By Kacy White
Reprinted from The Leader, Spring 2001, Vol. 16, No. 2
The headlamp is an item very few of us travel into the backcountry without. A hands-free accessory that illuminates our outdoor home conveniently in any direction we look is ingenious. Now, choosing among the many headlamps out there is another story. Petzl has recently come out with the Tikka headlamp and we were lucky enough to give this little guy a go on the beaches of Baja, and in the mountains of Wyoming and Idaho this winter.
The Petzl Tikka is designed with the person destined to shave every last ounce off of their pack weight in mind. The Tikka uses LED (Light Emitting Diode) Technology; these bulbs have a lifetime of several years continuous use and consume less energy than traditional bulbs. We found that the batteries ran longer in the Tikka than the other headlamps we are used to (the Petzl Zoom and Micro in particular.) These batteries are already smaller and lighter than others we have carried in the field-the Tikka and its 3 AAA batteries weigh a whopping 2.4oz… amazing! -and we didn't have to replace them for at least 3 weeks. This light really puts out for its size and power source.
The LED emits an even white light, which we found not only very effective on snow, but in other settings in the backcountry as well. The Tikka does not shed a beam of light like other headlamps, but it illuminates an area. This aspect of the lamp was especially luxurious when I was reading, playing cards or in the kitchen. No one else needed to waste batteries when the Tikka was around. Don't be fooled, though, this light is great for walking around and gets great distance.
This lightweight headlamp is not even heavy enough to require the auxiliary over-the-top strap like other lights. The lack of this feature lends to the Tikka's compactability and the bonus that it could be employed as an accessory for fashion and hair management-it's a great headband when the sun is still up!
The only down side of this lamp is that you may have a hard time locating its tiny switch while wearing gloves in the backcountry. You might also spend a few more seconds locating it in your stuff sack. Overall, it's small, lightweight and very cool. The Petzl Tikka got a big "thumbs up" from the NOLS field-testers.
Product Description: The Tikka is the most compact and lightest headlamp offered by Petzl. With a 150-hour burn time, it is ideal for long term close-up work, as it gives a very white light. The reliability and long life of the LED makes it very safe. Uses 3 round LR3 / AAA batteries, supplied with the product.