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Petzl Tikka 2
$20.50 - 35.70

Selecting the right light source

LED stands for light-emitting diode. LEDs are technically not a bulb but a semi-conductor. LEDs provide dim light for 20-100 hours. Due to the low amount of light provided by LEDs, they are often used in sets of 2 to 6 LEDs. Most headlamps that use sets of LEDs permit you to regulate how many of the bulbs are illuminated at one time. This allows you to save battery power when a bright light is not required. S-LED stands for super LEDs. S-LEDs are considerably brighter than regular LEDs. Some, like the ones on the Petzl Myo XP require 3 watts of power and are approaching the same brightness levels of traditional bulb lights.

When selecting an LED light also look for a battery regulation feature. In an unregulated LED light, the light's power decays exponentially with a loss in battery power. If you look at headlamps such as Petzl's Myo XP, Myo 5 or Princeton Tech's Apex, their lights have an extended curve that allows for more usuable light for a longer period of time.

When selecting the right bulb consider how long you want the light to last. Typically the brighter the bulb, the more power they consume.

Halogen - provides a bright but yellow toned light. A halogen lamp is an incandescent lamp where a tungsten filament is sealed into a compact transparent envelope filled with an inert gas, plus a small amount of halogen such as iodine or bromine. The halogen cycle prevents darkening of the bulb. The halogen lamp can operate its filament at a higher temperature than in a standard gas filled lamp of similar wattage without loss of operating life. This gives it a higher efficacy (10-30%). It also gives light of a higher color temperature compared to a non-halogen incandescent lamp.

Krypton - Provides a whiter light than halogen.

Xenon - Colorless, orderless, gas used in a gas discharge lamp to produce white light. Brighter than Halogen, Krypton and LEDs for less power than a halogen.

Multi-Bulb Headlamps
Many headlamps include multiple bulbs. A popular combination is a Xenon bulb and multiple LEDs. This allows you to use the bright Xenon bulb for looking long distances and the battery conserving LEDs for reading the map as well as setting up camp.

Light Weight
LEDs are still the ultimate solution for those who enjoy light weight backpacking. LEDs can operate off of 2 or 3 AAA batteries helping to lower weight as well. Headlamps including the Petzl Tika weigh as little as 2 ounces.

External Battery Pack
Most headlamp battery packs are attached to your head. Headlamps designed for extremely cold weather offer external battery packs. This allows you to place the batteries in your jacket or pants to keep them warm as batteries do not operate well in cold temperatures.

Tiltable Headlamps
Tiltable headlamps allow you to direct the light exactly where you need it. This is particularly useful when attaching a headlamp to a helmet because the fixed angle on most lights is too high for rappelling down cliffs.
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