With a few more weeks of “winter” left, we still have a deficit of sunlight to deal with. I live in the southeast and the quotes are there because winter has been exceptionally mild this year. Somewhat disappointing with regards to snowfall totals. But that’s not the point of this article! I’m here to report on the Petzl Myo RXP headlamp. In the interest of transparency, I purchased this headlamp with my own funds and am in no way affiliated with the manufacturer.
Petzl is a leading manufacturer of technical climbing equipment. From carabiners to crampons to headlamps, this company has everyone from the professional mountaineer to the avid trail/road runner covered. And without even talking about the Myo RXP, the company puts a high level of craftsmanship into everything it makes so that you can trust the gear not to let you down when you need it most.
I originally purchased the RXP for a climbing trip on Mt. Rainier in 2010 but it has proven to be my workhorse for night trail running and backpacking after sundown since then. I have owned the light for about 2 years now (purchased in February 2010 from REI for about $90) and it’s quite durable. The first thing one will notice upon taking it out of the box is that it’s a bit heavier than the average headlamp. This is due to the bigger LED bulb housing, the thicker elastic band and the hefty battery pack on the back of the band. That said, it definitely isn’t ultralight but it is ultra-bright at 160 lumens (max. output). For some comparison, the average headlamp in the $25 to $40 price range is closer to 43 lumens (Example: Princeton Tec Fuel). The RXP is super powerful and when high visibility is important, either to light up the trail in front of you or to ensure that oncoming traffic will see you, this light is worth every penny.
With the RXP’s power comes a higher than average battery consumption rate. The lamp takes 3 AAA batteries (Lithium Ion is preferred for winter use as it lasts longer in colder temps) and I end up replacing mine once every 2 months if I’m using it heavily (2 night runs per week plus 2 backpacking trips in those 2 months). Not bad but certainly more battery hungry than the Princeton Tec Fuel. Petzl states that you get 95 hours of battery life at light program level #1 (there are 5 levels–1: low, 2: med, 3: high, 4: boost mode, 5: blinking mode) but I see this as optimistic because you never just use it on level #1.
Since the RXP is a little heftier than the average headlamp, it will jostle around a bit on your head if you don’t have the elastic band fairly tight. The additional band running over the top of the user’s head from front to back helps to eliminate motion as well. With the elastic band cinched down snuggly and the extra strap in place, the headlamp stays almost exactly where you need it to stay throughout the duration of a run.
This headlamp is a great little piece of gear. I’ve used it in snowy conditions, drizzle, fog… you name it. It’s as bright as the Bat Signal. It’s reliable. It’s easy to use. I take it with me on trail runs, backpacking trips and it got me to the top of Mt. Rainier and back in one piece. It has survived 2 years of rugged use, being taken in and out of pockets crammed to the brim with other gear. I’ve dropped it on rock numerous times and even slept on it accidentally. It’s survived 2 years of clumsy ownership and heavy use and I’m confident that the Myo RXP will survive another 2. This headlamp is definitely worth the investment. Sure it’s a little more expensive but when you use it on that first nocturnal run, you will not regret spending the extra dough. If you’re looking at getting a good headlamp for the remaining dark months of winter, I would seriously consider this one.
About Scott Cooper
Graphic designer, photographer, trail runner, cyclist, gear junkie and mountaineer. Coffee is my life blood and pixels are my ammunition. When I’m not designing t-shirts for #Anywhere5k I’m at my MacPro whipping up sweet webby goodness, out running trails, nerding out over the latest outdoor gadget or not watching television.