User Review: Petzl Zipka
Price Paid: About £25 uk
I've had one for about two years. The picture doesn't show how it works. To attach it to your head, pull on the small plastic pad at the back. This extends the two very fine cords from each side of the back of the lamp to form a loop which can be slipped over your head so that the lamp is located on your forehead. When it's time to put it away, just take it off, and the cords wind themselves back into the body of the lamp.
At first, this design looks like a manufacturer's own-goal. Surely the lamp will be too tight, or too loose so that it falls off, and that fine cord must break or fray.
No so. This is so lightweight (60 grams including the 3 AAA batteries) that I can forget I am wearing it. I have used it several times a week for two years, and that fine cord has never broken, or even frayed. The cord tension is tight enough to hold the lamp in place even if I deliberately try to flick if off my head (I've just tried unsuccessfully to do that) but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. I do get a 'line' left by the cord along both sides of my forehead if I wear it for more than a few minutes. So, if you are interested in looking cool after taking it off, don't buy one. It can, of course be worn on your arm, or leg, as required. I wear glasses, and the light can illuminate the inside of the frames, which can get irritating over long periods.
It has three LEDs. They produce a 'pool' of light rather than a 'beam'. The level of illumination falls off rapidly so this is not for looking at anything more than four metres away. It does an excellent job of providing enough 'local' light for reading, cooking, avoiding obstacles in the dark etc. The battery consumption is almost unbelievable. The level of illumination falls off slowly over the life of the batteries, but this is well in excess of 50 hours, even using rechargeables. For the first 15 hours, there is easily enough light to read comfortably, even for someone like myself with rather poor eyesight. I found it quite fiddly to fit the batteries, but once installed, everything clicks together very soundly. If you are a 'lighter is better' freak, this is for you.
In summary, this is a tiny, robust, reliable, lightweight, durable device that earns its place in your kit. I recommend it unreservedly. The only negatives are that the batteries can be fiddly to fit, it shines on your glasses, it leaves a line on your forehead, and it's expensive. As usual, you get what you pay for.