Friday, February 22, 2013

Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp

I've owned my Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp for probably four or five years now. I've had it so long that I can't  even remember if I bought it myself, or received as a gift. Either way, I know I picked that model out specifically, based on the reviews I had read.

Since I've had the headlamp for several years, the particular model that I own is no longer available. The current model that seems to be the closest match is the Tikka 2, which, like the one I own, has 4 LEDs, and offers 3 modes, high, low, and flash. Surprisingly, the Tikka Plus 2 is a lot different than the Tikka Plus, with one white LED and one red LED, although the output is higher. I can certainly see the advantages of having a red bulb for certain uses.

Originally I wanted the headlamp to use when camping. I had discovered that trying to collect firewood after dark, while holding a flashlight in one hand, was not as easy task. I've since discovered, however, that a headlamp has many more uses than I originally imagined.

After we bought our property, before we moved out here, I spent most weekends mowing weeds, clearing brush, dragging old logs out of the way, etc. In order to maximize the amount of time I could work before it got too hot, I would try to get here just after the break of day. This required leaving while it was still dark out, so I would use the headlamp while loading the truck in the dark.

Once we moved out here I found that having a light source at night was even more important, as we purposely have no outside lighting. I've used the headlamp for many trips down to the road to take out trash after dark, or going to the shed to grab a tool for some project I was working on inside on a winter evening. I've even found the headlamp to be useful when I'm on the RTV after dark. The RTV headlight provides plenty of light for forward travel, but backing up in middle of the night can be a challenge. Having the headlamp available solves this problem, however, since it allows me to shine a line in whichever direction I am looking.

As useful as the headlamp has been when outside after dark, I have actually used it more inside. I like to read in bed for a few minutes before going to sleep. This helps me to wind down and clear my mind. The last thing I want to do, after putting the book down, is to get up and walk across the room to turn the light off. When I use the headlamp, instead of the overhead light, I can just turn it off and lay it on the table next to my bed when I'm finished reading. Another plus is that the headlamp provides plenty of light to read by, while requiring only a fraction of the energy.

It is possible to use a standard flashlight for any of these tasks that I've mentioned. I have found, however, that a headlamp makes these tasks much easier. I have used a flashlight to read by, when my headlamp batteries were dead, and found it much more difficult than reading by the headlamp.

Considering the relatively low cost of a headlamp, I consider them to be a fantastic value. If measured by hours of use per dollar spent, I suspect that my headlamp has been more valuable than most any other tool I own. The only issue I've had from my Tikka Plus is a crack in the housing, near the of/off button. It hasn't effected the functionality, though, although has made is slightly more difficult to get the housing closed back up after replacing batteries. I have also found that the intensity of light diminishes quickly once the batteries began dying. I suspect that this is made worse by my use of rechargeable batteries, although I'm willing to deal with that inconvenience in order to use rechargeables.

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