Petzl Tikka XP²

After I’d finished scalding my fingers repairing a swing-check valve that I couldn’t completely isolate from the hot supply I decided to nip into the nearby Silverburn shopping centre to sooth my nerves by looking at amusing fashion and desperate shoppers. On the agenda was the Cotswold store, which is quite a nice one as these things go. It’s crammed with stuff and actually makes you want to browse in case you find something.
So I’m poking away at the trail shoes and I hears a voice behind me “Mister Macfarlane…”. It was familiar face Si from Lyon Equipment, with a big bag of kit doing some staff training. Note the “training” word there, he was running through the new Petzl range with the staff so they know what the score is. Good job, kinda reassuring that I think?

The staff foolishly left him unattended for a moment so we got to blethering, and one interesting thing is that the LaSportiva Gandalf shoes are in the UK right now, and the boots are coming in next year (see the link above). That will make some folks I’ve been speaking to very happy.

But, his visit was all about Petzl so we had a look through the kit and it’s the first time I’ve really had a proper look at the new Petzl Tikka XP². It’s been comprehensively redesigned, from the strap to the housing to the performance. The thing that got me smiling was the new wee red LED. Brilliant, and about time too. It’s the one thing about other torches I’ve had on test that make me pick them first for overnighters, a red light in a tent is brilliant for general tent life, nipping out for a pee, and keeping your night vision intact.
Operation is simplified from the old XP, one button does all. The settings are bright, not bright and flashing on the big LED, on or flashing with the red. magic. It’s easier to fit the batteries this time round, the plastic mouldings and finish are top-notch, even the headband feels softer.

I did like the look and the feel off it, and one arrived this morning for test as promised to see if it lives up to its first impressions.
The old XP worked fine for me through winter as well as year-round, so the XP²’s got a high benchmark to reach. And, I can guarantee that the fact that it’s purple won’t get it a free pass into my good-books!
More soon. Well, when the rain stops anyway.

23 thoughts on “Petzl Tikka XP²”

  1. ptc* – what’s the sequence of light levels? I have a Princeton Tec headlight which is great but when you switch it on it always defaults to the brightest setting first. It takes a few button presses to get it to the dimmer/red settings by which time any ‘night vision’ is well and truly gone!

    Seems logical to me to have these headtorches go from dim to bright. Or is it just me?!

  2. On “white” it’s bright first, but you can select red first as well by pressing the button longer (as long as you remember what setting you had last).
    I like this, as through time I’ve found the low to high settings on other torches to be a barrier to getting to the bright setting. It’s a personal thing though, bright and red are plenty for me, hopefully flashing will remain unused…

  3. I bought one of these for my Brother as an Xmas prezzie,it’s wrapped and untried but if you give it a decent review I might just possibly get one for myself, the Alpkit Gamma just doesn’t quieten my irrational fear of walking through forests at night although it’s fine for everything else.
    Wasn’t Mr McNeish supposed to be signing books at Cotswolds in Silverburn today ?

  4. Yeah, don’t think I’ve ever used the epilepsy inducing flashing mode on a headtorch! ‘On’ and ‘Red’ settings would suit me too, one button for each.

  5. I’ve always said since getting my Alpkit Gamma that it would take a very good head torch to make me spend over £30 on one again and it would have to be small, light and hve the red option for those long hours through winter. Hmm, may have to get one of these eventually I think, the old Tikka XP was fantastic, I remember getting the timings wrong once on a walk up Ben More on Mull and after watching a stunning sunset from the summit I had my XP to get me off and it was ace.

  6. One thing I did like about the old XP as a glasses wearer was that the extra inch and a half it stuck out off your head took it past the glasses and stopped it reflecting and doing that thing that head torches do that makes them annoying bouncing of your glasses.

  7. I’ve been checking out stuff from Zebra light, Fenix and LED Lenser recently.

    I like my Alpkit Gamma Decent performance for much cheapness but I think Santa might bring me something a little more polished…hopefully Santa reads this page too.

  8. Buying headtorches is becoming like buying other technology – computers, mobile phones, cameras etc – it moves on so fast that you feel like whenever you take the leap and make your purchase, you’ll immediately be left behind with superceded kit.

    It’s bizarre really – I now have to tell myself that my 2-year-old Princeton Tec Apex is a great bit of kit for winter and I don’t need anything else. It’s the same with £700-worth of bike lights bought 3 years ago, they’re just as bright as they were then and back then they were fantastic!

    How did we ever go anywhere when all we had was the Petzl Zoom and a flat 4.5V battery?!! ;O)

  9. Now I’ve remembered why my rucsac was always so full in the ‘old days’ – spare batteries…

    Anyway, with you all the way on the Apex Matt, it still does the job all year for me. Sure I could get a lighter lamp, but I like to keep walking when the sun sets so for me it is a winner. It also doesn’t shine or otherwise interfere with my glasses :-)

  10. Rob, yes. I made sure of that :o)

    Scotpat, good call on the prezzie. If Cameron doesn’t get any takers for his autograph he can spend the afternoon in TK Maxx.

