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The Wilder Blog

REVIEW: Petzl Nao+ & Petzl Reactik+ Reactive Head Torch Head Comparison

by Hanny Allston 14 Dec 2017

I have to say, before I even start this review, that the Petzl Head Torch range is phenomenal and definitely comes with my highest recommendations. What makes these torches so awesome is the comfort of the housing and the fact that they do not bounce at all. This is an absolute must when you are playing on trails an any movement in the housing will create a disconcerting, unsteady beam of light.

 Out of the entire range, I absolutely love my new beefy, brighter-than-car-headlights Petzl Nao+ and its less-bright but still ridiculously bright sister, the Petzl Reactik+ Reactive Head Torch. Graham and I own both of these two head torches. Technically, the Petzl Nao+ is mine, whilst Graham owns the smaller, less bright Petzl Reactik+ Reactive Head Torch. However, throughout the winter I used both as each has great advantages (and few disadvantages!).



This year, the Petzl Nao head torch underwent some updates. The most notable improvement was an increase in the maximum brightness of the torch, from 575 lumens to 700 lumens. I cannot begin to tell you how bright this is! You will honestly need to shield the torch with your hand when facing oncoming runners or traffic as it will blind them! That said, the torch is still reactive. What this means is that the torch has a sensor in it which monitors the reflection of light back onto you. This allows the torch to automatically dim the brightness when you are looking at something nearby, such as a map, sign or the trail at your feet, but then as soon as you look up the brightness intensifies into a 700-lumen beam again. This is just so, so good for picking up the definition of a trail, seeing the trail’s pathway off into the distance, and moving without hesitation over the terrain. Furthermore, the battery life has increased. If you have the torch on a constant 700-lumen beam, you can get 90 minutes of running out of it. However, it would be rare that you really need this brightness for a prolonged period. Instead, if you let the torch do its thing on the reactive setting, you can get a lot longer out of the battery life. On its dimmest 120-lumen setting, which is still super bright, you get a whopping 12 hours out of one battery charge, which takes approximately 6 hours to completely recharge.

Petzl Nao+ Reactive Head Torch Review Find Your Feet Hanny Allston Trail Running Ultra Running


  • BRIGHTNESS: Ridiculously bright 700-lumen maximum beam. For someone who has had an ankle reconstruction and needs to be careful on trails, this makes running on trails at night a breeze.
  • REACTIVE: The automatic reactive lighting is brilliant. It allows you to look up and see up to 140m in front of you, but then look down at the trail and be able to focus on the definition. This also gives you much longer out of one battery life.
  • BATTERY: The battery life has improved. I never run with mine on a constant 700 lumens so that I can get longer from each charge. Instead, I use the reactive setting which is much more energy efficient. However, if you need to, you can purchase spare battery packs which is ideal for racing in ultra-distance or longer duration night runs. The battery is charged with a small micro USB cable.
  • COMFORT: Despite the relative bulkiness of this torch, it is super comfortable. You can adjust almost every element of the fit to your head. I have a little head. Graham and bigger one. Both of us still find it super comfortable and there is no movement of the torch at all, creating a very stable beam of light on the trail.
  • RED LIGHT: Like most top torches these days, the Nao+ also comes with a red light. This is an important emergency feature and also useful for moving around a camp or tent at night.
  • BLUETOOTH: Yes, that is right, this head torch is compatible with any phone or tablet. There is a special app for your device which allows you to adjust the settings of your torch easily. For example, you can adjust the beams and the red lighting function via this app.



  • WEIGHT & BULK: This is really the only disadvantage I can see. The torch weighs in at around 185 grams and a it has the battery pack on the back of your head, it is a little more bulky. This could be the only challenge if you are really trying to get your weight down.
  • PRICE: Okay, I know someone will think it as the price is higher at $309.95 but I honestly think that the Petzl Nao+ Reactive Head Torch is worth every penny.



The Petzl Reactik+ Reactive Head Torch is the baby sister to the Petzl Nao+. The biggest differences are in the construction and in the brightness. The Petzl Nao+ has the battery pack situated on the back of the head. There is where the power of the head torch is stored. Conversely, the Petzl Reactik+ Reactive’s is located within the front housing of the torch. This makes it far less bulky and much lighter in weight, albeit not as bright.

Petzl Reactik+ Head Torch Review Find Your Feet Hanny Allston Trail Running Ultra Running

To summarize the main differences, here is a comparison table between the two:





Reactive Lighting



Max Brightness (lumens)



Battery Life (hours)

1.5 - 12

2.5 - 10

Back-up battery

Can get an additional space battery pack

Can get a cheap adaptor to make it AAA compatible

USB Charging



Red Lighting



Weight (grams)



Bluetooth compatible (for easy adjustments via your device)









In conclusion, I truly believe that either the Petzl Nao+ or the Petzl Reactik+ Reactive Head Torches are the best for athletes wishing to run or play harder and wilder on the trails. The brightness of the beams and the reactive nature of the head torches ensure that you never need to slow down or alter your activities. If you want brightness, go for the Petzl Nao+. If you want packability, then select the Reactik+ Reactive Head Torch.

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