Our latest Top Gear choice features the tiny yet mighty Petzl Bindi Headtorch. Please read on to find out more about this mini marvel.
The original Petzl Zoom Headlamp, introduced in 1981, was a game changer for outdoor adventurers. For the first time a user had an independent lamp unit with separate battery unit at the back. Crucially, this meant everything was positioned around the head with no dangly cables. It allowed the hands free use and the portability needed when climbing, navigating or for many other activities.
The downsides were its size, weight and light output. The lamp unit itself was half the size of a coke can and the battery was housed in a cigarette packet sized holder. After all, the battery had to house the chunky 4.5 volt battery that powered it.
I’m actually not sure what those original models weighed. It was certainly far heavier than the torches we have available nowadays though. I also think the light output was only about 25 lumens. Things have certainly moved on a long way with head torch design.
From those early days to today, head torches have been an essential outdoor equipment item. Fortunately, the technology has raced ahead in recent years. Improvements in battery technology and the use of LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) means they are smaller, brighter and far more reliable. Many now also feature rechargeable batteries which offers better sustainability.
There is also a vast range of options suitable for all situations. Infact, go into a decent outdoor shop and there’ll be racks of different makes and styles. High light output and long battery life or tiny enough to be stored in the smallest of rucksack pockets. Any choice is out there.
An Adventure Essential
So, this Top Gear choice is focussed on just one of these many options. At all times of year I have a torch in my rucksack when heading anywhere off the beaten track.
Some times I will be planning to use it. At others it is simply there for unexpected times where it may get me out of an otherwise tricky situation. Maybe we’ve been delayed on that late night cragging session or it could be that the final stretch of a walk has taken longer than expected. A torch can be the difference between a simple walk out or an epic.
For situations like that I just need a small and lightweight model with good light output. Enter the awesome Petzl Bindi Headtorch.
Petzl Bindi Statistics
I am truly amazed with this torch. In a tiny and ultralight (only 35 grams) unit Petzl have housed a 200 lumen brightness lamp. When I say tiny I mean the Bindi will easily fit in the palm of your hand.
It is powered by a Lithium-Ion 680 mAh battery (rechargeable via micro USB port) with charge indicator. There are three varying intensity light modes and a red light option. Two lock functions prevent accidental operation which I consider very important when kept in a pack for occasional use.
The headlamp can be tilted to vary the light position. This is also really useful if it is worn around the neck which I sometimes prefer. The shock cord headband is very comfortable and easily adjusted with a cord grip. The headband also features reflective strands for visibility from other nearby head torch users or from passing vehicles.
The Bindi provides 3 hours of light output at max power and 3 hours at medium output. However, that jumps to 50 hours at the lowest power setting. For any setting there is also a reserve of 1.5 hours. The Bindi is IPX4 (weather-resistant) rated and costs about £30.
That a 200 lumen torch can be housed in a torch this size shows how far LED technology has progressed. This a serious amount of light and plenty bright enough for many night time uses. The light produced is a broad flood that offers plenty of light for climbing or navigating.
I’ve used the Petzl Bindi Headtorch lots and it has never failed to completely impress. It is great as a back up torch (I always carry two torches in the darker months), but also excels as a main torch for fast and light overnight trips. The Bindi can also be easily clipped to a harness or stored in a pocket in case of a climbing benightment. It is very versatile. Full details about the Petzl Bindi Headtorch are available on the Petzl website here. The video below also gives a good overview of the torch features.
If this Top Gear choice has been of interest, please also check out our Mountain Safety Top Tips. This offers general guidance on staying safe on your adventures and you can find it here. Our First Aid Kit Ideas article might also be of interest. This can be found here.