Review: Petzl Swift Headlamp

Effectiveness versus weight: it’s a conundrum most backpackers reckon with when buying gear. With the new Petzl SWIFT RL Headlamp, outdoor recreators no longer have to choose between the two when it comes to lighting. Boasting an impressive 1,100 lumens of light in a 100-gram package, it’s pretty much a portable spotlight around the campground—or on the ski slopes, as I discovered this winter. On a night lap at Bear Canyon, the Swift lit up dang near the entire slope, top to bottom. It’s truly an impressive amount of light for such a small package (for reference, most comparably-sized headlamps are between 250-600 lumens).

But in addition to brightness, a handful of other features stand out on this headlamp. It uses a sensor to react to ambient light, adjusting brightness automatically to the needs of the situation. The elastic headband is comfortable and easy to adjust. A single button makes control simple—especially with gloves on—and the translucent storage pouch doubles as a lantern to hang from the tent. It also contains a red light, which is nice for reading or for not blinding your campmate with 1,100 lumens straight to the eyeballs. The rechargeable battery has 7 hours of life on standard mode, which is plenty for anything under a four-night trip. That also means no longer hauling around, not to mention throwing away, handfuls of AAA batteries every year. Petzl is lighting the way when it comes to headlamp ingenuity. $140;