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Product Review: Petzl Actik Headlamp

Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain. As a RErun Ambassador, and with more dark than light these days, we asked her to review Petzl Actik Headlamp and share her thoughts.

November is here and with it, darkness. I don’t know about you guys, but it can be hard for me to stay motivated this time of year. I can come up with a million reasons to stay in my warm comfy bed in the morning as well as why my afternoon should be spent sipping hot apple cider. But nothing keeps me from running like the dark–it’s my winter running nemesis. I tend to be a bit afraid (or as my 5 year old would say: “ascared”) of running alone in the dark and have been known to rack up to 5 miles looping though lit parking lots while waiting for the sun. Maybe the dark doesn’t bother you, but seeing and being seen is key to running safely in the dark. Alright, enough about me and my fears…let’s talk headlamps!

In the past I’ve used the PETZL TIKKA 2, which I purchased a few years ago and will use to compare with the ACTIK.  

Brightness:

The ACTIK has 3 unique lamps with 5 different modes. I’ve affectionately named them: ‘Glimmer Glow’ (5 lumens–single beam), ‘Holy Buckets’ (100 lumens–2 beams–bright and wide), ‘Pearly Gates’ (300 lumens–2 beams–brighter and wider–seriously find your eclipse glasses to look at this beam), ‘RED-y Steady’ (2 lumens–Fun fact: do you know what the red lamp is for? It retains your night vision! Eyes adjust rapidly to red light in the dark. In addition, it won’t blind your running buddy or attract bugs. Plus, it’s just fun and Christmassy!)  and ‘RED Strobe’ (for visibility–visible up to 700 meters). This is literally a night and day difference from my old lamp, which only ranged up to 40 lumens. I was impressed with how amazingly the light cut through thick fog and made a dark trail feel like daytime. Casting a wide beam up to 90 meters rather than a single focal point, rocks and roots were clearly visible instead of shadowed. I loved it for roads as well, and felt so much safer being highly visible to those around me as well as having more time to be prepared for what was ahead or in my peripheral. On a side note, I wore the ACTIK to the Runner’s Edge Brooks Levitate party (You can find me in the upper left corner of the “L” in the photo taken that night), set on ‘Pearly Gates’ it lit the trail for my whole family on our hike down.  

Features:

Lightweight design, coming it at 92 grams, it’s just a few grams more than my old lamp. The head band is reflective with a safety whistle built into the adjusting hardware.  What about burn time?  An impressive 240 hours on ‘Glimmer Glow’, 60 hours on ‘Holy Buckets’, ‘Pearly Gates’ and ‘RED-y Steady’ and 400 hours on strobe. It’s powered by 3 AAA’s, which are included or the CORE rechargeable battery pack can be purchased separately.

Comfort and Style:

The head band fits snugly and comfortably without bounce. Tightness and lamp angle can easily be adjusted while running. As far as color selection goes, I love all things white and chose the Blue/White version. It’s also available in Black/Black and Lime/Black. Here’s my practical plug for the white one: It’s prettier!  Haha, but seriously I worked the headlamp return table at the RUT. The headlamps were nicely sorted by color and the sea of black headlamps was ridiculous.  Finding one’s took forever!  (Also, have you ever tried to sharpie your name onto a black on black item–it’s impossible! My hubby ended up packing his black headlamp on the 50k for this reason alone!) But then there was a sweet little pile of blue and white head lamps–like 5 of them, those 5 RUT-ers were reunited with their bright buddy in a jiffy, instead of wasting valuable hot tub time looking for a headlamp!

Maybe one day I’ll get comfortable with dark, but until then the PETZL ACTIK will get me through and help bring day to my night. It comes with a 5 year Guarantee and you can pick one up at the Runner’s Edge for $45. Seriously, you’ll love it–consider buying 2 of them! That way when your husband commandeers yours (ahem) you’ll still have yours!

-Angie