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Alex gives us the lowdown...
One of the classic head torches from the well known brand Petzl is the Tikka Plus, available at most outdoor shops alongside it’s cousins in the range. Advertised at 160 lumens, it’s near the bottom of the lumen scale, but scores well above the most ‘budget’ Petzl at 80 lumens.
In my opinion, this is the weakest (in terms of light strength) torch that I would take out walking. The beam, even at its strongest, lights roughly 30-40 metres in front of me. To navigate accurately in bad weather you wouldn’t want anything less. Let’s break it down:
The 160 lumen headline lighting strength is the highest power setting, available on boost mode for 10 seconds; the next lowest setting of 110 lumens is meant to last 2 hours, which is just enough to keep you on your way for the morning or evening darkness on either side of a walk. If you’re out all night however, you’ll need to change the batteries, or rely on the 40 lumen setting which lasts 8 hours, too low for doing much other than following easy trails.
The technology used is ‘constant lighting’ which means that the strength of lighting doesn’t diminish as the batteries lose power. Instead, it stays just as strong until rapidly dropping off. At least this makes it obvious when the batteries need to be changed.
Weight and comfort
I find the torch excellent on both these counts, having a comfortable and easily adjustable headband with plastic adjustment buckles that don’t dig at all. Without the batteries, the torch also weighs hardly anything at 85 grams and even with the batteries is lighter than other torches I’ve used.
At £40 from Cotswold Outdoor, this head-torch is pricey when compared to other torches with similar lighting power, but is still much cheaper than its more powerful cousins.
Ease of use
With just one push-button, the torch is easy to use even with gloves on, and can rapidly be changed into its red light setting using the same button. As it runs out of power, it automatically changes onto the lowest setting to save power and give you some light for 40 hours rather than immediately running out, a good trick in an emergency. The lamp itself can be adjusted to angle straight ahead or downwards, and stays fixed in the position after being moved.
A good all-round head-torch with enough lighting for simple walks but a beam that doesn’t go far enough for complex navigation or long nights out. The price is average, and the lack of lumens is made up for by the light weight, comfort and ease of use. It’s a great head-torch for a walker who needs something for emergencies or when starting before dawn.
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