At the start of this year, I bought a Petzl headlamp in Shinjuku. It was certainly billed as the bees-knees, with a price to match. But during the first night-hike I was disappointed by the weakness of the light, so went to the local J-mart hardware store and bought a torch for a third of the price that does a better job.
Here’s the comparison:
Gentos Rigel Petzl
Model GTR-031T TikkaPlus
Cost (Amazon) 1710 4488
Self-weight 64g 43g
Batteries 24g (Tan3 x 1) 39g (Tan4 x 3)
Lumens 26.6 35
Beam distance 48m 32m
(= full moon brightness)
Why do I like the cheap one? If you’ve ever hiked in mist or drizzle in the dark, you’ll know why. The Petzl headlamp casts a strong reflective glare against the water particles in front of your eyes, making it difficult to see. Furthermore, the Petzl beam is more diffuse, and in mist, is useless for picking out rocks onto which to place your feet.
The Rigel fits neatly into the palm of the hand, weighs almost the same with batteries, and with its genuine Nichia white single LED, casts a long beam. It also has a handy wrist-strap, which stops you dropping the thing. I love it and now use the Petzl only as a backup. And to escape dog-haters in the upcoming Northern Alps, it’s going to get a lot of use!
You can buy it on amazon.co.jp
Disclaimer – you do not want a handtorch if you’re going up a frozen waterfall at night with two iceaxes in your hands…