Summary of Specifications
The Petzl Tikka Plus headlamp weighs 2.54 oz (72 g) with 3xAAA batteries. It is a 4-LED headlamp with batteries in the lamp housing (front). The headband is a single wrap-style elastic band. A version with similar features and electronics, but with a retractable cord headband, is also offered (the ‘Zipka Plus’ model).
The Tikka Plus improves on the old model Tikka by offering three brightness modes plus one 60 cycles/min strobe mode. A push-button switch toggles between modes, and is designed to be operated with your index finger (it lies on top of the lamp housing) while you pinch the housing with your thumb and index finger. The switch is easily operable with bare hands and thin glove liners. We were able to access it and use it with ski gloves, but not with winter mittens.
Changing the battery is performed by depressing a molded male fitting in the lamp housing, no easy chore with cold fingers.
The Tikka Plus has a pivoting head that is easily operated with one hand but its ratchet makes a racket that excludes this lamp from the kit of anyone who enjoys their peace and quiet in nature.
With fresh batteries at room temperature, the Petzl Tikka Plus (with electronics similar to the Zipka Plus) has an initial center-of-beam brightness on its high setting of 259 lux at a distance of 2 feet (more than 50% brighter than its 3-LED little sister, the Petzl Tikka), falling off to 13 lux at 1 foot off the beam’s center. On its medium setting, the Tikka Plus has a center-of-beam brightness of 133 lux.
In our cold conditions test (center-of-beam brightness at 38 °F), the Zipka’s lighting power at its highest brightness setting was 252 lux at 0 hours (fresh batteries), 75 lux at 8 hours, and 12 lux at 24 hours. At its medium brightness setting, corresponding brightness levels were 110 lux (0 hours), 57 lux (8 hours), and 26 lux (24 hours).
The Tikka Plus is Petzl’s most powerful 3xAAA headlamp. It is a solid performer, even under cold conditions, and thus, is appropriate for short range trail navigation as well as task lighting. With fresh batteries, the Tikka Plus casts a beam with good flood quality that is bright enough for off-trail navigation or moutaineering.
The Tikka Plus’ primary weakness is the difficulty in changing batteries in cold conditions. In addition, Petzl might be wise to address the noisy ratcheting head pivot, which can be reengineered for smoother operation.
The Petzl Tikka Plus is an excellent performer. Its beam quality, brightness, feature set, and cold weather performance are all impressive considering its small form factor.
We had a difficult time selecting a Trail’s Best Award for a headlamp in this class. Two lamps in particular had great performance with multiple lighting modes: the Princeton Tec Aurora and the Petzl Tikka Plus. The Petzl Tikka Plus, with an additional LED, had an initial light intensity with fresh batteries in cold conditions that was nearly 50% greater than that of the Aurora. However, for cold weather usability, the Aurora earned the edge. The Tikka Plus’ noisy and rough ratchet, battery compartment that was nearly impossible to open with cold fingers, and tiny button were its only (albeit minor) blemishes. However, the performance of the Tikka Plus is excellent, and it deserves an honorable mention as a Trail’s Best Award finalist.