Petzl Actik Core Review 2023

A ‘do it all’ hybrid style headtorch that is suitable for all outdoor activities.


  • Powerful enough for all outdoor activities
  • Hybrid technology means you can use normal batteries
  • Lightweight
  • Can be used as a bike light using the Petzl Adapt 2 (optional extra)


  • Headband tricky to remove

The last time we featured a Petzl head torch was in the 2019 update to our popular guide to head torches for running and climbing. In that article we featured the Petzl Swift RL, a fully featured performance head torch. The Petzl Actik Core sits just below that but is a more versatile head torch that would be suitable for more people.

That’s not to say it is a lesser head torch, it’s powerful 600 lumen LEDS create more than enough light for all mountain tasks, from brewing up your morning coffee in a bothy, packing your kit for a day’s activity on the glacier to finding your way to the bottom of your route in the depths of winter. 

It’s super easy to use with three light settings for three presses of the large, easily located button. Press and hold activates the red LED which is super useful for night nav and being a responsible hut user (there is nothing more annoying than someone arriving late and then blinding everyone by turning right into day with their head torch – it happens more frequently than you think!). Power ranges from 7 lumens to a super powerful 600 lumens which is more than enough for mountaineering activities. It should be said that the battery will not last as long on the most powerful setting – I used to have to explain this to novices when I delivered night nav courses. 

A good headtorch should be versatile and powerful. The Petzl Actik Core is just such a headlamp.

But on the lowest setting it should easily last several days and a day or so on the middle setting (which is what you will probably use for hiking or climbing). A long 4 second press will activate a red flash which indicates the switch has locked – very useful as there is nothing worse than reaching for your head torch to find no charge as it’s been on in the lid of your pack for 4 hours. Another 4 second press and it unlocks and switches on.

The Petzl Actik Core uses a hybrid system of battery power which is really useful – I first came across this is my review of the LED Lenser SEO 7R which I found extremely useful. The Actik Core is easier to use and more compact than that but it uses a similar removable micro USB rechargeable battery which can be replaced with 3 x AAA batteries for when you will be off grid – think multi day trek in remote areas or multi day mountaineering activities. Having 3 x AAA Lithium batteries in the top of your pack will be lighter than packing a second head torch. It will, of course, take 3 x AAA normal zinc or rechargeable NiMH batteries. If you wish you can purchase an extra Core unit and have that fully charged and ready to deploy. So, as you can see, the hybrid system is super versatile for every budget. So far, I’ve not needed to do any of that as it’s lasted more than enough for my day to day activities.

Easily charged at home using the supplied micro USB cable. It can also be charged in the car, portable battery or solar panel.

The core unit is accessible from the back and can be charged in situ using the supplied micro USB cable. It took about 2.5 hours to fully charge on first use and about 2 hours on subsequent charges. The head torch has a charge indicator built in – green for 50%+ charge, orange for less than 50% and red for less than 10% when the light goes into reserve mode. Other nice features include a phosphorescent glow when switched off for location, an adjustable and removable headband with reflective flashings and a weatherproof IPX4 rating. Once the headband has been removed (which is tricky to do but there are some YouTube videos to help) the headtorch will fit the excellent Bike Adapt 2 which you can then use on your bike. Its also light at 88g (our weighed in at 84g) and compact so will stow neatly into your pack lid. There is full 360 degree rotational adjustment.

The phosphorescent ring around the bulb was really useful for locating the Actik in a pack or tent.

The Petzl Actik Core is a great, versatile head torch that you will find very useful for a variety of outdoor activities from hardcore mountaineering to staggering back from the pub or commuting to work. It’s lightweight, compact and the hybrid battery system means that you should always have light when you need it. The light comes with a bag which acts as a diffused lamp, so place the headtorch in the bag, cinch it up and hang it by the headband from the tent ceiling and hey presto! a tent lamp.

For those on a budget it can be bought as just the Actik and for those who like more reassurance or are heavy users the Core battery can be bought separately. A really good and useful addition to your outdoor kit list.

The Petzl Actik Core comes in 4 colour options. The SRP is £70.00 and we are supporting indie retailers so it be bought from The Climbers Shop, Needlesports and Outside.

Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!

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