Hike New Hampshire
Trips in NH
title ZOOOOOM!

Review By: Chris

Quick Facts
(And Overall Rating)
Works for me!
Weight 170 grams
Power Source Three AA or one 4.5V
Key Features
  • Zoom-able beam
  • Swiveled Lamp Head
  • Rechargeable option &
    extra bulb in headpiece
Without getting too full of myself and ranting about the tiny details of the Petzl ZOOM headlamp, let me say that in my opinion, a primary light source must do three things and three things only.

  1. It must be easy to use (hands-free operation is best)
  2. It must provide viable light
  3. It must work for a reasonable time
    (a ½ hour battery life won't cut it)

Before I decided on a headlamp purchase, I used candle-lanterns almost exclusively because of their nostalgic qualities and low weight. However, candle-lanterns are messy, they are often difficult to light, and provide very low light (about one candlepower [duh!]). Using the handy list from above, we see that the candle lantern fails two out of three. So, after a short time I decided the headlamp was the next best option.

When making a decision on purchasing a headlamp, I was torn between the lightest weight models (Princeton Tech, Pelican, etc.) and the brightest model (many of the Petzls). Is it worth it to save a few ounces, or gain the extra weight for a few more feet of visibility? In the end, I chose visibility.

The Petzl ZOOM is unique in a number of ways. The lamp itself rotates on a bezel that is easy to move, allowing you to position your light where you want it. The beam is also adjustable (hence the ZOOM) like any of the Mag-Liteâ models. Also, the headband is fairly soft, yet springy to keep the light on your head when you shake you head violently from side to side. Or am I the only one who does that?

The battery pack is located on the back of the headband, an innovation that I like. You can use either three AA batteries or a single 4.5 volt. Although the 4.5 volt is more expensive, I believe it is worth it in the long run based on the extended burn time. The light turns on and off by the bezel, a feature that reduces the probability of failure, another excellent feature. Rechargeable batteries provide an excellent "environmentally friendly" alternative.

The table below indicates the distance the beam projects from the ZOOM, as well as the anticipated battery life under normal conditions.

Battery Distance Duration
4.5 V (Standard Bulb) 30 m. 17 hours
3 AA (Standard Bulb) 30 m. 8 hours
4.5 V (Halogen Bulb) 100 m. 6.5 hours

Petzl's Lip Service:

The most widely used headlamp in the world. It has Petzl's patented rotating bezel, which focuses the beam and doubles as an on-off switch.

Comes with standard bulb, for light to 30 meters, and a backup bulb behind the headpiece. Optional halogen bulb gives light to 100m. Uses a flat 4.5 V battery, or, with adapter, 3 AA alkaline cells. Also may use our ACCU ZOOM rechargeable battery, with and accessory main charger or 12V car charger.

My Lip Service:

Although it can be cumbersome and expensive (because of the 4.5 volt batteries), the Petzl is a dream to work with. It's a little heavier than the Princeton Tech models (my second choice), I believe the distribution of weight and adjustability of the lamp make this the only choice.
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Chris Oberg & Robert Havasy