The reports have just come in of five skiers dying in an avalanche in Austria. This is just the latest news on this front from what looks like another bad season. The incident took place in the Wattental valley, Tirol, and reports indicate that those involved had ignored warnings. The Guardian paper reported that: The experienced […]
Forgive me if I get a little too excited about headlamps, but I really do find that they are such essential pieces of mountaineering gear that I usually end up owning a whole bunch. You may by now have figured out that I am a huge fan of Petzl and love their range of small lights such as the Tikka XP and its bigger brother the MYO XP which I have reviewed elsewhere.
Anyhow, to cut a long story short, one of my Petzl lights went walkabout and it was a good enough excuse for me to start looking for another. I was set on the new Tikka XP2 but I happened to be in Zurich, Switzerland recently and wandered into a Mammut store. Now I’m also a huge fan of Mammut, because this really is high quality Swiss gear made for people who spend a lot of their time out in the mountains and who also know quality. After drooling quite a bit over all kinds of gear I set upon the Mammut Lucido TXlite headlamp.
Now this is an obvious competitor to the Tikka XP2 since both are relatively small and light headlamps with LED lights, various modes and integrated small battery compartments that fit on the front of the head. I couldn’t resist and bought one and this is an initial review with some thoughts on how it compares with the Tikka.
Comparing the Tikka2 and Lucido TXlite
If one just looks at published data on both lights it is pretty clear that they are in a similar range. On high power the Mammut headlamp will throw out a beam of light to just over 40m and at this power setting it has a claimed battery life of 80 hours (remember in all of these tests the light output is with a new battery – it will drop off quite sharply as the hours go by).
The Tikka XP2 has a somewhat stronger beam and claims 60 meters of range with an 80 hours battery life on its full setting.
- The economic (or low power setting) on the Lucido cuts the range to 21 meters and gives a life of about 130 hours. That is also not quite as good as the claimed figures on the Petzl headlamp, which says it gives a 17meter beam with a battery life of 160 hours. So 1 point goes to Petzl for the longer maximum range.
- When it comes to weight both are in the same class with such a small difference that it will be barely noticed. The Lucido weighs 72g and the Tikka XP2 about 10g more. Either way you can have these in a pocket or bag and they are so light you forget they are there. But since we’re scoring, 1 point to the Mammut light.
- In terms of features both have various power modes as well as a flashing mode for emergency signalling. Your most likely use for it is in fact going to be when cycling as there is nothing that tells cars on the road that you are coming like a bright light flashing on your head. The Tikka XP edges ahead slightly in that it also has the option of a red light, which can be useful if you want to preserve your night vision but need to check a map. It also has a really useful flip down light diffuser. This looks fiddly and is potentially a weak spot, but in use it is great as it really spread out the light for close up work or just reading in the tent. You can get an add-on light diffuser for the Mammut that turns it into a sort of general tent or table-top lamp but it is big and not built in. So another point goes to Petzl.
- When it comes to ease of use both are similar in that they cycle through the modes with repeated presses on the button. Strangely the one cycles from brightest to least bright and the other goes the other way. I’m not sure which I prefer. The Petzl is also slightly more intelligent in that once you have selected a light level and then press the button again (after a little pause) it will switch off. The Mammut continues to cycle, which I find mildly irritating.
- The Mammut also requires a different sort of key press to go into flashing mode. I like that but it could be difficult to find if you don’t know how to do it, which is not really what you want in an emergency signalling device. The last big feature is the lock and on this score the Mammut wins hands down. It has a little lever that closes off the switch. In fact, it shuts it down so well that in pitch dark I’ve struggled to find it to open it back up to turn on the light. That is an irritation but it gives me real confidence that this light will not come on in my pack and run down its batteries. It also keeps it out of the hands of my 3-year-old boy who, I suspect, was responsible for my Petzl lamp going walkabout. His little fingers just can’t move the safety catch. On that score alone I would be willing to vote for the Mammut Lucido TXlite and think that it will become my usual headlamp for hiking and mountaineering.
- That said I still love Petzl and would heartily recommend both headlamps. Either will provide a solid and reliable light with good optics and electronics and both are made by solid companies with good reputations for quality. I know it is a copout not recommending one or the other after this comparative review, but both are great and will easily do the job.