The more you get involved in trail running, whether that is an early morning run, club event, or a race, you will probably need a means to light your way on the trail.
Right before my Bandera 100 km adventure , I knew I wanted a more powerful light source as compared to my older and less luminous Petzl Tikka Plus. I purchased the Petzl MYO XP and have used it in a 100 km and 100 mile attempt for about 11 hours of use. So I thought I would share with you my thoughts and experiences with this higher-end Petzl headlamp.
Out of the Box
The first few things I noticed after holding this trail running light source in my hands are the headlamp’s two main components; the Optical system (the light enclosure) and the engine (battery enclosure) connected at the back of the elastic strap.
Optical system’s noteworthy features:
- Light output of 85 Lumens (max).
- Wide or focused light beam by simply flipping an impact resistant wide angle lens.
- Compact push-button to click through three primary lighting levels and flashing mode.
- Even more compact push-bottom Boost mode button for use when a short duration boost of additional light is required.
- Battery-charge indicator that moves from green, orange, and o’crap red. The status is not visible unless you take the headlamp off your head.
(Wide beam (left) and Focused beam (right))
(Controls Top View: Boost (left), Lighting toggle (middle), Battery indicator (right))
Here is an example of the wide and focused light beam. I stood about four feet away from a door with the lights off.
Engine’s noteworthy features:
- Three AA batteries – Alkaline or Rechargeable
- Not compatible with Lithium batteries
- Battery life – 80 hours at maximum setting. Note, most LED headlamps lose their amount of light output over time so trail runners would likely have to replace batteries much sooner than 80 hours.
How much does the MYO XP weigh? Fully loaded, with three batteries, we are talking 175 grams. What the heck is 175 grams? That would be about 35 nickels!
Test Race Drive
The Bandera 100 km trail run became my test drive as I hadn’t had a chance to run a single mile with it before the race. Probably not completely smart but how confusing can it be – it’s a light!
First thing I had to do was put in three batteries. The whole process is quite easy in a controlled environment or in the field.
- Slide the head strap down off of the rubber battery cap.
- From the non-power cord side, pull back the rubber battery cap. The cap remains connected on the power cord side so it won’t disappear on you.
- Insert the batteries and slide the cap back over the battery holder.
- Slide the head strap back over the battery cap and you are good to go.
During the 100 km when nightfall arrived and 15 miles yet to go, the MYO XP was asked to provide some vision assistance. Once on the head, the fit was very comfortable. Although the battery pack is heavier than the Optical System, it actually felt fairly balanced.
Turning on the light was very easy – without gloves. The temps were cold in the evening and finding and then pressing the somewhat small button with gloves on didn’t work for me. With the finger tips available to provide sensory feedback – no problem.
I used the optimum (middle) power setting and it worked great throughout the rocky and technical terrain. If I was running faster, I would probably use the maximum setting to highlight things a bit more. It is nice to have the option to go one-brighter if desired.
Having my hands available to hold a water bottle, climb up large rock, or simply just run, is definitely a feature I appreciated with this light source.
My 100 mile experience was quite similar with the MYO XP. No issues with my lighting, my knee was another story.
One thing I did notice when clicking through the various light levels, OFF is one of them. So if you want to use a light level you just clicked past, you will have to accept some momentary darkness as you click through the OFF level. This wasn’t that big of a deal but a hold-button-down-for-five-seconds to turn the light OFF could be a nice future feature.
The Petzl MYO XP is not only functional, it is fashionable. Here are just a few of the possible ways to wear this stylish headlamp.
(Commando and backwards hat)
(Beanie and visor)
Note: Any hat with the bill facing forward can block a portion of the headlamp’s light. You can flip the hat/visor around or go commando, to eliminate this potential obstruction.
Nice Video Summary of the MYO XP
The Petzl MYO XP, is a headlamp that could satisfy many trail runners illumination needs, especially if you plan to be in the dark for an extended period of time and are able to be gloveless when pressing the lighting buttons. The fairly powerful range of lighting levels is definitely nice to have available.
If I was only planning to train or race in the dark for a fairly short amount of time with mostly solid footing conditions, I may consider going with the lighter and less bright Petzl Tikka XP2 (60 lumens – 88 g) or Petzl Tikka Plus2 (50 lumens – 83 g). I have an older Tikka Plus that I still use as one of my lighting options.
If you have never ran on the trails, in the dark, it can be quite a unique and enjoyable experience. A lighting option that works for you will only enhance that experience and open up new doors of adventure you never knew existed. Happy trails!
You can purchase the Petzl MYO XP at Running Warehouse (Shoes, Packs, Clothes, Lights, and more…plus 2-day free shipping!).
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
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Posted on 17 Apr 2010