I purchased the Petzl TacTikka Plus headlamp in March in anticipation of the SERE Urban Seattle event. One of the required items was a headlamp that had a red filter on it and this was one of the few headlamps that fit the criteria. I already owned a headlamp… the Princeton Tec EOS but since this headlamp is the same one that GORUCK sells on their website I figure dit must be great so I bit the bullet and bought one.
I used the Petzl TacTikka Plus for two events before writing this review… the SERE Urban Challenge and the GORUCK Heavy. Both events required a headlamp so I figured what better time to try this out than here. I did not use it in any training as I don’t really train at night but I assume it performs the same in training as it does in events.
The quality of the headlamp seems great. I admit that I dropped it once or twice but there were no issues. The light still worked great and there was no chipping or scuffs on it. Besides that I can’t really comment much on the quality… it survived living in a ruck with six bricks and you can’t really ask for much more. An added benefit is that the headlamp is very comfortable to the point that when I have it on I honestly don’t even notice it’s there. Overall I’d say it’s the most comfortable headlamp I’ve used to date and I’ve tried some running specific headlamps (running headlamps are supposed to give comfort over quality.)
The headlamp has three different lighting levels, a blinking mode, and the pull down red filter. The lighting levels are great and according to the specs the battery can last up to 150 hours. I’ve used mine for maybe 8 hours tops but the battery is still in there kicking so no issues there. The red filter works great for night as you can easily read a map without blinding everyone around you. You really don’t want to be THAT guy who shines their headlamp in the eyes of their teammates. I’ve also noticed that since everyone else brings headlamps to these events as well you really don’t need to use anything except for the low setting since everyone else is helping to light up the area.
My main concern with the Petzl TacTikka Plus is its vulnerability to water. I’m used to using the Princeton Tec Eos headlamp which can be submerged up to a meter for 30 minutes at a time. This headlamp is rated as being “water-resistent” which, unfortunately, isn’t great for a Challenge. During a Challenge you can expect some fun time in the water and if it’s not protected you may be in trouble. After GORUCK Heavy (lots of water) my headlamp is essentially toast and will only turn on for maybe 5 seconds at a time… which leads me to my final review point.
The Petzl TacTikka Plus has a three year warranty. I’m currently in the process of seeing how lenient they are in regards to fixing my broken headlamp and will update this review once the fix is either accepted or declined.
Overall the Petzl TacTikka Plus is a great headlamp if you will not be submerging it in water. If you want to take it into water then make sure you have a dry bag for it or some other waterproof case because it will not survive the experience. I honestly would not suggest it for GORUCK Challenges or similar events. If you forget to put it away you can kiss your $45 investment goodbye… which is not a fun experience. Even if they do replace my headlamp I will probably not buy another one until Petzl releases a completely water-proof model. I just don’t want to deal with babying my gear it when it comes to water.
Buy The Headlamp
If you’re looking to buy this headlamp you can check them out at the following retailers. By using any of the following links you’ll be helping to support the costs of running the All Day Ruckoff website as well.
I like the Black Diamond headlamps in general better than Petzl. Their button design and dimmer functions are better. One thing I’ve noticed in GORUCK events is that other people’s Petzl had a stronger red lamp (one single bulb which was brighter than the BD’s two bulbs one either side of the spotlight bulb). I bought a Petzl Actik just for this reason, but other than this one advantage (the red lamp – well also the integrated whistle on the buckle), I still prefer BD.
I have the older model with only 3 lamps and a simple on/off slider switch, and same flip up red lens. I have had it for a few years and a Afghan deployment. I have never taken it under water ha, but it has been rained on… Durability is outstanding though. It has been attached to my kit, thrown around and abused. Chipped and scratched. No issues, thing just keeps on running as long as you feed it batteries.