2014 Gear Preview - Petzl Lights And Lids
Petzl has completely revamped the TIKKA family of headtorches for spring 2014 and there's a new lightweight climbing helmet in the offing too.
The TIKKA and ZIPKA names remain the same, but pretty much everything else about the Petzl TIKKA family of headtorches has changed for spring 2014 with new configurations, brighter LEDs and distinctively different visuals.
Classic Intro Level Tikkas
The standard Tikka, Tikina and Zipka modeks keep their old names - and the capital letters though not in this article - but whereas the current versions have multiple LEDs, the new ones now feature a single, brighter LED bulb. How much brighter? The new Tikkina is 60 lumens, some 240% brighter than the current version, while both Tikka and Zipka are up to 80 lumens, which is 100% brighter than before.
The prices stay the same at £20 for the Tikkina, £35 for the Tikka and £36 for the Zipka version. They also remain 'unregulated', which means that as the power from the AAA batteries goes down, so does the light output. Petzl's promise for next year is that 'brightness will still exceed 50% after one hour of use'...
All of which underlines why regulated headtorches, which keep a constant output as the battery is used, are a better bet for most users.
New Tikka+ And Tikka XP
Talking of which, both the new Tikka+ and the XP give you that option. The new Tikka+ pumps out 110 lumens on main beam and is guaranteed to do that for at least 90 minutes. There's also a 140-lumen, 5-second boost mode for moments of night-time incredulity... was that really a heron wearing a top-hat? It also gives you a choice of flood or spot beams depending on pereference. The Tikka+ will be £45.
Also new is the 2014 Tikka XP, Petzl's classic workhorse all-rounder. For 2014, it too has a regulated output and the flood/spot combo. It puts out slightly more power however at 120 lumens with a 160-lumen boost and while the + will give you either spot or flood, the XP lets you use both together for an extra £5 at £50.
Just for reference, both the XP and the + are arround 40% brighter than the current Tikka XP 2. They also have a new, more supportive headband and a phosphorent locator so you can find them in the dark - always handy.
New Reactive Lighting This Autumn 2013
Last but not least on the lighting front, from August/September 2013, there are two new torches that use the reactive lighting first seen on the Petzl Nao in a more affordable package. Reactive lighting uses a sensor to adjust light levels according to how dark it is and it works pretty well most of the time on the impressively bright Nao.
The two new reactive torches are the Tikka RXP and the Tikka R+ - the 'R' we're guessing stands for 'reactive' - and both of them optimise light output to eke out battery life, as much as three times longer says Petzl. Levels can, like the Nao, be customised using Petzl's OS software.
The Tikka RXP (£90) has spot and flood beams which can be used seperately or in combination with a maximum output of 215 lumens - we're thinking a sort of 'Nao Lite' torch. Meanwhile the R+ (£70) has a single high-powered LED with mixed output. Both get minimum guaranteed burn times, unlike the Nao, which means you have an idea of how long the battery will last.
Also new is a neat looking head-strap which features a double band at the rear of the head and should be more stable and comfortable in use than a standard single band - more Nao heritage there we reckon. Finally, like the Nao, both have an internal rechargeable battery.
Finally, the classic Meteor helmet has had a revamp for next spring 2014. It's been lightened by 15g and the previously chunky profile has been slimmed down, helped by the introduction of two sizes, so folk with smaller head no longer need look like a mushroom.
Theres more venting too and a slick new adjustment system for a more customised fit to the climber's head. Finally the new Meteor gets the cunning magnetic buckle from the super lightweight Sirocco helmet. Looks like being a decent all-rounder. Price is £77 and weights 220g and 225g for the two sizes...
And that's sort of it from Petzl. The brand also has a new range of climbing ropes waiting in the wings and various bits of hardware including a revised climbing-specific knife called the Spatha - the urge to call it the Void must have been overwhelming - complete with a carabiner hole and a blade profile which 'allows easy cutting of ropes and slings' it says here.
All the kit above bar the two reactive torches available in early 2014. More Petzl information at www.petzl.com/en.