When Go Outdoors offered me an item from its range of camping equipment I asked for two small items: the Hi-Gear Blaze Titanium Stove, about which I’ve already written (here and here), and also a head torch.
I was sent the Petzl Tikkina 2 head torch, which is the lower end of the Petzl range, offering a beam distance (on new batteries) of 23 metres, weighing in at 80g and costing a very reasonable £16.
I’m not quite sure what I was thinking, volunteering to test a head torch in June. The nights don’t tend to be dreadfully dark at this time of year; as I noticed when I was lying awake on the Kinder Plateau in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, even if I had felt like going for a walk, it wasn’t dark enough to have needed a torch.
Based on what little use I have made of it, here are my initial observations and thoughts:
- Considering that it only has 2 LEDs, it does give a good level of light on the highest setting. There are two settings on this torch, high and low. On the low setting the lamp claims to have a battery life of 190 hours. Previous experience of Petzl head torches suggests that I’m never going to know whether that is accurate. Every couple of years I change the batteries in my torch, and I’ve never had it give out on me yet.
- The battery compartment clip is easier to use than my previous torch (which was the original model of Petzl Tikka Plus). Given my comment above about only changing the batteries every couple of years, this may seem to be irrelevant, but there was an incident a few years ago where I found myself stealing the batteries out of my head torch to put in the GPS to find out where I was at 5 o’clock one morning!
- The on/off switch is also easier to operate, as it’s bigger and not as recessed as my previous torch. However, this isn’t necessarily entirely a good thing. In the limited time that I’ve carried this torch (eight days of backpacking) I’ve not had it turn on accidentally in my pack, but it strikes me that the switch design would make accidental operation more likely. Personally, even with gloves on, I didn’t find the smaller and more recessed switch difficult to use.
- Based on my experience of the Petzl Tikka Plus (which on the original model had a similar light output spec to the Tikkina 2), if you want a torch for night walking (rather than for just using around camp and for emergency or occasional night walking use) then you’d be better with something with a higher light output (say the Petzl Tikka XP2). Conversely, if you’re only after a torch for using around camp then, personally, I would look to save weight and would go for the Petzl eLite (28g, rather than 80g). That all assumes that money is no object, as both alternatives that I’ve given there are more expensive. If budget is a key consideration, then, in my opinion you’re not going to go too far wrong with the the Petzl Tikkina 2; for your £16 you’re going to have a reliable, useable torch from a reputable brand.