    Holdfast, I kinda like the idea of one button for each instead of this quick press & long press thing. I wonder if anybody has that on a torch, I can’t think of one?

    Jamie, good point about the light-spill. I’ve got a neaderthal-style forehead ridge (not too big, but it’s there) and light catches annoyingly on my eybrows.

    BBF, there’s a ton of good LED stuff out there now, and Petzl have had to raise their game considerably to keep up. Great for us as them fighting it out gets us better kit without huge price increases.

    aembleton, the answer for me is yes. I carry an e+lite in my pocket all-day every-day for work and on the hill too for camp use and back-up. But while perfectly usable, the strength and width of beam, the penetration, the definition it gives of the ground just isn’t enough sometimes. Night time ascents and descents are easier, safer (Jeez, did I just say that?), and more fu8n with better lighting. I remember doing the first half of the South Glen Shiel Ridge after dark last February and I was very glad of that pool of brightness in front of me!

    That brings me too the Alpkit Gamma. By default it’s been my go-to headtorch since it came in for test. I should probably do an update as it’s been great, the button arrangement is annoying as hell, but the performance has been faultless. However, last week up in the Inverinate Forest saw me descending in high winds and torrential rain in pitch darkness, and for the first time the Gamma felt like it had found its limit, I was thinking “I wish I had my Myo XP” as the beam just wasn’t cutting through and the steep descent was laborious and somewhat tentative.
    Would the XP2 have been any better? Hard to say, but it’s now regular kit so we’ll see what happens, I’ll update after trips.

    Last though, here’s a night time ascent of Ben Lomond from a couple of years ago, lit by an original XP :o)

  11. Matt good points, LED is flying forwards, and the camera I bought just a year ago is looking dated.

    More-On, it’s good to resist the marketing sometimes. It’s clever how they can make “This is new and better!” actually sound like “Your stuff isn’t as good as you thought!” inside you head.

    Ah, the old Zoom batteries, them was the days…

  12. Had a tikka plus but didn’t think the beam was all that good to be honest so i ditched it and got a black diamond spot and can’t be happier great bit of kit and easily good enough for dark path decents/night walking for its size. I did consider the old xp but it seemed fiddly to work with gloves on and the battery changing was pants.

  13. Descending Ben Starav with a Tikka a few winters back scarred me for life. The weak pool of light around my feet made the river crossing where the rocks had ice on them a harrowing task, never mind the waist-deep snow on the climb back up from Beinn nan Aighenan. It was straight back to bigger lights after that!
    The battery change on the old XP is a nail breaker, no mistake.

  14. I think a lot of headtorhces are merely for messing around in campsites or diy etc some really are not suitable for nightime mountain/walking use even though they are supposedly fine for that. Digressing slightly just bought a kaza windshirt for running etc what a great bit of kit, virutally waterproof. Your recommendations on here are mounting up on the wallet front. I wish haglofs would sell that DWR stuff it would fly off the shelves.

  15. I keep my old XP in my toolbox for when the e+lite doesn’t cut it at work, just the same as on the hill.

    The Kaza’s great, that new spring model’s got its work cut out to match it.
    Their DWR is exceptionally good, I wore the Barrier Hoody in torrential rain on the hill once and the only places that got really wet were the powerstretch cuffs. After that it just became my day-to-day standard foul weather wear.

  16. Its certainly getting tested in this global raining and i agree the powerstretch cuffs are the only bit i would update on my barrier.

  17. I dug out an old Karrimor fleece the other day, a Windstopper one, and it has zipped/gusseted cuffs like a motorbike jacket.
    It actually works really well, but I can see folk picking it up in shops and going “Er…..”.

  18. I think a drawback of the Tikka series is that they are not regulated and after almost half an hour the beam length drops drown dramatically.

  19. The Kaza was perfect product, and I intend to have words with Haglofs if the update isn’t as good. For one thing it’s heavier and I’m very sceptical about stretch panels in general. We shall see! Hmph!

    It would be interesting to have a comparison of the regulated and unregulated torches in the Petzl range, just to see what works better for what, really.

  20. I was talking to Si about regulated torches, and it’s an ethos thing apparently. Petzl still like the idea of a tail-off rather than a step down onto low power.
    I can see both sides of the argument, and I think it’s probably down to what fits you rather than what’s better. I definitely like regulated lights on the bike as I’m (usually) going faster than on foot, headtorch I can take it or leave it for now. As long as I don’t have to back to old days of a steadily dimming pool of dull yellow light from my Zoom its all good :o)

    I can see regulated lights becoming standard across the boards as LED’s get even better from a power consumption angle.

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