Petzl specializes in two categories: vertical environments and headlamps. This isn’t a surprise as the inspiration for the Petzl company began nearly a century ago when Fernand Petzl was exploring the Dent de Crolles in France, one of the deepest known cave systems in the world. Petzl dedicated himself to developing the technical gear required to navigate through a complex and hazardous environment. As decades passed, Petzl’s pioneering innovations reached fruition and now Petzl is the leading manufacturer of technical climbing gear. The Petzl ACTIK Headlamp is just one of many excellent products Petzl has manufactured over the years. The ACTIK doesn’t reinvent the wheel but its design makes it a more practical headlamp that also boasts an ample output of 300 lumens.

Petzl ACTIK Headlamp: Capable of all of your adventuring needs


  • Light output: 300 lumens
  • Weight: 3.25 oz (92 g)
  • Battery: Three AAA batteries (included) or CORE rechargeable battery (available as accessory)
  • Water resistance: IPX4

Lighting performance

Lighting color Lighting modes Brightness Distance Burn time
White MAX AUTONOMY 5 lm 10 m 260 h
STANDARD 100 lm 45 m 60 h
MAX POWER 300 lm 90 m
Red proximity 2 lm 5 m
strobe visible at 700 m for 400 h

Specifications courtesy of Petzl

Petzl ACTIK Headlamp: Capable of all of your adventuring needs

The ACTIK features a red light function which is great for preserving your night vision. For that reason, I recommend a headlamp like this one that doesn’t require you to cycle through a white light to use the red light function. The red and white lights on the ACTIK can be interchanged by holding down the power button. This not only ensures that you won’t accidentally shine your white light but you will maintain your red light function until you deliberately switch back to white. Unfortunately, the ACTIK doesn’t have a blue light function (sorry medical personnel).

Petzl ACTIK Headlamp: Capable of all of your adventuring needs

The buckle on the headband of the ACTIK doubles as an emergency whistle. The whistle is cleverly designed that at first glance you may not even notice it’s there. The integrated whistle doesn’t hinder the operation of the headlamp or cause discomfort so it’s a bonus back-up safety feature to accompany you.

The verdict

The good
-Equipped with an emergency whistle
-High output: 300 lumens
-Competent red light function

The bad
-Not waterproof (though it is water resistant)

There are a lot of headlamps available on the market, but some offer greater advantages than others. The Petzl ACTIK has an MSRP of $49.95 and is a step up from your average headlamp. It actually gives the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp some serious competition. The Black Diamond Spot is my go-to headlamp and I consider it as one of the best ones available for the average user. The Spot offers the same level of light output but is equipped with a battery life indicator, a memory brightness feature, and a completely waterproof design. However, the Spot has complicated controls and can be frustrating for users. The beauty of the ACTIK is efficiency and simplicity, it has everything most users would need and it’s easy to use. Though I may be fond of the Black Diamond Spot, my Petzl ACTIK is going to have its fair share of use and I have no problem recommending it to anyone looking for a quality headlamp.

All photos courtesy of the author, Matt Jin