A great book light: Petzl’s headlamp for the great outdoors

Petzl headlamp used as the perfect reading lightCrashed out in bed or on the sofa in the dark, I prefer a small, direct lamp to light the book I’m reading rather than a traditional table/desk/overhead lamp. I’ve tried all of those itty bitty kinds. The kind that attaches to the back of the book itself and points down on the pages. Those gooseneck types that twist and turn to aim but never quite get it right. Neither of those made-especially-for-readers lights work for me because they’re too much trouble to balance or hold. And moreoften than not, the neck assemblies wear too quickly and break.

The best reading light I’ve found wasn’t meant for a bookish life at all. It’s the Petzl E47P Tikka Plus Headlamp. The company makes outdoor gear like helmets and headlamps – as in lights you literally strapped to your forehead for nighttime caving or cycling or hiking or rock climbing. I found the perfect lamp at the EMS on Broadway near NYU. It cost about $30, takes three AAA batteries, has three brightness settings (plus flash, which isn’t helpful to readers, but is useful to cyclists who like to traverse roadways in a pitch black night), and comes with a headstrap.

No, I don’t lie in bed with the thing strapped to my head. Instead, I removed the strap, and set the Petzl on my chest, aimed at what I’m reading. Four click-stop settings make it easy to find just the right angle.

Why not an ordinary bedside lamp? Because for some reason I like the candle-like focus of this little lamp. It’s sort of like the reading light you might remember as a kid, reading under the covers with a flashlight or in a tent. It’s intimate and comforting, and nicely focused on what’s at hand: the book in front of your eyes, and nothing else around.

Sleep bright tight.

Petzl E47P Tikka Plus Headlamp


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