I used the Coast FL75R on my thru hike of the Continental Divide Trail last year. It's an extremely bright headlamp and its wide to narrow beam focusing sets it apart. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty damn good...
- 530 lumens
- Adjustable wide/narrow beam
- Rechargeable through Micro USB
- Has a red LED
- Can turn on easily inside your pack
- Low beam is a little too bright
- No “memory” mode
The FL75R has two buttons, the left button as seen in this picture actuates the main lamp and the right button turns on the red light. One click of the left button activates High Beam (530 lumens), another click switches to Medium (Unlisted) and one more for Low (65 lumens) then once more to turn it off.
I would prefer it if the light remembered which mode you used previously and went to that mode when you turned it on, but switching between modes is quick and simple.
530 lumens for high beam is really, really bright. Brighter than necessary for most applications. However, when you’ve hiked 25 miles and all you want is a flat area to set up your tent then throwing it on max brightness really gets the job done. Medium brightness is a great level for basic tasks like setting up your tent and cooking. One of the things I would change is how bright the lowest setting is.
On the lowest setting it still puts out 65 lumens which is a lot of light if all you want to do is read in your tent. I’d prefer something really low like 10 lumens, it would save on battery life and be softer on the eyes.
The buttons being as they are means the light can turn on very easily inside your pack, which to me is quite a design flaw. I think the buttons should be reconfigured somehow or the light should have a lock similar to some other brands. To combat this I open the battery compartment and flip the battery pack around when I'm not using the headlamp. An inconvenient neccesity.
Having a red light on your headlamp is essential in my opinion. If I wake in the night I don’t want to blind myself or my friends when I get up to pee. Using a red light maintains your night vision and gives just enough light to do basic tasks. You activate it by pressing the left button once, it only has one mode, turn it off by pressing again.
The ability to switch between an ultra wide beam pattern and a narrow, more powerful beam sets this light apart from some of the competition. I thought it might be gimmicky but it's 100% not. You turn the silver bezel to change between wide and narrow, most of the time I’ll leave it on ultra wide but the narrow beam is useful for looking for a campsite off in the woods or for spotting stuff in the distance.
Coast got the strap right on the FL75 R. It’s easy to adjust via the slide buckle. They’ve added reflective “dots” making it easier to find in the bottom of your pack with help from a friend's light. It’s stretchy but not too stretchy and where it attaches to the body of the headlamp is well designed. Overall it’s an extremely comfortable headlamp that can be worn for hours.
Another great feature of the light is the ability to use either the rechargeable battery pack or 3 AAA batteries. The battery pack can either be charged whilst inside the light using a Micro USB cable or you can throw in some AAA’s and charge the battery pack separately. For all the facts and figures on expected run times check out the Coast website.
In my usage on the CDT I found the rechargeable pack to last a long time before I needed to charge it. The ability to charge it on trail using my external battery pack was so convenient, I’ll never use a non-rechargeable headlamp again.
Point to note—A friend of mine used the non-rechargeable (AAA) version of this headlamp and reported pretty bad battery life. Also if the AAA version switches on inside your pack and you don’t have spares you could be out of luck. Best to remove one battery until you need the headlamp.
- 3.2 oz — Not the lightest but comparable to other headlamps with similar capabilities
- $59.97 on Amazon - A good deal in my opinion
- The headlamp comes in several different colours
- Listed as being water resistant on the website, there is an O ring inside the battery compartment. I wore the headlamp in pouring rain a few times with no issue but wouldn’t want to submerge it.
Hope you enjoyed the review!
Disclosure: Coast gave me the headlamp to test and keep, but all the feedback above is 100% honest and true.
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I kept the product after testing.)
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Historic Range: $79.79
3.2 oz / 90.71 g