Most headlamps mount to your head using a fabric strap that you adjust with a buckle system or an elastic band that stretches to fit your noggin. It works well enough. The Petzl IKO CORE, however, tries to do things differently by replacing the typical head strap with a patented headband that brings a whole new level of comfort, ergonomics, and versatility to the wearable lighting solution.
Equipped with the outfit’s AIRFIT headband, the headlamp can do more than mount on your head to shine a light at whatever you’re looking at while you walk up a trail, clean your tools at camp, or work on your plumbing in the basement. Seriously, the unique headband turns it into much more than headlamp, allowing you to use it in all sorts of ways without the need to add or change anything.
The Petzl IKO CORE’s AIRFIT headband is a semi-rigid, wireframe structure with a strategically-designed shape that reduces the area of contact between the headband and your head, which makes the whole thing more comfortable while improving air circulation. Aside from wearing on your head, the shape also allows you to wear it securely on a helmet and even around your neck like a neckband, so you can put it on in a number of ways. The same headband also makes it easier it usable in other ways, such as a freestanding lantern (just set it down on a flat surface), a wraparound spotlight (you can mount it on a tree branch or a hook), or even a diffuser bulb that you can carry in hand. Suffice to say, the headband expands its potential range of uses.
It comes with a powerful 500-lumen beam, which, the outfit claims, will shine a light up to distances of 100 meters, so you can check if Bigfoot is lurking somewhere in the woods before you hit the sleeping bag waiting in the tent. The light comes with three brightness settings, so you can keep lighting at lower levels to maximize the battery, as well as your choice of either floor or mixed beam to further expand its range of capabilities.
The Petzl IKO CORE comes with a battery housing in the back that fits either the included 1250mAh rechargeable battery or three AAA cells, so you can switch to disposable units from the convenience store if you don’t have a way of charging the included battery via USB. Do note, the headlamp can only achieve the maximum 500 lumens with the rechargeable battery, as the three AAA units only pack enough juice to light it up to 350 lumens. The rechargeable battery can be charged full in just three hours.
Other features include reflective components on the rear to keep you visible in the dark, physical button controls for easy adjustments, two lock functions to avoid accidentally turning it on, IPX4 weather-resistance, and a light weight of just 79 grams. The whole thing, by the way, can collapse flat for stashing into the included pouch for easily integrating into your stash.
The Petzl IKO CORE is available now, priced at $89.95.