Sunday, 29 September 2013

Less is More? The Petzl E+LITE (2013)

Back in April 2012 I reviewed the Petzl E+LITE. Since then, Petzl have upgraded the head torch. Or maybe more to the point, have put it on a diet. But is lighter with less features better? Let's see.
The new E+LITE ranges in price from just under £20 to around £25 depending on how much you shop around. I've also seen the older model for somewhere around £25 pounds, and I think this is significant. I'll explain.

The E+LITE has been on a considerable weight loss diet, from 28g to 27g. Maybe not too considerable until the first thing you notice on opening the packaging (infact before hand if you have owned the previous model) is the lack of a case. This could be a very serious omission, or at 26g a positive removal for gramme counters. It depends on your use of the E+LITE. For me as a hiker wanting the E+LITE as a 'pack and forget till an emergency device' the case is an excellent idea. It keeps out any nasties and protects the light from potential damage in a fall or accident. If you are looking at the E+LITE from an ultra light backpacking angle, then the newer version may well be the better purchase.


But the omissions go further. The metal clip has now been removed. The sprung loaded clip that for me made mounting the E+LITE, on equipment or my person, more flexible. The other omission is the whistle, the one that was part of the adjuster on the very thin headband. This is not so much of a loss as most hikers carry a whistle. But backups can be useful, especially when the weight loss is a total of one gramme.


There has also been a major change to the E+LITE, the material used on the headband. Gone is the thin nylon webbing, replaced by a ZIP retractable cord. This looks to be very thin cable with a protective sheath on the outside. The cable, according to Petzl, has a 20kg breaking strain, so caution is needed. But the tension the cord is under is spot on. The cable is quite easily pulled out and does not pull too much once wrapped around your head.

So is the new version better? It depends on who you are and what you need it for. If you are a mountaineer, or a potholer for example, then the older version with the protective case may be better. If you are an ultra light backpacker or hiker, then the new version may be better. Hopefully, between my two reviews, you can decide which one is better. But I would hurry up while the older version is still available.