The Petzl Bindi is a lightweight, but powerful rechargeable headlamp that weighs 1.2 oz (35 g). With a light output of 200 lumens, it’s perfect for backpacking, hiking, camping or trail running, with white and red light modes. The Bindi has a built-in battery and a micro-USB recharging port with an easy-to-read battery meter so you can tell when the headlamp is running low on juice or fully charged. Two different locks, one digital and one physical, prevent accidental activation of the headlamp when its packed.
Light Intensity and Color
The Bindi is a small headlamp, but don’t let that fool you. Both the white and red light modes will hurt your eyes if you look directly into them. That said, the battery capacity of the Bindi (680 mAh) is about half that of other rechargeable headlamps, making it more suitable for in-camp use where the battery life will be longest and not for extended night hiking or trail running in the dark. See SectionHiker’s Gear Guide: 10 Best Rechargeable Headlamps for a list of the best rechargeable headlamps that we recommend.
For example, the Bindi has three white light intensities: low (5 lumens), medium (100 lumens), and high (200 lumens). The lower the intensity, the longer the battery will last: the low setting will burn for 50 hours, the medium setting for 3 hours, and the high setting for 2 hours. There’s no way to dim the light in between these settings or to focus the beam, which is set to a broad flood light spread.
The battery life in red mode is significantly better, but it is also better for in-close nighttime tasks like reading a map or sitting around a campfire. The red light comes with two settings, a low intensity light that burns at 1 lumen for 33 hours and a strobe light, good for night cycling or running that will burn for 200 hours and is visible from 400 meters.
If you do drain the Bindi battery unexpected fast, it has a unique white light reserve mode that will continue to burn for 90 minutes at 3 lumens. While dim, this will give you enough light to get you settled for the night in your sleeping bag or an emergency bivy sack. This is a fairly unique safety feature among headlamp manufacturers, but a quite useful one, given the Bindi’s limited power capacity.
Control Login, Battery Meter, Lock
The sequence of button presses used to control the Bindi is completely digital but easy to enumerate by pushing the control button repeatedly (even if you can’t remember them), in order to cycle through the white and red lights and their intensity levels. Petzl’s documentation for this headlamp is also very good and available in both graphic and written form. I dislike headlamps that have complicated push button control sequences because I don’t use them frequently enough to commit them to memory. Simplicity is a benefit, for me, at least.
When to you start the Bindi, the battery meter will display a colored light for 4 seconds that indicates the headlamp’s charge level. There are three energy ranges indicated by red, orange, and green lights, that correspond to 0-33%, 33%-66%, 66%-100% level charges. While these levels are directional are directional at best, you can mitigate the risk of running out of power by recharging the headlamp after each use and by carrying a portable battery, even a small one to recharge it if necessary.
The Bindi has two locks to prevent accidental activation. A long 4 second press on the control button will digitally lock the headlamp, while a subsequent 4 second press will unlock it. Alternatively, or in addition, you can flip the headlamp upside down in its cradle. This blocks access to the control button and reduces the chance of accidentally pressing it.
Cradle and Head Band
The Bindi swivels inside its cradle and can be pointed up or down a full 360 degrees on the angle you want it to the point if you’re using the head band. The cradle can also be use as separate stand to position the beam if you don’t want to use the head band.
The Bindi’s head band takes some getting used to. It’s just an elastic cord that pinches uncomfortably if you make it too tight. Unfortunately, it’s tightly integrated with the Bindi’s cradle not easily replaceable. While a more conventional headlamp headband would have been overkill for such a small light, I far prefer the ultralight head band on the classic Petzl e+Lite and wished Petzl had used that instead. It’s not a deal killer, but does diminish the desirability of the head lamp.
Do You Need a Rechargeable Head Lamp?
If you already carry a power pack to recharge your cell phone in the backcountry, it makes sense to switch to a rechargeable headlamp like the Bindi if you haven’t already. There’s a huge shift underway towards the use of standardized rechargeable electronics in the backcountry that can be recharged with portable power packs and micro-USB, Apple Lightning, or USB Type C cable connectors. I use to carry device-specific spare batteries for my cell phone, camera, GPS, satellite messenger, and headlamp. No more. I’ve since switched to devices that can all be charged by carrying a single power pack and micro-USB or lightning adapters. It makes packing for a trip simpler and cuts down on waste.
Comparable Rechargeable Headlamps
|Make / Model||Lumens||Lock||Red Mode||Weight (oz)||Price|
|Black Diamond Revolt||175||Yes||Yes||3.4||$60|
|Fenix HL 12R||400||Yes||Yes||2.6||$61|
|LED Lenser SEO 7R||220||Yes||Yes||3.2||$90|
|Nitecore NU 25||360||Yes||Yes||1.1||$37|
|Nitecore NU 10||160||Yes||Yes||2.3||$25|
|Nite Ize Radiant 250||250||No||Yes||3.2||$50|
|Petzl Actik Core||300||No||Yes||2.9||$69|
|Princeton Tec Axis Rechargeable||250||Yes||Yes||2.9||$60|
|UST Brila 580||580||No||Yes||3.4||$45|
The Petzl Bindi is an ultralight, mico-USB rechargeable headlamp that’s well suited for in-camp use on backpacking trips where you don’t need a long burning, high intensity light. While the Bindi does have plenty of light output at high power,if you need it, it doesn’t have a big enough battery for hiking all night or long multi-hour trail runs. However, it has an easy-to-remember control sequence and comes with a full range of premium features including white and red light modes, a red strobe light, a battery meter, and 2 locks to prevent accidental activation. If you’re looking for a high quality, ultralight USB-rechargeable head lamp you’ll have a hard time topping the Petzl Bindi. Add in the fact that Petzl provides a 5 year warranty, you really can’t go wrong with it. Highly Recommended.
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