Petzl Swift RL Evaluation – 900 Lumen Reactive Headtorch Area Take a look at

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A Evaluation of the Petzl Swift RL headtorch, after months of winter biking, climbing and working

Attempting to increase your outside actions into the darkish hours could be fairly a frightening activity with out correct lighting.

We’ve had many outside journeys the place headlamps fail on us, get waterlogged, batteries die painfully shortly, or, simply aren’t fairly vibrant sufficient.

I’ve been placing the Swift RL from Petzl to the check, which is hotly tipped as among the finest outside headlamps available on the market.

At solely 100g, the 900-lumen gentle makes use of rechargeable 2350 mAH lithium-Ion batteries with a powerful life. Mainly, that’s a really highly effective gentle that may run for a very long time.

However the greatest promoting level is the Reactive Lightning (therefore the Petzl Swift RL) which adapts the headlamp brightness to the lighting in your environment. Good when you’re working/biking/climbing between totally different environments and don’t wish to maintain having to alter the brightness. It’s additionally key for maximising use from every cost.

All of it sounds very promising, however how does it truly deal with within the discipline? Preserve studying under to seek out out.


This text might comprise affiliate hyperlinks, they may by no means price you extra money however helps Veggie Vagabonds maintain making content material like this – thanks!

Man fixing bikes with Petzl Swift RL Head torch

The Petzl Swift RL headtorch options

The Swift RL is a compact and highly effective 900-lumen headlight, with rechargeable batteries and REACTIVE LIGHTING expertise (extra data on this under).

At solely 100g, it’s a dynamic headtorch geared toward mountaineers, path runners, skiers, cyclists and many others. who want sturdy battery life for in a single day outside pursuits.


  • 900 lumens with 3 brightness capabilities and reactive or commonplace lighting
  • 100g
  • Blended beam sample
  • 2350 mAH Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
  • 6 hour cost time
  • IPX4 weather-resistant watertightness

How I used the Swift RL headlamp

I’ve principally been utilizing this as a path working headlamp, or for MTB and bikepacking. It’s additionally been on my normal wild tenting and climbing packing record.

For the fast-paced issues like biking and working, it’s been utilized in a mixture of distant landscapes with few obstacles all the way in which to busy woodlands the place avoiding low-hanging branches is essential.

Over the previous couple of months, it’s additionally been used on many group path runs, which has given some attention-grabbing outcomes.

Having it by the winter, it’s been in freezing circumstances, heavy rain, wind and snow too.

Man using a lightweight head torch to fix bikes at night
The tilting perform makes it very helpful to put on round your neck

Swift RL outcomes from the sector

1. Consolation

First off, the consolation – it’s a really comfy headtorch!

At solely 100g, the load isn’t vital in your head and the strapping is delicate sufficient to put on and not using a hat/buff and many others.

I discover path working provides the last word head torch check: you want it to be tight and the fixed bouncing can be uncomfortable with some head torches. The Swift RL doesn’t bob up and down in your head, or slide round. There are additionally no sharp or painful sensations across the strapping.

That is all helped by the twin straps on the again that assist to maintain it fitted to your head (as a substitute of a easy single strap that many different head torches have). It does a pleasant job of protecting the lamp safe and in place. I’ve not needed to readjust it for any outside makes use of.

The strapping additionally provides sufficient room if you wish to put on it over a number of hats or layers.

General, the consolation can’t actually be faulted.

Petzl Swift RL Reactive Lighting head torch strap view
The double strapping helps for a really comfy and secure match

2. Swift RL Lighting

The Petzl Swift RL has 3 brightness ranges in both reactive lighting or commonplace mode. That is all operated from a single button on the highest of the top torch.

With one click on, the torch is mechanically in reactive mode at 100 lumens, two clicks 300 lumens and three clicks 900 lumens. The fourth click on switches it off.

To get onto commonplace mode, you simply long-press the button and may then change between the three modes (10, 200 and 550 lumens) with particular person clicks.

