We collaborated with Petzl and Lyon Equipment to test out three of Petzl’s head torches. The ACTIK CORE, ZIPKA and e+LITE.

For many you will already know Petzl as the leading international head torch specialists. They have been part of many adventures, from professional explorers to the everyday adventurer. From climbing, skiing or travelling; Petzl has you covered.

A history of Petzl

It all began in the 1930s with one man: artisan and caver Fernand Petzl.

The Petzl adventure began with Fernand Petzl’s passion for caving, a passion to which he dedicated his talents as a craftsman. Petzl expertise began to grow with the design and crafting of solutions for ascending, descending, belaying and moving about in the dark. In 1970, the first “Fernand Petzl” brand products were produced in a workshop in Saint-Nazaire-Les-Eymes, Isère, France. Since then, the Petzl company, established in 1975, has grown into an international enterprise, all the while preserving its personal feel and the passion that drove Fernand Petzl.

Putting Petzl headlamps to the test

Whats more perfect than testing these three head torches in the wilderness of Iceland, where it gets super cold and super dark! Below we test all three head torches, documenting our experiences.

 

ACTIK CORE (350 lumens)

Lets start with ACTIK CORE. At the more expensive end, the Petzl ACTIK CORE at £40 is the most hardy of the three.

The headband is comfortable and easily adjustable and fitted nicely across our beanie whilst out in minus temperatures in Iceland, it also has a reflective material so you are easily visible. It never felt too tight on your head, which is great. The ACTIK CORE is also the heaviest out the three headlamps we tested. You can see from the photos below it is quite a chunky head torch, weighting in at 82g. When wearing it didn’t feel uncomfortable and felt very secure.

The ACTIK CORE is not only compatible with the standard AAA battery but also comes with a rechargeable CORE battery, that is easy as charging through a usb port. The strength of the light is 350 lumens and it does light up an entire room. The light comes with various lighting modes and beam patterns, depending on what sport or activity you may be doing. For us it mainly hiking and having a wider beam was really useful. Each light also comes with a red light and safety whistle, which is great to use without blinding anyone else that may be in front of you and also doesn’t disturb your night vision so much.

ZIPKA (200 lumens)

What we love about ZIPKA, is its easy to pick up and get going straight away. Instead of the elasticated headband, the ZIPKA comes with an easy pull wire strap, that retracts into the back of the headlamp when closed. The ZIPKA is 200 lumens and has a wide angle beam of light. The selling point for us is that the ZIPKA is also compatible with the Core battery that comes with the ACTIK CORE head torch.

The ZIPKA is so light it doesn’t even feel like it is on your head making it a great accessory to have in your rucksack. It also has a phosphorescent green reflector surrounding the light, so if you loose it in the dark, it is easily findable. Like the ACTIK CORE, the ZIPKA has the red light for easier night vision. A possible downside to this model is that it may feel less steady and secure on your head due to the thinner wire strap. If you are looking for a head torch that will feel secure on your head whilst trail running or doing outdoor activity with a more energy, we would suggest opting for the ACTIK CORE headlamp.

It has a long burn time and three different lighting modes, using one easy button at the top of the headlamp to change between them. As it was minus degrees and we are using gloves, we found these headlamps to be quite tricky turn on and off with such heavy duty hardware.

e+LITE (50 lumens)

At the cheaper end of Petzl’s this is the grab and go option. This headlamp goes back to the basics in the style department, while still packing a decent set of features.

The e+LITE is created in two parts. The back stores the battery with the light at the front. It is connected via a swivel stand – which can feel a little flimsy compared to the other two headlamps we tested. This swivel means you can move it in pretty much any direction on your head, which is incredibly handy. The button works differently from the other two headlamps. Instead of a push button, it works more like a switch with multiple positions to select the correct lighting option. It can be a little fiddly, but actually works well when you have gloves on your hands. It also has a lock mode, so you won’t accidentally switch it on. Great for saving energy.

The e+LITE is powered by two coin sized lithium batteries and has an easily changeable elasticated band to gain the correct fit for the size of your head. The e+LITE lives up to it’s name. It is so light you can forget it’s even on your head. As an added bonus, you get a small holder that can carry your e+LITE. This makes it easy to keep in your pocket, or attached to your belt. The e+LITE was a great smaller headlamp that you could whip out at a moments notice.

Conclusion

Petzl has such a great history in headlamp innovation and they truly do have a headlamp for every occasion. Testing all three next to each other you could see the strengths in each of the lighting solutions, with the ACTIK CORE coming out the strongest and most durable. However, with more strength you get more weight, though this doesn’t feel distracting or uncomfortable on the head.

Each headlamp has it’s own speciality. We believe the e+LITE is a great option for camping with friends and easy to use for smaller tasks much closer to home. It is also great to keep in your pocket for on the go.

The much heavier hitters are the ZIPKA and ACTIK CORE but we believe that you do get what you pay for. The ACTIK CORE for us would be our choice when out in the wild as the light is so strong and is long lasting. It has a great wide lighting option, which is great for safety. The head band is super strong, which would work well for running or doing more active sports and attaching safely onto a helmet if needed. We also love the added extra of emergency whistle.

All three head torches are waterproof and weather proof and worked well in minus temperatures. The batteries and head torches are also designed to regulate the energy, so the headlamp never dims when the battery begins to lose power.

Whether you are looking for a handy headlamp for around the house or a head torch for your more adventurous side, Petzl have got you covered!

For more information on Petzl headlamps please visit Petzl website.

 

Tech Specs by Petzl

ACTIK CORE

  • Weight : 82 g
  • Beam pattern : wide or mixed
  • Energy : 1250 mAh CORE rechargeable battery (included)
  • Battery compatibility : alkaline, lithium and Ni-MH
  • Certification(s) : CE
  • Watertightness : IP X4 (weather resistant)

Lighting performance

Lighting color Lighting modes Brightness Distance Burn time Reserve mode
white MAX AUTONOMY 5 lm 7 m 160 h
STANDARD 100 lm 50 m 7 h 3 h at 5 lm
MAX POWER 350 lm 95 m 2 h
red proximity 2 lm 6 m 40 h

 

ZIPKA

  • Light output: 200 lumens
  • Weight: 66 g
  • Beam pattern: wide
  • Energy: Three AAA/LR03 batteries (included) or CORE rechargeable battery (available as accessory)
  • Battery compatibility: rechargeable Ni-MH
  • Certification(s): CE
  • Watertightness: IP X4 (weather resistant)

Lighting Performance

Lighting color Lighting modes Brightness Distance Burn time
white MAX AUTONOMY 5 lm 10 m 240 h
STANDARD 100 lm 40 m 60 h
MAX POWER 200 lm 60 m
red proximity 2 lm 5 m 100 h
strobe visible at 700 m for 400 h

 

 e+LITE 

  • Light output: 50 lumens
  • Weight: 26 g
  • Beam pattern: wide
  • Energy: 2 lithium CR2032 batteries (included)
  • Watertightness: IPX7 (waterproof to -1 meter for 30 minutes)
  • Certification(s): CE

Lighting performance

Lighting color Lighting modes Brightness Distance Burn time
white STANDARD 15 lm 6 m 12 h
MAX POWER 50 lm 10 m 9 h
strobe 15 lm visible at 100 m for 95 h
red proximity 2 lm 100 m 15 h
strobe visible at 100 m for 70 h