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December 10, 2009

Comparison Review: Petzl Tikka XP2 and Black Diamond Spot; WRC Gift Card Giveaway

(Admin note: The Running and Rambling holiday giveaway train keeps on rolling! The MoodBoost drawing is still open for entry until 7PM Friday, and today begins another drawing for a Wilderness Running Company gift card. Oh, there’s also a product review today – but it’s a bit unorthodox compared to previous versions. Read on.)

I appear to be outgrowing my website.

Over the past several months I’ve been incredibly fortunate to receive an overwhelming amount of gear to review – so much that it’s gradually crowding out the other content (read: random nonsense) I like to present here. And since I’m not inclined to turn this blog into a 100% product review site (although I hope it’s a reliable resource for that purpose), another outlet to post the reviews seemed like an outstanding proposition.

Luckily, that’s exactly what happened. This fall I began contributing product reviews to FeedTheHabit.com, a large outdoor gear review site based in Utah. Given their physical location, they test a lot of skiing and winter sports equipment, as well as gear for camping, hiking, and mountain biking. The owner of FTH also does a fair amount of trail running, and I’ll be contributing content in that area along with him. So if you don’t already know about the site, be sure to check it out – and today’s post is something of an incentive to go there.

My first post for FTH was back in October, with a review of the Petzl Tikka XP2 headlamp – it’s Petzl’s equivalent model to Black Diamond’s Spot, which I reviewed here earlier this week. Instead of reprinting the XP2 review, I’m just going to link to it, and ask you to come back here for the head-to-head comparison from both reviews. And to make sure you return, I’m making this post the entry point for my next $15 WRC gift card giveaway.

Is this getting confusing yet? Let me simplify:

1) Go read my Petzl Tikka XP2 headlamp review on FeedTheHabit.com, then…
2) Return here to read the comparison between the XP2 and the Spot, and …
3) Post a comment to enter the drawing for a WRC gift card. Easy as that. Now get going.


Are you back? I’ll take your word for it that you read the FTH review. So which compact headlamp is better – the Petzl Tikka XP2 or the Black Diamond Spot? They’re both very solid options, and each has its advantages over the other. Here’s the tale of the tape:

Bulb Type:
Spot: separate LEDs for spot and flood modes, no red LED
XP2: single LED, 1 red LED
Advantage: If you like red LEDs, advantage XP2. Otherwise, the type of bulb doesn’t really matter as much as …

Spot: 47 lumens
XP2: 60 lumens
Advantage: XP2. The difference is certainly noticeable.

Beam types:
Spot: spot (well, duh …), flood, and strobe
XP2: spot, flood, and strobe
Advantage: XP2, because you can switch from flood to spot modes by flipping a diffuser lid up or down, instead of cycling through the “power off” mode with the Spot.

(Boy, it doesn’t seem like much of a contest so far, huh? Keep reading ... )

Maximum beam distance:
Spot: 70m
XP2: 60m
Advantage: Spot. Black Diamond’s entry has lower candle power, but shoots its beam farther. If you tend to use the spot mode more than the flood mode, this is the lamp for you.

Weight (with batteries):
Spot: 85g
XP2: 88g
Advantage: Spot, but just barely – because I’d be surprised if you can actually feel the 3 grams difference.

Battery type and lifespan:
Spot: 3AAA, 100 hour lifespan on high setting. Rechargeable batteries not recommended.
XP2: 3AAA, 80 hour lifespan. Compatible with rechargeable batteries.
Advantage: XP2, mainly because of my bias towards using rechargeables. We should all make an effort to be greener this way, shouldn’t we?

Spot: $40
XP2: $55
Advantage: Spot, in a big way. When I said this was the most affordable option for trail runners, I wasn’t kidding around. Wilderness Running Company offers a 10% discount (coupon code R&R10) on both of these lamps, but doesn’t currently have the XP2 in stock. It’s coming soon, I’m told.

