Lou had been testing this Tikka XP2 headlamp and handed it over to me for Denali (not that we needed headlamps that badly for the mountain of midnight sun, but I did use it quite a bit during our road trip).
One of my favorite features on previous Petzl models I’ve owned is the slide cover that changes the beam from a focused spotlight to a more spread out light source. The former being better for objects that are far away, and the latter being for lighting your surroundings, and making it less mesmerizing to follow a trail in the dark.
The Tikka has three light levels for the regular LED, plus two different blinking modes. At 60 lumens this little 3 oz wonder is a flame thrower on the high setting. It also has a red light for low light tasks and for keeping your night vision. Petzl claims 80 hrs, when used on the low setting, per set of 3 AAA batteries. Double or triple that for AAA lithiums. Loading the batteries is much easier than previous models and they made it water resistant for those rainy or snowy approaches. The elastic headband on the lamp is plenty big enough to stretch around a climbing or skiing helmet, and will most certainly make life simpler than the separate battery pack does.
Petzl gives us a 3 year warranty which in itself might be worth the price tag, as I have found myself wearing headlamps out fairly quickly in the last few years.
At a price of $54.95 you spend significantly more coin than for example getting the Tikka Plus at $39.95 (max of 50 lumens). I feel like the slightly brighter max lumens makes the XP2 much more desirable as even a little more throw can make skiing the down much easier and safer. But on the uptrack or while scrambling the difference in brightness might not be worth the money if you’re on a tight budget.
Above being said, also bear in mind that even at 60 lumens this is still not a lamp that’ll light your way the same as something like the Petzl Ultra ($430.00, 350 lumens). In fact, if you plan on doing lots of night skiing you might definitely consider a more powerful headlamp.
Durability? After being tossed around in our Denali truck and trailer for almost a month, the XP 2 doesn’t seem to be showing itself to be any worse for the wear. I imagine I will find this bulb on my head for the rest of the summer in Colorado, and right on into the ski season.
Jordan White is a strong alpinist who finished skiing all 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks in 2009. He guides, tends bar, and lives the all-around perfect life in Aspen.