Petzl Swift RL Headlamp

The Petzl Swift RL headlamp with 900-lumen brightness at only 100 grams is the newest and most powerful offering of the Petzl compact headlamps today.

This Article Was Last Updated On March 11, 2021

Featuring reactive lighting technology that instantly adjusts to provide the right amount of light for your needs. 

It is specially designed for dynamic activities in technical terrains such as trail running, mountain climbing, skiing, and backpacking.

All of these activities require optimum brightness and burn times with rechargeable batteries for intensive use.

Using an integrated light sensor, this headlamp can automatically adapt to changing light conditions which highly reduce the need for manual adjustment. Therefore, allowing you to focus on every task at hand. 

 True, it is not perfect, but we consider Petzl Swift RL Headlamp as one of the coolest innovations in lighting technology. It became one of our favorites when it comes to night time running and backpacking. 


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Petzl Swift RL Rechargeable Headlamp

Key Features

 Reactive Lighting Technology

Reactive lighting technology is a sensor that examines how much ambient light there is and reacts accordingly. Meaning, it will only give you the light you require. 

For instance, you’re hiking at night. When you look down on your map, Swift RL will instantly reduce output to a diffuse proximity lighting level so you can read without being blinded.

As you look back out into the distance to get your bearings, it will power up and project a bright spot beam cutting through the darkness allowing you to see further.

Petzl Swift RL Headlamp is excellent in constantly adjusting to provide the right amount of light at any given moment.

It keeps manual adjustment to a minimum and lets you keep your hands free for other things such as moving around inside your backpacking tent at night.


Compared to the old Reactik Headlamps, Swift RL has greater luminous efficacy or the ability to convert energy from the battery into visible light.

Giving out 900 lumens at maximum brightness, it outperforms previous Petzl Reactik headlamps in all conditions.  

The white-light color is well balanced and right on. You get to choose from two light modes, namely reactive and standard light.

It has a one-spot beam that helps you see close objects without blinding and one wider beam that lets you see your surroundings clearly. 

The reactive lighting is just superb, it adjusts according to your position and distance. With a headlamp such as swift RL, blindly looking into your maps at night will not be a problem at all.

Single Button Operation

Swift RL is much easier to operate. By one push-button found on top of the unit, you can cycle through all modes.

You can toggle between short and long presses, so this allows you to get back and forth from reactive lighting to manual settings. 

The sliding lock button for safety is nice, it will prevent the lamp from accidentally turning on inside your bag or during transit which also eliminates wasting of battery life. 


This headlamp is made of high-quality plastic and available in three colors: orange, blue, and black. It is a very lightweight headlamp, only 100 grams that it is convenient for both young and old to use. 

The style of the adjustable head strap is functional. It is thick and strong and has reflective areas on the strap adding visibility at night.

It feels very comfortable and firm with soft lining around the forehead and a double strap system at the back.

The lamp can swivel up and down, so it points ahead if worn around the neck. For a headlamp intact with eminent features all in one compact unit, make it unquestionably a superior headlamp.


The headlamp is powered by a 2350 mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery, which by the way is included in the box. Battery life depends on how you use the headlamp.

Base on testing here is the verdict of how long the batteries can last.

Maximum output of 900 lumens with reactive lighting and a beam distance of 150 meters, battery life can last for 2 to 30 hours. In our case, this much power is not needed for walking so we don’t use it much.

The standard output of 300 lumens with reactive lighting and a beam distance of 55 meters, battery life can last for 5 to 40 hours. We find this setting suitable for walking even on a rocky path on a night trek. 

While inside the tent, 10 lumens are enough to give you bright light and it can last for 10 to 100 hours.

The added 5-level gauge battery indicator is very helpful, especially when charging. Unlike when you only have to look at the green and red lights as an indicator.

Now, you don’t have to over-charge it, so just you’re sure it is completely charged. 

Most importantly, you can monitor your battery usage and adjust your consumption according to every situation. Charging is done via a micro USB connection on the base of the lamp.


