Review: Petzl Tikka+
A headtorch is a must for winter running. But does the Tikka+ curry favour with our tester?
There are still six weeks until we arrive at the shortest day of the year and that means one thing – running under a blanket of darkness is a necessity if you’re looking to increase run speed and fitness. ‘Wrong,’ you might argue, ‘there are treadmills and illuminated streets to rack up the miles this winter.’ That’s true but there’s nothing like going all Bear Grylls and heading off-road for a physical and cerebral boosy. Enter this tidy headlamp from Petzl (available for around £35).
Over 30 years, Petzl has carved a strong reputation in outdoor sports, whether producing high-end mountaineering harnesses for climbers, providing mats for boulders or illuminating the activities of runners. We’ve used the Tikka+ for over a year now and it’s a pretty impressive tool.
It features four white lighting options, purported beam distance ranging from 10m to 60m. That’s the manufacturer’s claims anyway. Traditionally, though, both sets of figures derive from the labs where controlled conditions ensure optimum performance. I’d suggest that full beam reaches more around 48m, which is still ample for most night runs.
That’s down to lumens. Lumens are a unit of measure that gauges the total quantity of light emitted in all directions by a light source. In the Tikka+’s case, Petzl claims it peaks at 140 lumens. Typically, a light with a high lumen count will consume energy at a higher rate than a lower lumen. Which clearly means the higher the lumen, the brighter the light? Not necessarily. How well a manufacturer channels that beam is down to the shape of the lens – described as the ‘flood’ – and Petzl has designed theirs so that a wide range of upcoming terrain is illuminated clearly. It’s also flexible as you can raise or lower the light unit.
The Tikka+ also features a red-light option. This is more to be seen than see, and is useful in an emergency as it requires less battery usage. As for powering the Tikka+, that’s down to three AAA batteries. That’s where it’s a bit of a drain with battery replacement on high run mode after around 3hrs. That should see most people through a long run but, for ultra-fanatics for whom 4hrs-plus is the norm, it’s something to bear in mind. (The Petzl Tikkina, for instance, might be more suitable with high run mode reported up to 15hrs.)
Originally, I had concerns that a lack of overhead strap would lead to an unstable beam. As it transpires, that single, comfortable length of fabric clamps things in place nicely, even when sprinting. You can also remove the strap for easy wash.
Overall, there are cheaper options out there but that could be a false economy. With many UK trails scarred by jagged rocks, fallen trees and roots bursting from the ground, a quality headtorch like the Tikka+ could prevent injury and keep you running this winter.
Available from Outdoor Gear UK for £33.16
James Witts is a writer & editor specialising in endurance sport, health & fitness, outdoor adventure and sports science.