My (current) favorite headlamp

The Petzl Zipka

I’m a sucker for headlamps; (and tents, but that’s a different post).

The affinity comes from spending my early outdoor career doing dishes with a flashlight in my teeth; the whole, simple “strap-a-lamp-to-your-forehead” concept is still a game-changer to me. I guess if you never experienced that, there’d be no reason for you to obsess about headlamps; but I did and I do. I own more than a dozen of them.

My current favorite is the Petzl Zipka.

I like it because it is really small and on the inexpensive side ($25), which means I can justify having more than one. I carry one in my dry-bag on the river AND a back-up in my toilet kit. I also have one in my car and another in my fly-fishing pack and another by my bed. And I use them all.

My favorite [cute] thing about the Zipka is the super-innovative phosphorescent panel that is incorporated behind the light. When you turn off the light, the little panel glows (for over 12 hours) which makes it really easy to find in the middle of the night when that unknown, way-too-close-to-your-head, sound scares the crap out of you (damn toads).

My favorite [environmental] feature is Petzl’s CORE rechargeable battery pack that can replace the 3 AAA batteries. You can recharge it via USB port and use it over and over and you can still have AAA batteries as a backup.

The only sort of non-innovative non-feature is that there is no way to lock the switch so that it doesn’t inadvertently turn on when it gets bumped (bummer).

But, I have my own super-duper-innovative solution for that – I just haven’t created it yet. Stay tuned.

About the author...


Steve is a Bruce Springsteen fan who has also worked for ARTA since 1979. One wife, two sons, no hair, lots of opinions.

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