I discovered that round camp and slow-paced motion, the 100 or 300 mode was sufficient. The 900-lumen mode is impressively highly effective for biking and working if there are obstacles or modifications within the floor.

All in all, the brightness has been greater than enough for all my outside makes use of. Every of the three lighting ranges tick the packing containers of all journey situations I’ve come throughout.

The Swift RL additionally doesn’t fiddle with heaps of various colored and flashing lights, which I like. I perceive they’ve their makes use of, however for me, I’ve at all times seen them as gimmicks that I haven’t used.

Nevertheless it’s not all good.

The usual gentle appears to be extra concentrated and far-reaching, while the reactive gentle appears to be extra dispersed. Different head torches have modes to change between dispersed and concentrated beams, which is beneficial.

It can be troublesome to know which mode you’re on. However I’ll get onto that within the subsequent part under.

Petzl Swift RL Reactive Lighting head torch front view
The reactive lighting sensor is the circle to the suitable of the primary gentle

3. Petzl Swift RL headtorch Reactive Lighting Know-how

The Reactive Lighting is among the Swift RL’s greatest promoting factors.

In a nutshell, it makes use of a light-weight sensor to mechanically modify the power of sunshine relying on how a lot gentle is round you.

For instance, when you have been working throughout darkish fields, it could mechanically use a higher-powered gentle. This is able to instantly drop when you ran right into a well-lit space. This helps you preserve battery.

It additionally means you don’t want to change between modes on the transfer, as a substitute the top torch does it for you. The change between brightness ranges isn’t drastic or distracting, however it’s delicate sufficient to adapt to small modifications in surrounding gentle.

When biking from darkish moors into cities, or working from woodlands to well-lit roads, it’s a very helpful function. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t suppose to alter the brightness stage, and so it does imply you get a for much longer burn time.

As helpful as it’s, it’s a double-edged sword. The brightness ranges even have a behavior of fixing if you don’t need them to.

I’ve observed this most when biking and the headlight crosses beams with bike lights. Or, when the lights illuminate street indicators.

It additionally occurs when working with others who’re carrying hi-vis, reflective supplies or working head torches of their very own. In conditions like this, the sunshine will dim, however it’s possible you’ll not need it to.

In these conditions, I’ve caught to plain mode, nonetheless, it’s irritating because it solely reaches 550 lumens in comparison with 900.

Man wearing swift rl trail running headtorch
The tilting perform could be very helpful

4. Performance

I’d say the performance is among the finest and worst factors concerning the Swift RL.

I really like the three easy brightness modes, all from one button. It’s also possible to slide the button to the aspect and lock it, to keep away from switching between modes by accident. The benefit of charging from a USB port on the backside can be nice.

The battery stage is proven on the highest of the torch, with 5 small LED lights which go down because the battery decreases. One other helpful function.

And prime marks go for the lamp, which could be tilted up and down. This implies you possibly can maintain the beam pointed on the ground with out having to have your head lowered. It’s also possible to put on the torch round your neck however maintain the beam pointed up.

The principle negatives come from the issues with the reactive lighting. There are a variety of moments when the sunshine dims however you don’t need it to.

It can be laborious to inform when you’re in commonplace or reactive mode.

The beams are just about the identical on each modes, so as soon as it’s switched on, you don’t actually know which you’re in.

The simplest strategy to inform is by placing your finger over the sensor (proper subsequent to the sunshine beam) and if the brightness will increase, it’s in reactive mode. However, in motion, this slows you down and isn’t one thing you’d wish to do while on the transfer.

That is additionally not a water-resistant head torch. At IPX4, it’s water resistant. Nonetheless, I’ve worn this in critically heavy rain and haven’t had any points. Nevertheless, the USB port is on the underside of the top torch and is totally open, so it might trigger points.

Trail runner with Petzl Swift RL headlamp
The Swift RL has spectacular battery life!

