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Petzl Actik Review

Picking a headlamp can be tough –

Lots of options, lots of different specs, does anyone actually know what a lumen is? and worst of all, lots of unrealistic claims about battery life!

I’m hoping this review can fill in the gaps and let you decide for yourself if this is the right head lamp for you.

The Petzl Actik, a new 2017 offering, is one of the nicer headlamps we’ve seen this year. The Actik offers all of your standard modern headlamp features you would expect: red light, multiple beam strengths, and a USB rechargeable option as well as 3xAAA compatibility.

Compared to some of the newer smart phone enabled headlamps you might feel like its a bit too basic but personally I feel like a headlamp really shouldn’t have anything to do with my phone in the first place!

Petzl Actik

Pros

  • Simple operation
  • lightweight
  • USB rechargable and AAA compatible
  • Adjustable beam angle (hinged)
  • Easily Removable headband for affixing to a helmet
  • Splash and rain proof

Cons

  • Lacks constant brightness regulation
  • Rechargeable battery is sold separately (or with the CORE version)
  • Listed burn time on max brightness is wildly incorrect
  • No lock function

Feature Summary

  • Independent wide and narrow beams for optimal lighting in all situations
  • Night vision preserving red light mode
  • USB Rechargeable (battery sold separately)
  • Compatible with the Petzl Noctilight which dual purposes between a carry case and a light diffuser.

Brightness & Battery Life

The Brightness of the Petzl Actik is on par with all good headlamps available today, however, it doesn’t have output regulation, meaning, as the batteries drain, the light gets weaker. This is seen as a positive to some as it lets you know your batteries are almost out instead of them going dead all of a sudden leaving you lost in the darkness. Most people generally feel this is just a modern feature all headlamps should have.

Regarding battery life, I believe there was a mix up in the marketing department at Petzl because the burn time on high for this headlamp is far closer to 90 minutes than 60 hours.

Comfort & Fit

I found the Actik to be a comfortable headlamp even after an hours walking. The headband elasticity holds up well and didn’t need adjusting for the duration. There was a little bit of slippage after jogging for 5 minutes.

Durablity

While plastic the Actik feels a bit like a rock, and for any defects petzl has you covered with a five-year warranty.

Petzl Actik vs Actik Core

The Actik Core is exactly the same as the Actik, only it comes with the rechargeable battery.

Petzl Noctilight


The compatible Noctilight headlamp case doubles as a light diffuser – essentially a peice of plastic that jumbles a focused headlamp beam into a nice lantern effect – perfect for adding a little light to your tent at night.

The Verdict

Specification errors aside, the Petzl Actik is a great entry level headlamp with standard modern features like rechargable batteries and red light modes.

Some how Petzl manages to do this without destroying my wallet too, which is nice.

If you’re looking for a headlamp with constant beam strength regulation, check out my review on the petzl reactik.

Specs

Best UseBackpacking
Bulb Detail2 white LED + 1 red LED
Red Light ModeYes
Beam TypeAdjustable / Flood
Max Light Output (Lumens)350
Light OutputHigh: 350 lumens
Low: 5 lumens
Max Beam Distance (m)90
Beam DistanceHigh: 90; low 10 meters
Brightness Levels4
Strobes1
Average Run Time High: real: 2, listed: 60
Low: 260 hours
Regulated OutputYes
RechargeableWith Core battery it is USB rechargable
Batteries3xAAA
Water-Resistance RatingIPX4 – splash / rain proof
Weight With Batteries3.17 ounces

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