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If you spend much time under a car or inside equipment cases, it’s just a matter of time before you finally give in to your inner geek and try a headworn flashlight.  You’ll quickly discover that they’re sweet — if you get a good one.

After all the interest lately in inexpensive LED lighting, Stuey wrote in to tell us about Petzl’s headworn lamps — what he considers the best ones made because of their quality materials and solid build.  And his favorite Petzl?  The Zipka Plus, pictured above.

It features a retractable wire head strap, and it’s four-LED array can be set to three intensities (high, medium, and low) and even to strobe via presses of its one-button control.  It runs on three AAA batteries and weighs only 2.3 ounces including batteries.  This is important because heavy headlamps suck.  Trust us.

Street pricing starts around $40, and the best place to find it locally is via REI — the outdoor adventure store.  You can find it online via quite a few vendors as well.

Note: Sorry for no manufacturer link, but the Petzl site is confusing as hell and we couldn’t find the direct product link there.

Bill says: “The ones with elastic headbands are not only bulky, but they tend to get wrapped around just about everything.  In start contrast, the Zipka doesn’t wrap itself around anything when it your toolbox, but can easily be placed around your head, wrist, shoulder, a pipe, the handlebars of your bike, etc.  It also sitis nicely on the workbench.”

Street Pricing [Froogle]
Via Amazon [What’s this?]


14 Responses to Petzl Headlamps: The Cadillac of Geeky Flashlights

  1. Rick says:

    *sigh* so lazy 🙂

    Here’s that manufacturer’s link:

  2. Myself says:

    Another vote for the Zipka. Several of my friends have recommended it to me as well. If I can avoid the Liteflux LF1 that’s calling my name, I’ll end up with a Zipka. And really, I have enough 1xAA and 2xAA lights, don’t I?

    My favorite head-mounted light isn’t really head-mounted, it’s the Fluke LVD1 which I just clip to the brim of my hat. Aww heck, I should write that up. Stand by. 😉

  3. Rob says:

    I don’t have the Zipka but I do have it’s brother, the Tikka Plus. That little wire thing didn’t appeal to me but the rest is the same.


  4. Rob says:

    Upon closer inspection, there is one difference. You can adjust the angle on the Tikka. Definitely a good thing.

  5. Roscoe says:

    I’ve been looking for a good quality headlamp for duck-hunting, and the Petzl’s look like the right brand. There are dozens on the website though- how did you guys figure out which model to buy? They all look very similar to me.

  6. Bill says:

    I have been meaning to submit this exact product for a while. The retractable head strap is the best feature. I have a few headlamps that I use for my outdoor adventures. The ones with elastic headbands are not only bulky, but they tend to get wrapped around just about everything. In stark contrast, the Zipka doesn’t wrap itself around anything when in your toolbox, but can easily be placed around your head, wrist, shoulder, a pipe, the handlebars of your bike, etc, etc. It also sits nicely on the workbench.

  7. nx99 says:

    I’ve had the Tikka Plus for the last three years and don’t have a problem with the headband. I tie it to one of the straps on my backpack and down the road I goes.

    Highly recommended.

  8. Don Bradshaw says:

    I kind of look at all of these headlamps as pretty much the same with just different features. I used the TACTIKKA Plus in Iraq as a signal lamp and as a replacement to the old issued flashlight for night reading (it has the red filter on it). That has the three light version, while this one has four. At night those three lights were pretty impressive without the filter on, so I would imageine four would do an even better job. These are much better than the cheaper versions…well worth the extra cash.

  9. Cybergibbons says:

    I carry a Zipka Plus as my everyday torch. I like using it for camping too, you can move the little cord holder round to the side of your head and use it when you are reading in your tent without it being uncomfortable. It does leave a silly looking line on you though.

  10. Will Wong says:

    I’ve used the original and plus version on the Ziptka ever since they came out for work. I’m a HVAC contractor and zip it to a strap on my tool bag. Great light output, incredibly small, and most importantly, the headband doesn’t absorb much sweat. When I’m sweating a storm up, the standard headlands for the Tikka, etc… would get nasty after a couple of uses.

  11. Stuey says:

    While the Tikka Plus can be pivoted, the Zipka Plus can be repositioned on one’s forehead to attain the same effect.

    The non-plus versions have 3 LEDs instead of 4, and an on-off sliding switch. The “plus” versions have a more durable button switch, 4 LEDs, and different brightness settings.

    The Tactikka is similar, but comes with a red filter instead of a clear one. I believe you can purchase a filter kit for the Zipka or Tikka as well. If you don’t want to spend too much cash, the Tikka non-plus version is available at some stores for $20.

    FYI, the Tikka Plus is available via an amazon retailer for $23. Amazon seems to be having supply issues since many of the popular Petzl models are out of stock and “available for preorder”.


  12. Vito Culotta says:

    If you want great info on flashlights and head lights, I goto http://www.flashlightreviews.com/. The guy there does a bang up job of working the lights over and giving biased reviews of lights.

  13. MT says:

    I’ve had a Zipka (old version) for 5 years and love it. It’s not in as good shape as it used to be, but still work plenty-fine for me. I just wish that these things had voltage regulators so that you could use NiMH rechargeables without it becoming much, much dimmer than with alkalines. (The NiMHs put out a lower voltage than alkalines.) I assume that the newer ones have the same problem.

  14. Stephen K says:

    I’ve used the tikka, tikka plus, and the zipka plus. I really like the tikka plus for night hiking and rock climbing, but I can definitely see the zipka’s advantage in the toolbox for not getting tangled.

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