Petzl presents a new headlamp that can be described as disruptive in its design and functions. The list of great ideas is long and its use in the field, whether in mountaineering, trail running or trekking is remarkable.
This Petzl Iko Core design is instantly intriguing. When you first use it, it is not quite clear how to put it on and many of the testers put it on upside down. All you have to do is respect the horizontal reading direction of the Petzl logos and memorize the position of the on/off lighting button, which is located underneath the light.
Petzl’s stroke of genius is replacing the traditional elastic headband (subject to deformation, aging, humidity) with a band made from hydrophobic, semi-rigid and shape memory material. The battery connection is inside, and is completely hidden, and protected. An elasticated adjustment system is on the battery pack, so you can adjust the headband when it’s on your head, hat or Petzl helmet (other brands don’t have the two support ends).
This is a rear battery pack whose balance is remarkable. You don’t feel the weight of the battery or the inertia of the lamp on your forehead. The whole thing weighs 79g with the rechargeable battery and 90g with three AAA batteries. This is also one of the big advantages of this lamp, you can use standard batteries. The battery can be recharged quickly using a micro USB socket. The charge indicator is on the battery.
Let’s continue with the list of the many positive points. Beyond its original design, it’s very controlled light weight, the Petzl Iko Core has the on/off button located underneath the led lights. At last! Because the natural hand action is always to look to turning on a headlamp with your thumb underneath; it is more ergonomic, and we use more force. With other headlamps, it’s the opposite: you press with your less powerful index finger, and you are always searching for the button.
Operating the Petzl Iko Core is very simple: two beams and three light levels. Each time you press the button, you switch from one to the other. You lock everything by pressing the button for three seconds.
We particularly liked the well-diffused, very white light. You can of course, vertically orient the seven LEDs pad. This pad is surprising because it is very thin but has maximum efficiency. The Petzl Iko Core has 500 lumens and a range of 80 meters. At medium power, you get nine hours of battery life compared to two and a half hours at maximum power. Trail runners who like to run long hours at maximum power will opt for another model. For others, running with the Petzl Iko Core is a real pleasure (combo balance/light weight).
The Petzl Iko Core unsurprisingly adopts the IPX4 standard, it is not sensitive to knocks and humidity. We used it caving, and it held up. But like any lamp like this, we do not recommend immersion. The semi-rigid battery compartment closing cover is also one of the four downsides concerning this lamp: its appearance is a bit cheap and its adjustment could be more precise (in order to be absolutely certain that the lamp is waterproof) . The other point concerns the semi-rigid headband which, if you tighten the adjustment elastics a little too much, very quickly feels uncomfortable. The third point concerns the relative size of the lamp, which rolls into a ball to be stuffed into the upper pocket of a bag: even if the band is semi-rigid (or semi-flexible), it ultimately takes up a little more space than a traditional elastic band. Finally, and is just a detail, the white material tends to turn yellow quite quickly.
The Petzl Iko Core is a very smart lamp because it can be worn around your neck while maintaining good stability (the semi-rigid rear structure plays its role well) and above all an effective lighting capacity: the LED pad can be oriented. Note, at full power the LEDs heat up, you can feel it even more when you wear the headlamp around your neck. The real surprise is when you place the headlamp like a desk lamp! Here we say bravo to the designers! It’s super practical in a bivouac, or when traveling in shabby hotels. All you have to do is tighten the adjustment elastic and position the headlamp vertically: it stands upright on its frame – like a cobra! But that’s not all, if you place the Petzl Iko Core storage bag on the LEDs, i.e. a translucent envelope, you have a lantern: top class for a bivouac.
Last but not least, we very much liked the cardboard packaging in order to reduce its environmental impact.
The Petzl Iko Core combines quality and great ideas. In addition to being light and ergonomic, it offers quality lighting for all outdoor activities. Its astonishing design combines clean lines with unusual features: the headlamp transforms into a bedside lamp and lantern for bivouacing. It fully deserves the Test4outside.com FIRST award.
Discover all the other Petzl products tested here.
We used this equipment over a long period of time
These are our thoughts after intensive use:
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