Rechargeable Headlamps: Petzl vs Black Diamond - Appalachian Mountain Club

Rechargeable Headlamps: Petzl vs Black Diamond

October 21, 2014

As daylight fades into the long nights of fall and winter, any overnight adventure necessitates prolonged use of a headlamp. These days, however, it’s easier than ever to keep your headlamp running on rechargeable power, sparing you the need to purchase, use, and (properly) dispose of regular batteries.

Here’s a quick look at the primary rechargeable options from two major headlamp manufacturers.

Petzl

The Tikka RXP from Petzl

The Tikka R+ and Tikka RXP both offer some of Petzl’s latest technology, including “reactive lighting,” which automatically adjusts the brightness based on ambient conditions. The RXP is slightly brighter (up to 215 lumens) and more expensive ($89) than the R+ (170 lumens, $79).

Both recharge via a short USB cable; a full charge takes 4.5 hours, per the Petzl specs. Burn time on a full charge ranges from 2.5 hours to 12 hours, depending on the brightness and settings—comparable to their non-rechargeable equivalents. (It’s worth noting that the classic Petzl Tikka provides more than 120 hours of light, albeit less bright, on a single set of batteries)

Drawbacks include the fact that the R+ and RXP are about an ounce heavier than their non-rechargeable counterparts, and—more annoyingly—require that you purchase a separate accessory ($10) if you want to use them with AAA batteries instead (a likely scenario on longer multi-day trips).

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond ReVolt

Black Diamond offers the ReVolt, a simpler and less expensive take on the rechargeable concept. Like the Petzl models, it recharges via a USB cable. But instead of recharging a uniquely designed battery, it simply utilizes three rechargeable AAA batteries (included). This approach also means that you can just swap in standard disposable batteries if your rechargeable power runs out.

It lacks the automatic lighting adjustments and is less bright (130 lumens) than the Petzl models, but lasts a lot longer on a single charge (80 to 190 hours, depending on brightness) and costs less to boot ($59).

The bright choice is up to you.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.