Product Review: Petzl Tactikka Headlamp

petzl tactikka

Short version?  Solid, essential piece of equipment, well worth the money.  It’s much more robustly constructed than other national brands, and is, in my opinion, much more user friendly with very, VERY few parts that can be lost when changing batteries.  Ask me how I know.

I’ve had an older model for about 3 years now, and the thing is bomb proof.  I’ve ordered a newer model to allow me to put the older one in my hunting gear.  It’s superb for walking to and from a stand in the dark or tracking your game’s blood trail.  I especially like the flexibility in my old model in that I can exchange a sliding lens of blue, green, or red for use in specialized or hours of darkness situations.  Personally, I keep the blue on on the strap in it’s storage container for switching out when I’m going to be tracking a game blood trail in the dark, and the green lens for night vision (much better on the eyes than red, and the red lines on a map don’t disappear in it like they do in red light).  Yeah, it costs more than $10, and you can get cheaper headlamps that perform almost as well, but you can’t find one that out performs the Petzl for the money.  The new model pictured above, (Petzl Tactikka +) ran me under $45 out the door.  The older one was about $50.

This choice will be like every other piece of gear you decide to buy:  Go cheap and get a dozen (because you’ll most likely need them as replacements) or compare and contrast and get the best item you can afford.  I’ve heard it said, “buy once, cry once” in relation to quality equipment.  I’ve found it to be true, so far.

The following is the description from the company web site, here.


  • CONSTANT LIGHTING: brightness does not decrease gradually as the batteries are drained
  • Several lighting modes suitable for different situations, from proximity lighting to rapid movement
  • BOOST mode for temporary access to maximum brightness
  • Red light combining visual comfort and stealth, red strobe light
  • Automatically switches to reserve mode when batteries are running low and then to red lighting when the batteries are nearly empty
  • Compatible with Ni-MH or lithium batteries for greater burn time
  • Easy to use:
    – push-button is easy to use, even with gloves
    – washable headband, designed for dynamic activities (secure and absorbent)


  • Weight: 85 g
  • Beam pattern: mixed
  • Energy: 3 AAA/LR03 batteries (included)
  • Battery compatibility: rechargeable Ni-MH and lithium
  • Certification(s): CE
  • Watertightness: IP X4 (weather resistant)

So, being that Christmas is right around the corner, you might want to print this off and leave it where anyone looking for ‘gift ideas’ for you might be able to find it.  If you’re really serious, print off a dozen and place them strategically.  ‘Santa’ might double or triple your request, depending on the number of folks who contact him to get you one.  Kinda like having more than one snare or fishing pole….just sayin’…heh.



10 thoughts on “Product Review: Petzl Tactikka Headlamp

  1. Pingback: DTG: Product Review – Petzl Tactikka Headlamp | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. dangero

    I’ve run two different headlamps extensively in the field and both met my needs, they are the:
    TacTikka Plus 4-LED Headlamp
    Princeton Tech Tactical Quad
    The main difference between these two lights is the Petzl is much smaller and lighter despite still being a three AAA battery headlamp however it has a push and click style closure as opposed to the Princeton’s closure which uses a screw that can be tightened much more securely. Having been in situations where both have ended up submerged I can say I have noticed moisture got into the battery compartment on the Petzel but not the Princeton. This didn’t cause the light to fail but because I didn’t notice right away there was some corrosion around the battery terminals I had to clean up with a wire brush.
    Also I like that when you turn on the Princeton it cycles from low to high in brightness whereas the Petzel starts on the highest setting. As someone who likes to use the least amount of light possible to get the job done (even with the red filter on) I appreciate the option to start low and move higher. This is something to think about when you were looking at some of the cheaper options like the Energizer model they sell at the supermarket. I own one and it works great but because there is no red lens you have to cycle through two white lights before the red LEDs come on which can ruin your night vision and give away your position trying to get there.
    The bottom line is both are outstanding lights that have taken a lot of abuse and have never failed me but due to the differences in features on the closure and the brightness cycle I will take the extra weight of the Princeton if I could only choose one.

  3. Defensive Training Group Post author

    Having the ability to slide a green, red, or blue lens over the light on the older Petzl before turning on the light is what attracted me to it back when I bought it. Night vision loss sucks!

    Thanks for stopping by and giving us your take! Good review!

  4. Mike Bishop

    I’ve been running the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact, but as a card-carrying light-whore, I’ll have to check these out. I’ve got one on my PC and another on a headlamp strap, but I wouldn’t mind having a “standard” headlamp to throw in the mix.

    Thanks for the review/heads-up on these.

  5. SemperFi, 0321

    Princeton Tech has been in the business of making Scuba lights for a long time, I have some of their C and D cell diving lights from over 20 yrs ago.
    As a former scuba repair tech I highly recommend you go and get a small vial of AquaSeal silicone grease from McNett and use that on any O-rings on your flashlights. Remove the O-ring with a dental pick (carefully), wipe clean and apply a very small dab of fresh grease all around the O-ring, install back in groove. It will help keep the moisture out. DO NOT use Vaseline, it EATS rubber!

    While you’re at it, get some McNetts Tenacious Tape for rain gear, air mattress repairs too. They have a phenomenal list of repair items for field, camping, scuba use.

  6. Anonymous

    Headlamps are handy, but have a few draw backs. Using them when alone is great, but in groups you tend to look at the person you talk to and you can blind the other person for a bit. Turning to a lower strength or colored filter really helps. I live in the buggy South, and when eating, insects are attracted to my face when lit. Real pain when eating tacos (not sure if I’m getting ‘supplements’, lol).

    Otherwise – not much to complain about them. Thanks for the tips above.

  7. No Less A Patriot

    I use a Black Diamond headlamp that has a red mode using a button function – no lenses to change/lose. Used this extensively mountaineering and ice climbing.

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