Some products break the mold by being first. Others do it by making innovation accessible. Petzl's NAO headlamp revolutionized the headlamp market last year through a new feature called reactive lighting. The technology works thanks to an integrated light sensor which faces the same direction as a user's eyes and measures and analyzes reflected light. This information is then used to automatically adjust the headlamp's beam and light output to create the optimal lighting for any given activity. Like many cutting-edge products, though, the NAO's advanced features came at a steep premium of $175, putting it out of reach for most casual explorers.
A short 12 months later, Petzl has managed to package the same system into a new headlamp costing roughly half as much. While the NAO is still the brighter headlamp, the Tikka RXP still boasts a respectable 180 lumens of light output and a variety of useful features beyond reactive lighting. The integrated 1,800 mAH lithium-ion battery can be fully charged via USB in 4.5 hrs -- up to 300 times. Three AAA can also be swapped in via an optional battery pack accessory for situations where recharging is difficult. Either power supply is capable of providing up to 2.5 hours of use at max brightness or up to 10 hrs on the lowest setting.
Buyers can also tailor the headlamp's performance to their personal preferences via Petzl's free OS software, which provides options for adjusting the lamp based on pre-configured profiles like trail running, mountaineering and hiking, or setting light intensity, burn time and distance on an ad hoc basis.
Though reactive lighting helps extend battery life by efficiently manning power, the headlamp's two switch system allows wearers to switch to constant lighting in three modes of high, medium or low if desired. An integrated red LED can also be activated to preserve night vision, or set to blink for higher visibility in dangerous environments. There's a lock function that insures the lamp remains off when it's packed away, too.
All of these features combine to make the Tikka RXP one of the most advanced headlamps ever created -- and a at price that's far more obtainable for the average adventurer.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers