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May 2023 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Headlamps

Petzl Actik 450



Our Rating:

Best for trampers seeking a jack-of-all-trades headlamp

Plusses: Versatile, comfortable, rechargeable battery, diffusive carry pouch 
Minuses: Battery life, water resistance 

450 lumens / 100m range / 98g

Features: The updated and improved Actik has three white light modes (max 450 lumens, min 7 lumens), with continuous and strobe red lighting. Battery life ranges from two to 120hr depending on mode, and a battery indicator shows the charge remaining when the lamp is switched on or off. Petzl’s ‘Hybrid’ technology allows the lamp to run on three AAA batteries, or Petzl’s ‘Core’ USB rechargeable battery (sold separately). A single on/off button cycles through the light modes, and there’s a lock function for safe transit.

A plate swivels the lamp up and down by degrees with several clicks, or, when shifted forwards, it rotates 360 degrees for battery access.

A phosphorescent reflector helps to locate the lamp in the dark, and a diffusive carry pouch creates an effective lantern. The headband is detachable for washing.

Comfort: The elastic headband is comfortable and secure, and with both adjustment buckles at the rear, there are no pressure points or plastic against the ears. Adjustment during use is easy while the headlamp is on. It’s not the most comfortable headlamp I have worn, but I have no complaints.

In use: For most trampers, this lamp will fall into the Goldilocks zone – bright enough for occasional spotting at max power, red light capability and a decent battery life to last over a multi-day tramp. The white light casts an impressively wide beam, capable of lighting a small room, and the red light has improved brightness compared to older Petzl models – good for nocturnal wildlife spotters.

The phosphorescent reflector is an excellent addition and ensures users won’t have to fumble blind for their torch at night.

The tilt plate is sturdy, and the lamp doesn’t drop forwards of its own accord, even with vigorous head movements. The large single-button control is intuitive, and the headlamp will ‘reboot’ in the last used mode (white or red) when switched off and on. Rated to IPX4, it stands up to drizzle. 

Value: For its output and features, the Actik is reasonably priced. A five-year guarantee adds further value. 

Verdict: Offering excellent features and comfort, this is a reliable and versatile headlamp for trampers.