The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Petzl Tikka Headlamp


The original Tikka     Photo: Courtesy of Petzl

Looking to extend the life of their batteries for underground exploration, a number of spelunkers modified their headlamps to use red, green and blue energy-saving LEDs (initially, only colored LEDs were made—no white bulbs). When new ultracompact white LEDs became available, caver engineers at Petzl went to work. The original Tikka headlamp used the first white LEDs. It was 8.75 lumens, ran on three AAA batteries that powered three LED bulbs, and weighed far less than any other headlamps available at the time.

Since the first Tikka, bulb color has whitened and brightened (the first LEDs had a bluish glow), and bulbs have become more efficient. The tiny LED e-Lite now has 28 lumens and runs on two watch batteries.

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