There are few people who get truly jazzed about a new headlamp. In fact, I would compare it to shopping for deodorant. It’s necessary… but not very exciting. Sure, sometimes you find a scent that’s a little different and a tad (dare we say) interesting, but for the most part it’s safer to just stick to what you know works. Most headlamps aren’t exactly exciting.
That being said, we are here to introduce to you two exciting headlamps, the Petzl NAO+ and the Petzl Reactik+.
But don’t just take my word for it – you have to understand why you should be head-over-heels excited for the features that these lamps offer. So let me shine some light on a need you may not know you had.
Your Headlamp Needs
Your headlamp is supposed to light your way. And in most cases, that’s really all you need from it. But if you use your headlamp every day, or at least twice a week, you will empathize with these situations:
You’re in the middle of your run. Your headlamp dies. Plunged into utter darkness.
Or perhaps, you turn on your lamp at the beginning of your run. Ok. Then your running buddy turns theirs on. You: “Oh, huh! That’s a road I’m standing on!”
There’s a lot that we could say about choosing a headlamp, but you could also read about that elsewhere.
Read our headlamp guide: How To Choose the Best Headlamp
Battery life is key to headlamps, and it has always been a battle between battery life and brightness. Until now. The NAO + and Reactik + are designed to put the power in your hands (literally), and let you balance the battery life/brightness issue yourself.
These two headlamps are what we call connected headlamps – they pair to your smart phone and allow you to control battery life and other settings from your phone. Petzl has allowed you to customize settings on your lamp before, but it was necessary to plug the lamp into your computer and download the settings. Now with bluetooth, customizing is as easy as it should be in this day and age. There are other features we love about these two headlamps, but this is arguably the most useful and unique feature we’ve seen in a long time.
As you can see from these screenshots, my headlamp was at the end of it’s battery life and in need of a charge. But the principle stands, I can easily adjust the brightness to squeeze what little life I can out of the remaining charge.
Why the Petzl NAO+ ?
The Petzl NAO has been the front-runner of the illumination game for a couple of years now. If bright is best, the NAO is unrivaled. The NAO + actually has about the same light output as the average car headlight. That will last you about 6.5 hours, but if your run is longer than that, you could “settle” for 320 lumens, which is about the same brightness you get from your typical high-end headlamp.
The NAO+ is also rechargeable, and has reactive lighting. Reactive light mode automatically dims or brightens the headlamp to adjust to the surrounding light. That means as it gets lighter, your headlamp gets dimmer, thereby saving battery life.
Between that, and the fact that you can control light output from your phone… well! If you need max light, this is your headlamp.
Shop for the Petzl NAO+
Why the Petzl Reactik+?
The Reactik is so named because of the reactive lighting mode that it shares with the NAO. The + stands for the fact that you can sync it to your phone with bluetooth. So here we have a high-end headlamp that is very, very bright (300 lumens, which is a lot of light for even a technical trail run), connected to your phone and will automatically dim and brighten in response to your ambient light.
The Reactik+ is more of an ‘everyday’ headlamp, one that isn’t quite as bright as the NAO+ but is still incredibly functional.
I’ve been running with the Reactik+ for about three months now, and can say it’s my favorite headlamp yet. The strap is quite comfortable, with the weight evenly distributed. I love being able to adjust the brightness to make my lamp last as long as I need it to. It’s incredibly simple to operate, making it very user friendly.
Shop for the Petzl Reactik+
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Juli is known around Running Warehouse for her vast knowledge of running product, from shoes to hydration to nutrition to… well just about anything running related. With a background in food science (Read: Bachelor’s degree and an addiction to scholarly journal articles on exercise nutrition), she’s also a trail lover that fiends for long runs in beautiful places.