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November 2020 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Headlamps

Petzl Iko Core



Our Rating:

At a glance
Plusses: Lightweight, comfort, powerful, long runtime, rechargeable.
Minuses: Expensive, lacks red-light feature.

Petzl Iko Core
$199, 100m range, 79g

Features: It has a super-flexible and bendy patent-pending AirFit headband and a rechargeable Petzl Core battery (but can also run on three AAAs). There’s no night-vision saving red light but there are three brightness settings: 500, 100 and six-lumen. It has a run time of 2.5hr on high (9.5hr at 100-lumen, 100hr at six-lumen) and a maximum range of 100m. It comes with a carry pouch that can also be used to create ambient light in the tent or hut. 

Fit: The AirFit headband is unusual, but it cradles the head nicely and because it’s so light wearer’s quickly forget it’s being worn. The fit can be adjusted by a single quick-release pull-cord at the rear. 

Comfort: A headlamp this light is always going to be comfortable. I wore it for a couple of hours on the trot without any discomfort, although, I felt, it could have been even more comfortable with a soft backing on the lamp to reduce pressure-aches on the forehead. 

In use: It’s one of the most stable headlamps I’ve ever used. A low-profile lamp, rear-mounted battery pack and snug headband ensure it doesn’t bounce or move one iota when in use. I imagine runners might find it particularly useful.

It’s also extremely simple: glove-friendly single button operation cycles through the three light modes. There are no additional functions or light dimming abilities to worry about. However, I did find it annoying that the light always switched on in the lowest six-lumen light setting rather than the last-used light.

I mostly used the light at 100-lumens and found this adequate for all tasks and night walking. The 500-lumen light is incredibly bright and lights up everything around.

That the rechargeable Core battery can be switched with AAAs is super useful – though performance drops with the AAAs to a max output of 300 lumens and run time of 2hr.

I really liked the versatility of the headlamp – being able to stuff it into the carry pouch for ambient lighting is an excellent feature.

Not having a red-light to preserve night-vision is something I missed. 

Value: It’s simple but expensive due to its unique construction and powerful lamp. That the Core battery is rechargeable and offers a long usable runtime (9.5hr at 100-lumens) somewhat makes up for the price. 

Verdict: Super bright, simple-to-use and with a long battery life, it’s a headlamp for heavy users who don’t need the frilly extras like dimming or red night-lights.