COAST HL8R Lumen Rechargeable Headlamp
By: Mary & Dr. Jim Clary
With the advent of LED technology, the variety of headlamps available to the sportsman has literally exploded. They come in all sizes, luminosity and prices. You can find them priced from as low as $20 to over $250 (which is a bit extreme in our opinion). That brings us to the question, which one of the dozens available should you select?
We put together the criteria that we feel are essential for a headlamp that is suitable for hunters, campers and hikers:
1: Eliminate from consideration those cheapies that you find at the checkout lines of the big box sporting goods stores. They are more suited as toys for your kids than as units that you might be depending upon with your life.
2: The unit must use conventional AA or AAA batteries. The reasoning behind that is availability. A lot of units use CR123A, CR2032 or CR2016 batteries which are not only expensive but difficult to find in a lot of locations around the country.
3: The unit must have a minimum output of 200 lumens, and preferably having the ability to focus out to 100 yards.
4: The unit must be tough enough to survive the impact of a fall, being stuffed into the bottom of a backpack or dropped into the back of a truck.
5: Finally, it would be nice if the unit has more than a 60 day or one year warranty. When you look at all of these criteria, the majority of the units drop out.
The HL8R utilizes a rechargeable battery pack as well as a 4 AA battery pack. At full luminosity of 800 lumens it yields a runtime of 1 hour 45 minutes and a beam distance of 214 meters. The low setting produces a luminosity of 90 lumens with a runtime of 8.5 hours and a beam distance of 70 meters. These values have been tested and rated to ANSI/FL1 standards.
The body and battery compartment of the HL8R is constructed from the same high strength polymer that is used in the frames of many semi-automatic pistols. The unit carries the Coast Lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship and is IPX4 rated for water resistance and drops on hard surfaces of one meter. That being said, you aren't going to break this unit unless you decide to use it as a hammer.
The additional specifications for the HL8 are:
• Pure Beam Focusing Optic – packs two beams into one with no halos or hot spots
• Twist focus – to transition between spot and flood beams by rotating the head
• Hinged beam – up, down or straight ahead
• Batteries: 1 lithium- ion battery or 4 x AA alkaline batteries (included)
• Removable battery pack with 3-foot (91.5 cm) extension cord
• 4 hardhat clips
• Adjustable elastic straps
• Easy to operate side light output control dial
• Hinged beam adjustment to position light where you need it
• AC/DC adapters with USB cord included – pack can be charged on or off the headlamp
• Weight: ~12 oz. (including batteries)
With an MSRP of $125, it costs a bit more than comparable units, but you get so much more for your money that is worth the cost. Coast includes clips for the head straps to attach them to hardhats, should you need the HL8R in your job. And, the capability of removing the battery pack from the unit and clipping to your belt is an extra bonus.
As we said in the beginning of this review, the only thing that some folks might not like about the HL8R is the weight when compared to the 6-8 ounce weight of other units. However, when you consider all of the features in the Coast, the lighter units pale in comparison. We will take the Coast HL8R with us on all of our future expeditions into the wilderness with complete confidence that it will not fail to perform.