Petzl Actik Core review

What makes a good head torch?

A good head torch for camping and walking needs to be durable, reasonably waterproof, and as light as possible – without compromising strength.

It is very desirable to have a selection of brightness settings to allow the minimum necessary brightness for the situation. This preserves battery life and reduces night vision loss.

It needs to take easily available batteries.

The Petzl Actik Core 450 ticks all these boxes.

What’s special about the Actik Core?

The distinguishing feature of the Actik Core is its ability to take both AAA batteries and be rechargeable. The rechargeable battery is removable. Whilst charging, you can have AAAs in the torch for continued use.

You could even buy a second rechargeable battery.

This flexibility makes it a totally reliable light source that is very economical to run. You save a lot of money on batteries, but don’t lose the security and convenience of being able to use AAAs if needed.

This is the main reason I bought this head torch and I haven’t regretted it.

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Specification

  • Brightness: 450 lumens (ANSI/PLATO FL 1)
  • Weight: 75 g
  • Beam pattern: flood or mixed
  • Energy: 1250 mAh CORE rechargeable battery (included)
  • Charging time: 3 h
  • Battery compatibility: alkaline, lithium or Ni-MH rechargeable
  • Certification(s): CE
  • Watertightness: IPX4 (weather-resistant)

The full specification can be found on Petzl’s website.

Is the Petzl Actik core waterproof?

The Petzl Actik Core is not waterproof. However, it is rated as IPX4, which means it is “safe from spraying water”. That means water resistant to you and me.

I’ve had no issues with water ingress, even in pouring rain for long periods. I would not want to submerge the torch though : it is not sealed.

How bright is the Petzl Actik Core

There are 3 white light settings…

6 lumens, the lowest setting, is pretty dim and is ideal for situations where you don’t want to spoil your night vision too much. I use this when stealth camping or reading. It’s not really sufficient for walking safely on rough ground. The real advantage of this setting is the 130 hour battery life.

100 Lumens, the medium setting, is what I use most of the time. It’s the sweet spot of battery consumption and brightness. Tha battery should last 8 hours on this setting.

450 Lumens is the super-bright setting. The battery will only last for 2 hours on this setting so you need to be careful where you use it. It is very easy to flatten the battery on this setting. I mainly use it for quick bursts when I need to check something out at a distance.

Reserve power keeps you safe.

There is a brilliant reserve power mode on the Actik Core. Think of it as a reserve tank of light.

When the battery gets down to 10% of its capacity, it will switch in to low-power mode which is pretty dim, but it will last for another 2 hours in 100 lumen mode or 3 hours in 450 lumen mode.

In reality, you would be better off slipping in that spare set of AAA batteries that you smartly bought with you.

How do you use Petzl Actik core?

Using the Petzl Actik Core, revolves around the one big rubbery button on the top. You push it once to set it into dim mode, twice for 100 lumen mode, and 3 times for 450 lumen super-bright mode. You can continue cycling through these 3 modes.

A few seconds after you stop cycling, you can make a long push on the button to switch off the head torch.

After it is out of cycling mode, it’s not possible to change the mode, other than by switching off. You will need to switch the head torch off and on again to cycle through the modes again, in the normal way.

With the Actik Core switched off, a long push of the button will put it into red mode and a second push will make the red light flash. You can cycle these as above.

It’s all a bit confusing on paper, but after a few minutes of playing around, it becomes clear.

There is an extremely useful function of locking the light off for travel. If you hold the button for 4 seconds, it will lock it off. Requiring another 4 second push to reactivate it again. That’s not likely to happen in your bag.

How to install the Petzl Actik Core battery?

To install the battery, just flip open the battery cover and the battery just slots in. It’s just like 3 AAA batteries stuck together. Alternatively, you can fit 3 AAA batteries in the same slot.

How to charge the Petzl Actik core?

Charging the torch is via a standard micro USB lead, which means you can charge it with any USB charger. You can either leave the battery in the torch or remove it whilst charging.

If the battery is in the torch, and charging, the lid needs to be open. It is not possible to use the head torch in this mode.

If you remove the battery, you can temporarily use AAA batteries.

Does the Petzl Actik Core come with a battery?

The Actik Core comes with a rechargeable battery, which makes it very good value. The expense of the torch is easily saved by not having to buy lots of AAA batteries in the future. You can buy a second or replacement battery if you like

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How long does the Petzl Actik Core battery last?

There are 3 different brightness settings and a red lamp which will strobe. The battery life varies across the different brightnesses.

How long does a Petzl Actik Core battery take to charge?

It will take around 3 hours to charge the battery from completely flat.

The headband

The headband is comfortable and easily adjustable. But it has one downside – it comes loose after you have taken it off and put it on a few times. This is a minor point and common to many head torches.

The strap is reflective, which is an excellent safety feature but is not ideal for stealth camping.

A small emergency whistle is housed in the adjuster buckle, which is a nice touch. It’s pretty loud, but not a substitute for a full-size one.

How long does a Petzl headlamp last?

Guaranteed for 2 years, or 300 charge cycles, the battery will have a good life. The red and white lamps are both guaranteed for 5 years.

What is the difference between the Petzl Actik and Actik core?

The Actik is a 350 Lumen head torch that takes AAA batteries only.

The Actik Core is a 450 Lumen head torch that takes AAA batteries or a removable, USB rechargeable, battery.

Where are Petzl headlamps made?

Petzl is a French company.

Conclusion

The 3 light intensities and that 1250 mAh rechargeable

battery, add up to make a very versatile and powerful head torch.

I have owned and researched a lot of head torches, but this one is the winner by a long way. It costs little to run, lasts for ages, and is the brightest headlamp I’ve ever used. What’s not to love?

You can buy one on Amazon:

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