Ultralight Rechargeable Headlamp
Petzl IKO Core

$95, 2.8 oz. (men’s medium)


As we skied back to our backcountry yurt through falling snow on a dark night at the end of a full day of touring in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, my IKO Core brightly illuminated our route through meadows and conifer and aspen forest. But brightness and low weight are just two of the measurable ways in which few ultralight headlamps match Petzl’s rechargeable IKO Core, which has unique design features that would appeal to backpackers, dayhikers, climbers, trail runners, and backcountry skiers.

At the highest of its three power levels500 lumens, the IKO Core is exceptionally bright—especially for a headlamp weighing under three ounces, the best of which top 300 lumens and rarely exceed 400. In campsites beside wilderness lakes on rainy, dark nights during an August backpacking trip in the Wind River Range, this headlamp lit up the open forest like a klieg light, with a broad, even beam that illuminated objects clearly for at least 100 meters (as Petzl claims for the IKO Core’s range at max brightness). I also used the IKO Core on other trips, including a six-day hike in the Grand Canyon.

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The Petzl IKO Core rechargeable headlamp.
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” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”600″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?resize=900%2C600&ssl=1″ alt=”The Petzl IKO Core rechargeable headlamp.” class=”wp-image-53161″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?resize=150%2C100&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Petzl-IKO-Core-closeup.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />The Petzl IKO Core rechargeable headlamp.

That degree of brightness comes in handy when trying to identify anything at a distance in the dark, like a trail marking or your off-trail route; a campsite, shelter or yurt; food hanging from a tree branch, stored in a bear canister on the ground, or cached; or a person in need of help.

At 100 lumens, the headlamp’s middle power level projects a beam 45 meters, according to Petzl; I found it certainly bright enough to follow a trail in the dark. The max and middle levels simultaneously project both a spot beam and proximity light—more useful than separating those two lighting modes, as many headlamps do. The low setting (six lumens) throws enough light for inside the tent or close-at-hand tasks in camp but seems a
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