Friday 13 November 2015

Petzl TIKKA RXP and e+LITE review

The great head torch debate is a subject that never dies.  Along with trail shoes, packs and the controversial Hoka and poles, it's a topic that reappears and is discussed at great length on social media pages.

Like most products the technology is forever changing.  No sooner have your settled on a head torch and a bigger (or smaller and lighter) and better one is released.  And like most products, personal choice boils down to budget and what you expect from it.  Everybody knows someone who swears by a £10 effort from Argos, but you get what you pay for.

I was lucky enough to receive a Petzl NAO when I won the Lakeland 100 last year.  The NAO is the Rolls Royce of head torches and the pioneer of reactive lighting.  It comes with a rechargeable lithium battery and  could light up a house.  All great.   But there's a time and place for the NAO. It's not for everyone and it's certainly not my go-to head torch.  Firstly it's a bit overcomplicated for me and I was never confident I had it on the right setting. Put it on constant rapid movement mode and it will last an hour. In most situations it can been quite excessive if you only need to see where you're putting your feet.  Plus, it's not exactly comfortable. Wear it for a lengthy period of time and it hurts.  I used it during Spartathlon and it was a bit overkill for a course that's predominately road.  Plus, it took about two days to get the indent off my forehead!

So, along came the Petzl TIKKA RXP, which I used for the first time during the White Rose Ultra earlier this month.  Now this is a go-to head torch.  It uses similar reactive technology as the Petzl Nao, but is more of a toned-down version.

I'm not a very techie person, but I like gadgets. When it comes to a head torch, I want it to be bright (215 lumens), light (111g), comfortable, rechargeable (can use AAA batteries too) and have a decent battery life (up to 10 hours) and beam (70 metres).  I just want to put it on...and run.    The TIKKA RXP ticks all the boxes me. Plus, it's competitively priced at £90.

If a new head torch is on your Christmas wishlist, I'd recommend putting the TIKKA RXP on your letter to Santa.  It's everything you need for trail, night and ultra running - and more! 

E02-P3-ELITE LowResAnother fabulous bit of kit is the Petzl e+LITE. I wouldn't want to get stuck up a mountain with it, but for races that require a back-up light source or to make yourself visible on night runs, this is ideal.   I've used it on city runs when the street lighting is a bit sparse. Weighing in at 27g it's the equivalent of carrying a matchbox, so you can stick it in your pocket or pack for emergencies.   Have you ever tried to change the battery in your main light in the dark?  I have and it's nothing short of a nightmare. 

Considering the size and weight, you'll be amazed by the brightness - 26 lumens.  And the battery can last for 75 hours.   Search online and you can pick up an e+LITE for about £15.  Small price to pay for something that might just save you in an emergency.   Just be careful when you're packing it.  I lost my first one on a night canal run before I'd even had a chance to switch it on!

PERFORMANCE series headlamps [EN] with REACTIVE LIGHTING Technology. Beyond power...Intelligence from Petzl-sport on Vimeo.


flanker said...

Couldn't agree more. Having tried a Neo I've now settled on the RXP as my go-to torch. In fact it's now my only torch and I've more than covered the cost of it by flogging the rest of my large collection on eBay!

I'm not sure if you've played with the software than can configure the lighting levels, but it's worth having a play. I've lowered the levels on mine so that the low power setting gives 12 hours, or two summer nights, and it was still bright enough for all of UTLD100. Also lowered the middle setting to the same as the original low setting and the high setting too, but hardly ever use them. If I need a full beam, for finding the exit to the field or a stile in a far fence for example, 'double clicking' the top button gives a short max-power boost. said...

The brightness and the time it works (75 hours) are a bit exaggerated, in my opinion. I've tried it for the trip, and it lasted only for 20 hours. I was a bit shocked when it switched off at the moment I took my tent out of the bag. I had to put it without light..

Anonymous said...

My solo backpacking experiences now include a 1 person tent, which I love. Its small size and low weight make it easy to carry on lengthy excursions. The setup is easy and cozy enough for a night's sleep outdoors. It's my lonely retreat.