Search v-g Search
© V & G
Home > Gear&Tech > Equipment > Petzl Tikka Plus

Petzl description:

3 brightness settings (maximum, optimum, economic) and a blinking mode.

Batteries last up to 150 hours on regular settings (up to 400 hours on blinking mode).

Lamp articulates with new tilt feature.

Lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Water resistant and excellent for use anytime.


4 LEDBattery LifeDistance of illumination
Maximum mode80 h15 m
Optimum mode120 h10 m
Economic mode150 h5 m
Blinking mode400 h-

Weight: 78g including batteries, as claimed.

Our standard Petzl Zoom has served us reliably and flawlessly for years, the only disadvantage being the weight, which is seriously large for backpacking. Headtorch technology has clearly crept up and overtaken us unnoticed in the form of the Petzl LED range.

Update 15 Mar 2006

For 2006, the Tikka range uses improved technology to give an 80% increase in brightness, which translates into a 32m beam at maximum performance level.

The Tikka Plus incorporates some enhancements over the standard Tikka:

The lamp is a 4-LED unit (compared to the Tikka Standard's 3) which can be operated in continuous mode at 3 brightness settings. The Petzl table above shows the expected battery life and illumination distance for each setting.There is a fourth setting - blinking mode - to enable it to act as a beacon. It also has an 'instant' mode for brief illumination.

All settings are controlled by a single button on the top of the lamp unit, which is covered for protection but has a positive feel and is easy to operate. Here is an extract from the user leaflet describing the button and settings:

Switching on and off:

Push the button on top of the lamp:

1 click lights the lamp at the Maximum level and another click after two seconds turns it off.
1 click with the button held down keeps the lamp on - release button to turn off.

Selecting power levels:

When the lamp is off, push the switch :

1 click for Maximum power
2 rapid clicks to select the Optimum level
3 rapid clicks for the Economy level
4 rapid clicks for the Blinking mode

If the button is not pushed quickly enough, the lamp will switch off.

Tilt function: the standard Tikka has a fixed angle but this lamp unit can be tilted backwards and forwards in several discrete positions, which is a big advantage when contorted in the confines of a small tent. The tilt mechanism is light and easy to operate with one hand.

The 3 AAA batteries are shoehorned into the rear of the lamp unit itself, making the whole thing incredibly compact and there is no battery box at the back of your head. The headband is a simple adjustable elasticated strap which is very comfortable.

We found the Economic mode adequate for in and around the tent, giving a diffuse white light over 1 to 2 metres. Wandering further off, the Full Power mode was amazingly bright for such tiny LEDs, we had no idea the technology had progressed this far. It would have been interesting to compare it side by side with the old Petzl Zoom, but with a maximum quoted reach of 32m (15m for pre-2006 versions) it meets the same requirements for picking our way along when overtaken by nightfall.

Durability of the LEDs should be assured by encasement in transparent resin (see technical information below) which eliminates the need for fiddly spare bulbs. The light output from LEDs fades gradually as the batteries are consumed, which is another weight saving advantage - when we actually notice the light level falling off, we replace the batteries before the next trip and we never need to carry spares.

The LED design ensures an inherently more reliable system with less mechanical contacts than the old bulb torches. Petzl say that the unit is 'water-resistant' but we have not had the misfortune to get benighted in the rain and test this for a significant time!.

Conclusion

Compared to the old style headtorches, this really is a revolution especially for backpackers. The standard Tikka was considered a classic in the making, but with the lamp tilt-adjustment and extra LED we find it hard to see how the Tikka Plus could be improved functionally. We can find no disadvantages at all.

A really great product.

Additional note: The Petzl Zipka, which has the same lamp unit as the standard Tikka with a retractable cord instead of a headband, also has a Plus version.

The following extract of Petzl technical information is included for interest:

PETZL LEDs are selected for superior performance: they are robotically sorted and individually tested, with only the brightest chosen for use in PETZL headlamps.

L.E.D. Electroluminescent diode:-

An LED is made up of 2 electrodes with a light emitting source (semiconductor) placed on small reflectors that channel the light. The whole assembly is encapsulated in a solid transparent resin which forms a magnifying lens, and makes the LED practically unbreakable.

PETZL LEDs produce a brilliant, diffuse white light ideal for proximity lighting.

LEDs use the principle of luminescence: a semiconductor excited by an electric current emits light, while producing very little heat. This results in very long battery life, and a nearly unlimited lifespan for the LED.