Tactical headlights are a must have item in the military, but also for outdoorsman. While the European market is dominated by Petzl the US competitor is Princeton Tec.
After using various Petzls for almost a decade I decided to give Princeton Tec a try. The Quad is the minimalist LED model in Princeton Tecs line of tactical headlights. It is fed by three AAA Batteries, which are readily available all over the world. Batteries are encased on the right behind the four LEDs which obiously gave the Quad its name. To insert the batteries you have to unscrew the backplate, this can be done with a screwdriver or with the supplied tool, which is integrated into the headstraps harness system. Genius. Thanks to the screw and a rubber ring the case is waterproof, rated to IPX7. That’s a huge advantage, compared to its main competitor, the Petzl Tactikka, which is only IPX4 rated.
As I said before, the Quad is a minimalist system that really offers the baseline of what a military system should be capable of. The light pattern of the Quad is not a fancy spot but a floodlight pattern, to enhance peripheral vision. So the main use of this light is orientation and not signaling.
Speaking of the light pattern, there are three grades of brightness. With the highest being a solid 78 lumens, reaching 50 metres,the lowest being a moonlight mode, covering roughly 15 meters. There is also a strobe mode, for SAR and marking purposes. Princeton Tec says that on the highest Mode the light runs about 80 hours. I can confirm that after some months of use I did only change the batteries once. This great runtime combined with the waterproof casing makes the Quad an excellent backup and GP light. I always carried the Quad in my pant pocket during exercises and never really cared to handle it kindly.
The light is supplied with a red, a green and a blue lens. Switching the lenses is done by simply lifting the front of the light case and then sliding a new lense into place, you can now switch from the installed lense to white light. This is a simple way to change colors without needing to learn complex button functions. Activating the light is done by a center button on the top, which is the only operating element on the light. The first mode is the moonlight mode. To switch the modes you need to click the button rapidly. Two times for medium, three for high and four for strobe.
As usual for headlights, the light features a 25mm two point harness, which is adjustable and made of rigid elastic. The only thing iam missing is a way to store all three lenses. But given the fair price of the Quad I think it’s not far fetched to buy more than just one light.
All in all this light is a product that is all around no bullshit and just KISS. Its not a fancy „Lumen Monster“ that will burn out everyone’s eyes, but exactly that is the point of the Quad. It’s also soldier proof and will withstand rough use and river crossings. So the Quad will permanently replace my Petzl. If there is anything I would change it would be adding a pouch for the two remaining lenses, as I already lost one.