Petzl Nao: Self-Adjusting Headlamp for Fishing

April 23, 2012 By: timromano

Hey, get that light out of my face...

Does everyone need a 175-dollar, 355-lumen, self-adjusting, rechargeable, custom programmable headlamp for fishing?

That’s an easy question for me after a month and a half of using the new headlamp from Petzl called the Nao. Yes.

Granted, I’m a sucker for quality headlamps and have admittedly been a Petzl fan since the days of the ZOOM. I also tend to fish later than I should, in places that could use a healthy dose of light on the way out. Think gnarly back-country access.

In the past six weeks I’ve had the Nao with me floating the Green River in a drift-boat well into darkness, wading across the Colorado River in Gore Canyon at twilight, and when fishing my secret local stretch of a deep canyon near Boulder, Colorado until dark. I can say without question it is quite simply the best headlamp I’ve ever used.

Petzl calls their new headlamp’s technology “Reactive Lighting,” and it works like this:

Say you’re on a raft floating into the dark. You’re almost at the takeout, but can’t really see the bank. As soon as you lift your head from the map you’re studying in your lap the Nao almost instantaneously switches from a dimmed-down wider proximity beam to a narrowed beam made for distance. When I say much brighter I mean, much brighter. At 355 lumens you can do physical damage to your eyes if you look straight into the light. I was skeptical at first, but the technology really works well and is surprisingly fast. You don’t even notice the change in brightness. It’s almost instantaneous.

This is easily he brightest headlamp I’ve ever used. That said it is not obtrusive when focusing on objects are that closer or when the headlamp determines you need less light. You can of course, switch to a constant light output and use that setting if you like. The Nao uses a light sensor above two insanely high power LEDs, coupled with an on-board processor to make the most of out this technology. Benefits include:

Adapted lighting:
Changes the shape of the beam and the power of the headlamp instantly adapt to the need (lighting for close, medium or long-range vision), so the user always has the right amount of light.

A minimum of manual adjustments:
The headlamp automatically adapts to changes in surrounding light conditions, allowing the user to remain focused on the activity at hand without worrying about adjusting the headlamp.

Longer burn times:
The technology increases burn time, due to more efficient use of the rechargeable battery. Lighting adapts to suit the need, reducing the use of wasteful, unnecessarily powerful lighting.

The lamp also has a USB rechargeable battery, is water resistant, and even has “Petzl software that allows the user to maximize the NAO’s potential. Thanks to customized performance, the headlamp’s lighting power, burn time and distance can be adjusted. The user may choose from a range of pre-configured activity profiles.  For more versatility, personal profiles may also be created according to the user’s specific needs. Once the profiles are loaded into the NAO, they are easily accessed at any time.”

For those who are concerned about space and weight this isn’t the smallest headlamp by any means, but if you’re looking for a robust torch that can tackle almost any back-country fishing situation I would highly recommend it. It will be available from Petzl in July of 2012 and will cost $175.

For more on the Petzl Nao watch the video below or visit Petzl’s mini-site dedicated to the light.