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Survival Gear Review: Petzl Tactikka Headlamps

The folks at Survival Cache recently asked my opinion and a review of headlight gear they carry online at the Forge Survival Supply store.   I was honored to give my humble opinion on a product that I personally use and would freely endorse.

By Bama Bull, a reader of

During my time in the Army, I served in the infantry and Special Forces.   One of the things I learned is that your gear has to be petzl flashlight reviewrugged enough to withstand a lot of abuse and the weather conditions where you use it.  The other key issue is weight – which can and will have an impact on survival and mission accomplishment.  I learned a long time ago that 60 pounds of lightweight gear is still 60 pounds.  So anywhere I can cut weight or bulk – I do.

This review is on the Petzl Tactikka Plus and Petzl Tactikka XP

Petzl Tactikka Plus

I have a Petzl Tactikka Plus (in black) that I keep in my get-home-bag (GHB) which I take along when traveling on business or vacation trips.  The Petzl Tactikka Plus is a little smaller and lighter than the XP and I carry it for a different set of reasons.

The small compact size allows it to fit with two sets of AAA batteries in a small pocket in my GHB and the black body and headbandpetzl flashlight review color helps it to be less noticeable in an urban or survival environment.  It does have three brightness levels, a flasher mode for distress, and a flip up red filter.  The light has 4 LEDs set as a floodlight (no spotlight) with a limited set of light ranges.  It works well for my travel purposes, since I can read books with the red filter without have to hold a light and in the “dim or low” mode the light is not so bright to disturb others.  While the light from this model is not as bright as the other Petzl lights or the XP, the batteries do last for an incredibly long duration depending on the mode being used.  In the economy (low) mode a set of batteries will last up to 150 hours or put another way for 15 nights at 10 hour use a night.  If I’m ever in a SHTF situation where I have a long ways to travel to get home, I want an efficient light that will give me the longest burn time for the batteries I have on-hand.


* Hands free use with integrated headband.

* Uses 3AAA alkaline or NiMH rechargeable batteries.

* 4 LED lights and no blubs to break or replace.

* Unit weight: 1.5 ounces (43g); with batteries 2.8 ounces (78g).

* 3 light output levels and a flasher mode.

* Long battery life; up to 150 hours.

* Water resistant (not waterproof).

* Adjustable 45 degrees of tilt to aim beam.

* 3-year product guarantee from Petzl.


* The PT-P is made with plastic and could be broken.

* The light beam is a flood light and doesn’t project as far.

Petzl Tactikka XP

For my bug-out bag (or BOB), I use the more powerful Tactikka XP headlamp with a brightness up to 40 lumens.  Similar to the petzl flashlight reviewTactikka Plus, it also has 3 light levels and a flash mode; but, it also has a “Boost” mode of intense light.  The XP has a single high intensity LED that is set as a spotlight and comes with 4 interchangeable colored wide-angle (or flood) lenses.  The colors of the flood lenses are transparent (white), red, green and blue.  The interchangeable flood lenses are made of impact resistant polycarbonate and give the user an added capability for night time hunting, travel or survival situations.  The sliding flood lens allows the user to switch from a focused white light spot beam to a wide-angle beam in a second.

On “boost” mode the XP can projected a bright 40 lumen spotlight beam out to 50 meters (164 feet) for up to 20 seconds.  This is great feature at night if you need to spot or identify an object at a distance.  After 20 seconds an auto switch returns to the last light mode.  This prevents an overheating of the single high intensity LED.  The downside to the boost mode is that it does use more battery power, reducing the overall life of the batteries.  But this capability does have advantages in some situations when you need more light for a positive identification on a target or object at a longer distance.  On normal bright mode the XP projects a beam to 35 meters.

The battery charge indicator light comes on about 5 seconds after the XP is turned on and blinks green.  It changes to orange and then red to warn when the batteries are about 70 percent and 90 percent discharged.  The battery indicator light allows the user to easily keep track of battery life or the need to replenish with fresh batteries.  This a good feature to help prevent light failure if you are about to start a long duration operation using the XP.

Another great feature of the XP is the angle of adjustment when wearing it.  The XP has about 75 degrees of tilt up and down, so petzl flashlight reviewyou can adjust it to comfortable see where you are walking (especially downhill) to viewing upwards if search for objects above eye level.


* Hands free use with integrated headband.

* Spotlight beam allows use as a handheld flashlight.

* Uses 3AAA alkaline or NiMH rechargeable batteries.

* Single high-tech LED light and no blubs to break or replace.

* Weight:  2.2 ounces (62g); with batteries: 3.4 ounces (96g).

* Long battery life, up to 120 hours.

* Water resistant (not waterproof).

* Adjustable 75 degrees of tilt to aim beam.

* 3 light output levels and a flasher mode.

* Light range out to 40 meters

* Battery charge indicator (power remaining).

* 3-year product guarantee from Petzl.


* XP is made with plastic and could be broken.

* The headstrap mounted spare lens holder only holds 1 lens.

* Battery charge indicator blinks while XP is on (may impact OPSEC).

Here is a Petzl provided technical chart on battery life and light performance for the headlights in various modes of operation.


4 LEDs Maximum Optimum Economic
Light quantity: 35 lumens
Battery life: 100 h 120 h 150 h
Distance t=0: 32 m 23 m 15 m
Distance t=0h30: 25 m 20 m 14 m
Distance t=10h00: 15 m 13 m 11 m
Distance t=30h00: 5 m 6 m 9 m



Maximum Optimum Economic
Light quantity:         40 lumens
Battery life: 60 h 80 h 120 h
Distance t=0: 35 m (115 ft) 27 m (88 ft) 18 m (59 ft)
Distance t=0h30: 30 m (98 ft) 25 m (82 ft) 17 m (55 ft)
Distance t=10h00: 20 m (65 ft) 19 m (62 ft) 15 m (49 ft)
Distance t=30h00: 7 m (23 ft) 9 m (29 ft) 13 m (42 ft)


These Petzl lights are well-made lightweight technical marvels that I enjoy using.  Once you own one, it is easy to understand why these are the favorite lights for use by the military and backpackers.  There are cheaper versions out there made by other companies, but the Petzls are proven and have the best reputation!

Petzl Tactikka Plus on Amazon – $45.95 (Click Here)
Petzl Tactikka XP on Amazon – $59.95 (Click Here)

Petzl Tactikka Plus on Forge Survival Supply – $43.95 (Click Here)
Petzl Tactikka XP on Forge Survival Supply – $58.95 (Click Here)

Photos by:
PBLAI 1004

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