Petzl Swift RL Headlamp | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Petzl Swift RL Headlamp | Review

The Swift RL reacts to the world around you, changing when the sun goes down

Why We Chose The Petzl Swift RL: High lumen, lightweight, reactive lighting

Based in Crolles, near Grenoble, Petzl was founded by the cave explorer Fernand Petzl in the mid-1970s. With its cave-based origins, it’s not really a surprise that the brand managed to establish itself as one of the world’s finest purveyors of headtorches. Some brands merely adopted the dark, Petzl were born in it.

Moving back up to the present day, one half of their two inclusions in this year’s Outdoor 100 comes in the form of the Swift RL headlamp – an excellent head torch with a couple of genuinely clever main features.

Who Is The Petzl Swift RL Headlamp For?

Like seeing where you’re going when you’re outdoors? You’ll appreciate what the Petzl Swift RL brings to your adventures.

“An impressive 900 lumens from a 100g item will definitely appeal to the backpackers out there.”

Digging down into it in a much more serious way, the product’s two-part construction ensures first-rate stability during dynamic and intense activities such as mountaineering, trail running and skiing. Move about as much as you want and this thing will continue to light the way for you.

It’s smart reactive lighting, which we’ll talk about more in the ‘Features’ section’, also makes it a nice bit of kit for twilight walkers and wild campers. 


We’ll start off the ‘Features’ section where we ended the previous one. The Swift RL’s ‘Reactive Lighting’ technology results in a longer burn time (or battery life), and requires less manual adjustment. The light sensor automatically adjusts brightness and beam pattern depending on the current level of light in the environment. This optimises battery usage and keeps the head torch going for longer. If you’d prefer something a bit more traditional, you can switch to a ‘Standard Lighting’ mode.

The Swift RL is a fine example of an ultra-bright head torch coming in a lightweight, extremely convenient, body. An impressive 900 lumens from a 100g item will definitely appeal to the backpackers out there who like keeping things fast and light (light in more ways than one).

The main beam can put out 900 lumens. Photo: Mike Brindley
The Swift RL houses a 2350 mAh battery, which can be recharged via the type B micro USB port. Photo: Mike Brindley
Coming in at 100 grams, the Swift RL has an impressive lumen to weight ratio. Photo: Mike Brindley

With an ergonomic adjustable headband, with two-part Petzl patent construction, this has a really comfortable fit and will stay fixed on your head even when you’re really moving about. Speaking of the headband, it’s reflective for heightened night-time visibility. 

“For such a powerful head torch the Swift RL is surprisingly light weight.”

The Swift RL is home to a Lithium-Ion 2350 mAh battery, something that can be recharged via the type B micro USB port. You can also keep an eye on this via the product’s battery charge indicator.

With a single button controlling all functions, this thing couldn’t be more intuitive to use. That single button, it’s worth pointing out, controls ‘On / Off’, the various lighting modes, brightness and locking. The lock function, in particular, will be appreciated by anyone who’s ever accidentally turned on their light during transit, completely emptied the battery, and been left high and dry when they need some illumination.


At full RRP, the Petzl Swift RL will set you back £96.99. That means those on a budget might prefer to go with the LedLenser MH3, and it’s much more reasonable-sounding RRP of £34.95. That being said, the Petzl Swift RL is one of the most impressive head torches we’ve ever come across and perfect for those looking to invest in some genuinely advanced gear. It’s versatile, functional, and packing some properly clever, user-friendly, technology.

Testing the Petzl Swift RL in the Lake District. Photo: Jordan Tiernan


Tester’s Verdict

Ryan Van Kesteren, Outdoors Magic staff

“At 900 lumens on max strength the Petzl Swift RL has comparable brightness to a car head lamp. But it’s much easier to wear on your head.

“For such a powerful head torch the Swift RL is surprisingly light weight. So much so that I’ve had no concerns packing it for long days out when I probably won’t need it but could just do with the back up just in case.

“The double back strap is noticeably more supportive than a traditional single strap and I found it stops the lamp from bouncing around while running. The adjustment system is also very intuitive and makes it easy to find a comfortable fit. The swivel adjuster of the lamp angle is also nice and easy to use. Although I’ve only tested this torch in the summer, I imagine I’ll be grateful for that feature while wearing ski gloves this winter.”

Petzl Swift RL

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