Comfier but tricker to operate, this rechargeable bonce-beamer’s appeal quickly fades
You would think that a new version of Petzl’s successful line-up or head-torches that has a built-in rechargeable1800 mAh battery would be an instant classic. Charging-up via microUSB – a cable many of us carry on our travels to fuel a phone, tablet or Kindle – is a great idea, and helps rid the world of disposable batteries.
Small on/off button
However, in redesigning the torch, the on/off switch has become both smaller, and sticker. Consequently the convenience created by wearing a torch on your head is dampened slightly be the Tikka R+ being much more difficult to operate quickly than its predecessors.
The lack of usability is a shame because the head strap is really comfy, and the build quality of the whole product impossible to criticise. It’s got some useful lighting modes, too, from low and high beam (which reaches an impressive 170 lumens – how we wish we’d had those when descending the dreaded ‘Gringo killer’ steps on the Peru’s Inca Trail last summer) as well as a steady and flashing red light mode. Happily, the battery can be recharged from a portable battery pack, which takes about four hours.
That red light mode proved great for checking star-charts and equipment while stargazing, so the versatile Tikka R+ will probably remain in our core arsenal of travel gear for the foreseeable, but that on/off switch is going to take some getting used to.