Petzl is popular for quality headlamps with a price ranging over $150.00. But with the Swift RL price of around $120.00 makes it a more affordable option for outdoor enthusiasts in need of a great headlamp.

man beside a fire wearing a headlamp

The Benefits Of This Product   

Reactive Light Technology, allowing optimized energy consumption in burn times. It only gives you the efficient light needed for any situation resulting in better battery life.

900 lumens of brightness make this headlamp a game-changer for fast-moving activities like sprint running and tactical cycling at night.

Durability, this headlamp is made tough. It can handle simple falls without breaking unless you purposely throw them hard. It will still function well even after falls. 

Simple and easy one-button operation makes life easier when toggling back and forth from reactive lighting to manual settings. You don’t have to deal with a dual-button system or pressing lock/unlock buttons.

Less manual operation, instinctively adjust brightness and beam pattern according to the situation at hand promoting lesser manual operation.

Water-resistant, it has a water-resistance score of IP X4. Meaning it is resistant from water splashing in any direction minimum of five minutes. Works well in light to medium rain without issues. 

Moderately expensive headlamp compared to other Petzl headlamps, if you’re on a tight budget but need a robustly functional headlamp, Swift RL is your best option.

The versatile light setting, you can bring this lamp in almost all of your outdoor adventures that require optimum lighting without difficulty.

Ergonomic head strap design with two-part construction for adequate stability every time you’re engaged with intensifying activities.

Battery, compared to the Reactik’s, Swift has about 33% more capacity, that said it projects higher luminosity which can be a great advantage when you go for a night wildlife tour. 


  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Optimum brightness
  • Single-button operation
  • Head strap comfortable feel around the head


  •  The battery takes six hours to fully charge which is not very practical if you’re out on an extended trip.
  • Spare batteries are too expensive, it is almost half of the price of the headlamp.


Questions and Answers

 Q: How is it different from other Petzl headlamps?

 A: Honestly, Petzl Swift RL Headlamp is Bindi’s big brother. This headlamp is more about innovation and comfort. Swift RL is an all-in-one unit.

It has a single operation button, very lightweight, and is designed with a two-part detachable and washable head strap with ample padding.

Also featuring reactive light technology as the previous Petzl Reactik series, its light output of 900 lumens is the one that makes all the difference.

Q: What is the advantage of having Reactive Light Technology?

A: The main advantage you will get from using a headlamp with reactive light technology is its ability to instantly provide you the right amount of light or brightness at any given situation.

It automatically brightens when needed and dims as necessary. This also calls for lesser manual operation, which you can benefit from especially if you need to hold your trekking pole or climb up the mountain. 

here’s a tip or two

  1. Make sure your headlamp is fully charged before you leave.
  2. It will be smart to bring a power bank or an extra battery or headlamp for several day’s trips.


Petzl Swift RL is noticeably quicker in reaction time compared to the previous Petzl series of Reactik headlamps. Whenever you stare at your feet on a lonely stretch of road the beam is more dispersed.

The best thing about it is when you look up to your surroundings, the beam quickly switches to a wider spot mode. That is just how amazing it accurately and quickly adapts to situations.

For our final thoughts, this headlamp can be your all-around head torch, as long as you can live with the six hours of full charge time then you won’t have a problem.

The brightness is astonishing, it’s single-button operation is life-saving, and the lightweight is just what you need to lessen your sweat. 

We could say that Petzl has done it, they have truly packed the power of reactive lighting into a compact, lightweight form factor perfect for your next adventure.

If you have any more questions about the Petzl Swift RL headlamp, I’d love to hear them and I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.

For an amazing range of quality headlamps for your next camping hiking or other nighttime adventure, be sure to check out my Best Headlamps article for a great comparison that will help with your purchasing decision.

You may also like to read my in-depth review of the very good Petzl Tactikka Headlamp for a good comparison that may assist you and help with your purchasing decision.

Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.





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