Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $60
Pros: Four different colored lens diffusers.
Cons: Expensive, based on an outdated model with lower performance than rest of Tikka line.
Best Uses: Reading at night, hunting, stargazing, fishing.
The Tactikka has two stand out features: a camo headband and casing, and four different diffuser screens. This is the only light we tested that gives you the option to emit red, green, blue and white light. However, unless you really need those two features mentioned above, the Tactikka did not score well, especially not for a headlamp that costs $60. It's based on the the original model of the Tikka line that had less powerful lighting compare the second generation Tikka lights. Considering that most headlamps that costs more than $30 now have a red light mode, it's hard to justify the Tactikka unless you really want those blue and green modes. We would much rather have the Petzl Tikka XP 2 that scored higher in every category and costs $5 less. While you can't get it in camo, it does come in black. Or we would get the Black Diamond Spot that also has the red light mode, performs even higher and costs $40. The Spot comes in cammo and black.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A 6 of 10 score is respectable, but not that great for a headlamp the cost $60. Compare it with the Black Diamond Spot in the beam comparison below and you will see just how much better the less expensive Spot is.
The beam pattern in the close proximity test was fairly spotty. Surprisingly, the Petzl Tikkina 2 at a third the cost, scored higher. See below how the very even beam from the Spot is in stark contrast to the spotty Tactikka.
Battery life scored a 6 of 10: not bad. Then again, many of the other Petzl Tikka models and that Tikkina scored higher. The 10.9 hour ANSI high beam score is about double the Spot. However, this is largely because the Tactikka does not have a very bright high beam mode. Read more about this and the ANSI standard in the Headlamp Review. The claimed low beam time of 120 hours is well behind the Spot with a 200 hour claimed low beam run time.
We measured the high beam distance at 37 meters, is half that of the Spot at 70 meters. The Coast HL7, by comparison, shined a massive 128 meters.
This is a compact headlamp, but it's not all that light. It is the heaviest headlamp we tested in the Tikka line at 97 grams. The XP 2 is 88 grams and the Spot is 93 grams.
Ease of Use
This is the lowest scoring Tikka headlamp for ease of use. Unlike the rest of the Tikka line that uses one easy-to-operate button, the Tactikka uses tiny buttons that are harder to navigate through. This headlamp is difficult to use with gloves.
This headlamp is designed for hunters and fishermen who want the green and blue lens shades.
There are so many great headlamps for $40 that have much better optics, battery life and ease of use that we can't recommend the Tactikka as a good value. You could buy the Editors' Choice Black Diamond Spot and the Petzl Tikkina 2, both of which scored higher, for the same price.
The only reason to get this headlamp is if you really need the green and blue filters. There are so many other headlamps that come with a red light filter, including our Editors' Choice, the Black Diamond Spot. The Spot scored the same or higher in every category, has much better optics, comes in a camo color and cost $20 less. Perhaps if Petzl updated the Tactikka to share the same beam qualities as the Tikka XP 2 and the rest of the second generation Tikka line, we could get behind this light. Until then, there is a stark contrast between the first generation Tikka technology the Tactikka uses and the rest of the Tikka headlamps.
— RJ Spurrier and Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 13, 2014
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