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Premier Gear: 2016 Petzl Reactive Headlamps

Intelligent Performance To Light Your Way

Petzl Reactive Headlamps

It’s been four years since Petzl first wowed the outdoor industry with the NAO, their first headlamp to use Reactive Lighting Technology.

Touted by Petzl–and recognized by Popular Science’s 25th Annual Best of What’s New award–as a highly innovative step forward for lighting athletes’ ways in dynamic, challenging conditions, the NAO and other headlamps in Petzl’s Reactive line quickly became sought after by many in the outdoor space for their impressive battery life, ease of use, and proven performance.

What is Reactive Technology?

Utilizing a sensor on the front of the headlamp that reads the amount of ambient light in any given setting, Petzl’s reactive technology automatically tweaks the headlamp’s brightness and beam pattern to fit what’s happening in front of you.

This feature means that there won’t be any fiddling or fussing about with your headlamp once it’s on your head. It also means that battery life is lengthened considerably, as the headlamp is never on full blast for a consistent amount of time.

In fact, Petzl says that the burn time for their newest additions to the Reactive lineup, the Nao+ and Reactik+ are 12 hours and 10 hours, respectively, when you have them set to max autonomy. The Petzl Reactik, also out this season, will also last for 12 hours when set to max autonomy.

Best uses for Reactive Technology

Trail running on uneven terrain, casting your eyes about to find your next footfall? A reactive Petzl headlamp will switch to a mixed flood and focused beam pattern with an ideal amount of brightness to see the contours and details of the ground. Staring into the darkness of the trail when you’re heading back to your campsite? The high-powered spot beam will switch on, allowing you to see a great distance ahead.

Reactive technology can be seen as a game-changer, for sure. But there are times that the sensor can work against you–near a campfire, say, or in heavy snowfall. The sensor isn’t perfect, and some users have reported annoying flickering when snow or inconsistent light passes by the sensor and confuses its depth of perception.

There is an easy fix for such situations, however, and that is simply changing the lighting mode to CONSTANT. It’s the best of both worlds! Not only can you utilize the reactive technology for nearly every situation, in the very few where it isn’t ideal, the headlamps easily transition to a traditional, ultra-bright (the Reactik+ is rated to 200 lumens at max power) light.

What’s new for 2016: Bluetooth Connectivity

The updated line of Reactive Headlamps that Petzl is releasing this season–namely the Reactik+ and NAO+–are taking technological innovation in lighting to the next step–bluetooth connectivity with your smartphone. Using the MyPetzl Light App, you can set up your headlamp to 5 predefined lighting profiles: Trail running, trekking, mountaineering , bivouac (an in-camp profile), and multi-activity.

You can also see exactly the amount of battery life you have left using the app and adjust the brightness and beam pattern of the headlamp on the fly.

The different sport profiles have different burn times set dependent on how long the activity lasts, as well as differing levels of brightness and beam patterns based on the activity–the bivouac profile will be be considerably less bright and utilize the flood beam pattern to provide good, close-range lighting–while the trekking profile will generally use a bright spot beam in order to see as far ahead in the distance as possible.

Petzl has once again asserted themselves as a true innovator in outdoor technology with the Reactik+. It’s sophisticated reactive features and its ability to be finely tuned–via bluetooth–by the user are sure to be lauded and utilized by scores of athletes when the sun goes down on their adventures.

Shop the Petzl Reactik Here!


Published:July 20, 2016

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