COAST FL1R Micro Headlamp

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by Mary and Dr. Jim Clary

When we first saw this unit, we thought: “A cute little toy”. BUT, after checking it out and thinking about the possible uses, we changed our minds. This is No toy, it is a compact, serious piece of equipment that should be in every person's kit.

What threw us off was the reflective head strap. Why make a mini-headlamp when there are several outstanding high-lumen ones available (COAST HL8R and FL85, for example)? Then we saw the clip for your hat, pocket or coat. Ah, remove the head strap, clamp on the clip and you have a powerful unit for a multitude of uses. In your tent at night, when you need a reasonable amount of light to locate your glasses. In a hunting blind when you don't want a bright light scaring the critters, but you need some illumination to turn up the heat or find something you dropped. The list goes on and on. Situations where you need light, but not so intense that it is blinding and not so large as to be cumbersome or in the way.
All readers should be aware that there are quite a few small headlamps for sale in the “big box” stores, frequently next to the check-out lane. Their price is low and it's matched by their lack of quality. As such, caveat emptor for the junk.

Since there are so many mini-junk headlamps on the market, we should address the characteristics which set the Coast FL1R Micro-Headlamp apart from all the others. First of all, it is powered by an embedded COAST Zithion™ battery pack and includes a USB cable which allows recharging from “standard outlets, computer ports, and portable solar arrays”.

It has a wide angle flood beam of 300 lumens as well as a Red beam to prevent or reduce night blindness. And, importantly, there is a “power lock-out” which prevents the unit from accidentally turning on when in your pocket or backpack. To lock the FL1R, press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. To unock, repeat the previous procedure, pressing and holding the power button for 5 seconds. The cheap big box units do not have these features.

This unit is as tough as it is unique. It is rated at IP54 which translates to dust/dirt resistance and storm proof. And, it has been tested and rated to ANSI/FL1 standards (withstanding a 1-meter drop on a hard surface). It should be no surprise that this unit carries a Lifetime Warranty.

The specifications for light output are as follows:
Light Output: 120 lumens (low)
Beam Distance: 26 meters
Runtime: 3 hours & 45 minutes
Light Output: 300 lumens (high)
Beam Distance: 34 m
Runtime: 1 hour & 30 minutes
On/Off Button: Also serves as a battery life indicator. While the FL1R is charging the power button will flash red, when fully charged the power button will turn solid green.

We are still trying to figure out how they can sell this unit for only $34.99. At that price, one can afford to buy two, just in case.

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