An emergency head torch needs to be a bit different. A head torch you can throw in your rucksack, mistreat, neglect and then call upon in an instant. Petzl have tried to emulate this with the Petzl e+Lite, and I think they’ve succeeded.
Less than 5cm long and weighing in at 27g, the Petzl e+Lite is the very definition of ultralight. This allows you to stash it in your pack, stow it in your car or hide it under your pillow and just forget about it until you really need it. That ticks the first box in the emergency head light checklist. The retractable zip cord is ridiculously strong and surprisingly comfortable, not like razor wire as i’d imagined. It can be attached to pretty much anything, plus it’s helmet compatible.
Powered by two lithium CR 2032s, Petzl claim it can be safely stored for 10 years. A locking on/off switch makes this more feasible, preventing accidental operation when stowed away. That being said, once it does start to get regular use you’ll burn through the batteries pretty quickly.
The movement lighting mode pumps out 26 lumens for around 55 hours and switching to ambient this reduces to 5 lumens for 70. In an emergency however, the white and red strobe settings become essential; visible from 2000m and running for 75 hours.
Petzl chose to forgo the traditional button operation in favour of a slider- a decision which I think does them much credit. The red light modes of too many devices are rendered utterly useless by poor design. To switch on/off the device from the red light setting, you shouldn’t have to cycle through the full white beam, destroying your night vision in the process. The very thing the red light is meant to preserve! Thankfully, this is just one of a number of examples of how well thought through the Petzl e+Lite is. The second off mode is located after the red light, allowing you to turn to red seamlessly.
The great outdoors can be unpredictable. So can plumbing in your new bathroom. Whether it’s being caught in a freak rain shower or dropping your head torch down the toilet, an emergency light must be able to cope. The e+Lite is rated IP67, meaning it’s dust proof and waterproof up to 1 meter- Phew! Not just that but it’s tested to withstand temperatures between -30°C and +60°C. Check and check.
As far as ultralight head torches go, I’d look no further. The Petzl e+Lite is incredibly well designed and excellently practical. Whether it’s for when the lights go out, your latest DIY project or as a backup to your primary device, you need to have one of these. A small investment for a lot of peace of mind.