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Matt Hortop, Ringmer, England, United Kingdom

Story for running with a Petzl Reactik +

So here are the maths....

....rather than drink a bottle of wine a night, and neck back a few lattes during each day, let’s give them up.... and blow the savings made over a week on something useful.

Now, living in rural areas all my life, far from the invasive glow of streetlights, I have certainly owned a torch or two, and some of them have cost a fair bit more than this Petzl.  Headtorch wise, I have still got my original one somewhere.  It has a filament bulb (and a spare in the battery compartment), it eats batteries for a pastime, and the output is about 0.25 lumens.

There are a few newer LED headtorches kicking about the house, costing about £3 each from Tesco.  They are OK, and battery performance would be good if it were not for the kids generally leaving them switched on, under their beds, for days on end.  The batteries are normally somewhere between being tired and flat.

If it's time for an upgrade.... Why Petzl?

Well, I have always been quite fond of petzl stuff, ever since my industry turned its back on reliable screwgate karabiners, and went for 'triple action self-lockers'.  For a while Petzl seemed to be the only brand you could rely on to actually self lock, rather than choose to open when you least expect it and give you a nasty drop.  When you trust your life to something, it kinda promotes brand loyalty.

So, Why the Reactik +.... What's it all about?

I guess the Reactik part of the name alludes to its ability to assess what you a looking at, and alter the intensity and spread of the light beam to match.

Stare at the side of a nearby white truck, and the beam dims and spreads to a wide floodlight.  Look towards a more distant church steeple, and the beam intensifies and narrows.  You may think that could get kind of annoying, but in practice, it is surprising how well the light level matches what your eyes seem to need.
the ‘+’ bit of the Reactik + name, refers to its ability to Bluetooth itself to a smartphone in order to adjust setting and monitor performance. 
I had a fiddle with this, but my phone (an Apple thing) wouldn’t recognise it, and although I managed to get it to link it effortlessly to an android phone, my request to download the app was declined by the phones owner….  Sorting the Bluetooth out will need wait for another time.

Controls wise, things are not so great.  There is a little multifunction knob on the top, and another on the side.  Personally, I would have designed it with big, clunky rotary dials, as the buttons are annoyingly fiddly, and you are never too sure what you have selected.  Not that that really matters, are I am still not 100% what the actual functions related to the buttons are anyway.  

Here was my basic o.p. …. Press the button on the top till it turns on.... give random button presses here and there until you get the kind of beam you are after.... and then when you are done, push the button on top till it turns off again.  I am sure Petzl R+D have spent millions on working out the different functions of those buttons.... sorry, it's wasted on me at the moment.

So, having taken delivery of the torch, charged it fully, dazzled myself a few times, and then taken the odd picture of it, I decided to take it on an excuse of  'run' along the trails that pass through the woods that surround a local castle/university study centre/astronomical observatory.  
It’s only a short run, but it is a very dark run, and what with the headtorch, and trying to take pictures, I got pretty distracted, and hardly got much running in anyway.

I started by the village church, and headed down the lane and through a farmyard.  There was only a little breeze, the moon was full and the sky pretty much cloudless.  Despite this, the air temp was about 11 degrees Celsius.  For December, you would expect it nearer 2.  As it was, shorts and t shirt provided ample insulation.  From the farmyard, the trail passes past the University accommodation blocks and down a dark skiddy little track squeezed between a dense conifer plantation, and a bank of domes that form part of a Satellite Laser Ranging station.  

Below the domes, the trail opens out into pastures that are laid out in front of the castle itself.  The performance of the torch along the paths, through the gateways, and across the fields was great.  The straps adjust easily to you head, and there is no sense that it is bouncing around. Neither is there that annoying reflection that you seem to get off the bottom of some head torches.

As you approach an obstacle, such as a gate or style, and look down at it, the beam adjusts to bathe it in light.  As you look up to see where the path goes across an empty field, the beam narrows to illuminate the fence and stile in the distance.  Get to a tricky section underfoot, the beam adjusts again as you look down.  It is pretty seamless, but it is noticeable in a satisfying way…. A bit like having the lighting team from a film crew in charge of illuminating your run. 

Through the woods, past a lake, and across the pastures again, the light Patten is very satisfactory.

On return to the Church, I didn’t really feel like I had been on a run at all, but then considering I stopped every few hundred yards to try and get a picture that did justice to the torches abilities, it is hardly surprising.  Hopefully next time I am out with it, I will spend more time with my phone in my pocket, and less time getting distracted by ‘moonlight at the lakeside’.  The temperature had now dropped to about 8 degrees C. 

Still warm enough to be out in t shirt and shorts though, which is madness considering that Christmas is just around the corner.

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Run Reactik +
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Story for running with a Petzl Reactik +
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Matt Hortop, Ringmer, England, United Kingdom
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