ecology research trip. I did not use it much in the field, but did find it to be very helpful on the airplane, in hostels, and for exploring the nearby countryside after dark. It is light and small enough to travel easily, and functioned well in all of these travel related conditions. Temperatures on this trip ranged from 50 to 90 F (10 to 32 C).

The Tikka Plus headlamp was also very useful on multiple kayaking trips. These were all 2-5 days in length and located in upstate New York. Temperatures for all trips ranged from 45-90 F (7 C - 32 C), with a range of sunny and rainy conditions. It performed beautifully. I have not had any problems with it getting wet despite multiple uses in downpours. I typically have my rain jacket hood over it when it is raining heavily, and wouldn't want to test the water resistance, but have had no problems in any of the wet conditions. On these trips I had the opportunity to use the red light feature more fully and found that I enjoy using it for reading at night and hiking with people who like to use their night vision in areas where I am uncomfortable without a light.

Most recently I used this headlamp on a two-day winter camping trip to summit Big Slide in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York (elevation 4199 ft/1280 m). Conditions were icy, sunny and ranged from 0-20 F (-18 to -7 C). We arrived at the trailhead at 11 pm, and did our first 3 hours of hiking in the dark. There was one person who forgot to bring a flashlight so this headlamp lit the way for both of us up a steep, icy, unknown trail. It performed well, providing plenty of light for us to pick our way up the mountain along with the rest of our group. The headlamp also did better than many others on the trip at functioning in the cold and making it through the weekend on a single set of batteries. I typically kept it in my pocket, which helps with the cold, but found it to function well even when left in my backpack for extended periods of time.

In addition to backcountry uses, I use this light daily for biking in the early morning and running on trails and roads after dark. For biking, I find the light to be sufficient for alerting drivers to my presence and for illuminating the road in low light conditions. For real nighttime riding I prefer to pair this headlamp with another light attached to my handle bars. It is bright enough for me to use it while running on trails of the road at night. Its high beam setting makes me visible and clearly illuminates the path ahead. I also use it to read in bed at night and to find my way around the house at night for quick runs to get things. I find that it is easier than turning on and off lights as I pass through rooms and that the low white and red lights are dim enough for bedtime reading.

REVIEW

I have found the Petzl Tikka Plus to be a dependable, easy to use headlamp while backpacking in the dessert, kayaking in northern New York, traveling in Finland, running on trails at night, winter camping in the mountains, commuting by bicycle, and reading in bed at night. The elastic head band is secure on my head and does not catch and pull out my hair. The button is well protected from the elements and is simple to use.

Winter temperatures can be particularly hard on anything battery powered, and while I did notice diminished light levels when it got cold, it was still functional and held the battery charge throughout a two-night winter camping trip. When beach camping in blowing sand there were no problems with sand getting stuck anywhere. I have also used it in a variety of wet conditions without failure. This headlamp's wide beam is great for cooking and reading, but not ideal for shining a spotlight into the woods to figure out what went bump in the night.

This winter I had my first problem with this headlamp. I tried to turn it on and it wouldn't work, so I replaced the batteries and it still didn't turn work. I inspected the housing and found corrosion on one of the connections to the batteries. I cleaned it off and put the new batteries back in and it worked perfectly. It has been 4 months and there have been no more issues.

SUMMARY

I love my Petzl Tikka Plus. The built in red light option is definitely a nice feature for me. I prefer flood type headlamps because I find them nicer for doing close tasks around camp and like the two levels of brightness on this light. I have found this to be a durable, well-built light that has quickly become the only headlamp that I need.

THINGS I LIKE

1) Compact and easy to use
2) Built in red light option
3) Comfortable while wearing

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

1) I would love it if the light defaulted to the low light setting at the start
2) Not great for looking for animals causing noises at night

SIGNATURE

Kathryn (Katie) Montovan

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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