So which one’s right for you? If you want something basic, efficient, and very affordable with adequate brightness for roads and groomed trails, go with the Spot. If you’re willing to pay 37% more for 28% more candle power and a few more features (red LED, spot/flood diffuser and rechargeable battery capability), then the XP2 is your lamp.


Congratulations - you made it to part 3! Either that, or you just scrolled here after reading the first paragraph. Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter to me – just leave a comment below to be entered for a $15 Wilderness Running Company gift card. Good luck!

*Tikka XP2 headlamp provided by Petzl America
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you'd like reviewed, contact me at info@runningandrambling.com.


Gretchen 12/10/09, 10:03 PM  

Well, I was a life-long petzl user until I got my BD Spot, but I've never used the XP2. I did, however, use the Spot on the TRT 100 as my only light and loved it. It's a plenty technical trail, but I guess I was running so slow, it didn't matter. Still giving my (very biased) vote to the Spot.

Sunshine Girl 12/10/09, 10:36 PM  

I love the random nonsense! I vote for more spelling and less gear! :) But you know, if you ever need to get rid of any of that superfluous gear, I'm your girl. And that big word was just for you. Did I spell it write?!?

Al Nye 12/11/09, 6:29 AM  

Whether it's a Spot or XP2, if I win it's going toward a light. Thanks for the fine comparison post.


Jesse 12/11/09, 9:42 AM  

Great review. I'm in the market for my first head lamp

robb 12/11/09, 11:07 AM  

I did actually read both the review and this article, and would love a gift card. Or a new head lamp. Or both.

Bob 12/11/09, 2:52 PM  

As always, Don, great review! I'll keep my fingers crossed for that gift card too!

QF 12/12/09, 6:32 AM  

Please enter me for the gift card giveaway.

JG 12/12/09, 3:18 PM  

I have both. I have used (I used the last of some gear credits at IME to buy the Tikka XP2 although I haven't used it much. I have used the Spot for about 6 months for hiking and backpacking. You can't go wrong with either one.

21stCenturyMom 12/12/09, 4:27 PM  

I don't know if it is legit to enter a drawing when I just won one but I'm doing it anyhow!

address is on the way.

The Dude 12/12/09, 5:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Dude 12/12/09, 5:33 PM  

Giftcard. I am fired up about using my Spot that I got in the mail today. Thanks Donald!

Anonymous,  12/13/09, 9:45 AM  

Was researching headlamps and had decided on one of these 2 before coming across this site. Your reviews helped me decide on the Spot. But the it turns out that my partner also needs a headlamp, so I'll get the Tikka as a Christmas present and then I can borrow it! The red light feature will be good for night orienteering, reading the map.

Lori 12/15/09, 9:12 AM  

Thanks for the comparisons. I'd like to buy a nice one with Christmas cash, rather than Walmart $15 job. Please sign me up for the giftcard so I can ALSO buy socks!!

cla337 12/26/09, 5:18 PM  

Gift card still around. At any rate, I've owned an older BD Spot for a couple years(cant remember if it was actually called a Spot). The plastic mount cracked early on, and finally broke all together. Also, not sure if this is due to using rechargeables, but it doesn't hold brightness consistently. Sometimes I have to tap it around(not press the button). Also, the power seems to dim as the battery fades- rather than holding a strong intensity. Again, not sure if this is due to using rechargeables. Also, not sure that if it is bc of rechargeables, whether that irreversibly damaged it such that it acts this way. So, now I'm shopping around.

Anyone thoughts on the petzl's physical durability? And brightness throughout the battery life?

Laura 12/6/10, 7:41 PM  

Headlamp Haiku

In need of some light,
Trail runs in dark spell trouble.
More lumens seems best.

Making decision
Is tough with many options:
Your website helps tons!

5:30 am
My light will reign supreme-o,
Will rock trails again!

HAROLD 2/20/12, 7:46 AM  

I already have a XP2, it is an amazing light, however if I have to buy a new one, I would go for the Spot because for a lower prize I can get almost same features. Going further, for the same prize of XP2 I can get the BD Storm which has 100 lumens and is waterproof.

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