5. Swift RL battery

General, I believe the battery life is fairly ace.

Principally, I are likely to maintain the torch in reactive mode, and switched between the three ranges. With this, I discovered the battery life to be very spectacular. The Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery is highly effective and helps to cease single-use batteries from being wasted.

For instance, on writing, I’ve simply come again from a 6-day winter bikepacking journey, with round 9 hours of daylight every day. On return, I’ve nonetheless acquired 2 out of 5 bars on battery cost stage.

These are the battery stats from Petzl:

Reactive mode

Mode Lumens Distance Burn Time
Degree 1 100 lumens 35m 10-50h
Degree 2 300 lumens 55m 5-40h
Degree 3 900 lumens 150m 2-30h

Commonplace mode

Mode Lumens Distance Burn Time
Degree 1 10 lumens 12m 100h
Degree 2 200 lumens 55m 5h
Degree 3 550 lumens 110m 2h

When evaluating it to different head torches, just like the Petzl Actik Core, it provides you extra bang on your battery buck.

The issue is, within the reactive mode, the sunshine is consistently altering and reacting. Meaning it’s troublesome to correctly estimate how lengthy it’ll final. For those who persist with stage 2 on reactive mode, you possibly can anticipate 5-40 hours of use. However there’s an enormous distinction between 5 and 40.

I suppose that is what you’d anticipate from a reactive mode and altering gentle beams.

The Swift RL is totally charged in 6 hours and you’ll convey a spare battery with you. For my use, this isn’t wanted, however when you’re going to be doing night-long path runs or mountain adventures, then it’s one thing to consider.

6. Makes use of

I believe that is an superior path working head torch. It ticks a variety of packing containers and solely actually has down factors due to the reactive lighting, not having the ability to estimate how lengthy the battery will final and many others. Although, that is solely actually a difficulty for ultra-distance athletes, or individuals intending on pushing by the entire night time.

For biking, bikepacking and mountain biking, it goes very effectively alongside a high-quality bike gentle. Even on difficult descents in darkness, the beam was highly effective sufficient to light up the way in which. When using, I’d stick to plain mode so the sensor shouldn’t be confused by the bike lights.

For wild tenting, mountaineering or simply as a high-quality climbing head torch, it’s an excellent sturdy performer, apart from the reactive lighting points.

Cyclist using Petzl reactive lighting head torch

7. Prices

The Swift RL shouldn’t be an inexpensive head torch, with costs starting from round £60 to £100.

When evaluating it to others, the Petzl Actik Professional is roughly £50, however solely has 450 lumens and doesn’t have reactive lighting. The Petzl Nao does have reactive lighting however is £100+ and in addition solely has 750 lumens.

Throughout different manufacturers, if you begin to creep in direction of 900 lumens – because the Swift RL has – the costs turn into fairly comparable. Although, most manufacturers, like Fenix and Biolite received’t match for burn time effectivity or weight.

8. Execs, cons and verdict

General, when you’re in search of a dependable, comfy and light-weight headtorch with a robust gentle, the Swift RL is a powerful competitor.

For path runners, mountain walkers and wild campers, I believe it’s a pleasant little bit of equipment. It’ll even be on my bikepacking gear record for future journeys.

It’s acquired a excessive value level and there’s a strategy to go to make the reactive lighting good. It does save a variety of battery and could be very helpful on the transfer, however for fast-paced using and working, there are nonetheless some hurdles with the reactive lighting mode.

Virtually glorious, however with just a few bumps within the street.


  • Highly effective lighting (900 lumens)
  • Intelligent reactive lighting for some conditions
  • Very comfy and light-weight
  • Spectacular battery life
  • Easy design and helpful capabilities


  • Costly
  • Not waterproof
  • Points with reactive lighting

9. The place to purchase the Petzl Swift RL?

The Swift RL is accessible worldwide, throughout Europe, N. America and additional. Costs vary from £60 to £100, and you’ll evaluate shopping for choices under.

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