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Coast HL40

rated 3.0 of 5 stars
photo: Coast HL40 headlamp

This is a rugged, basic headlight. It has a battery pack on the back that if you wear a warm hat over will keep the batteries warm and functioning much longer than typical hiking/backpacking headlights.


  • Works in the cold
  • Bright
  • Rugged design should last a long time


  • Beam spread is too wide and not adjustable
  • There is no switch lockout
  • No low output level
  • Not very comfortable



I was leading some night hikes last winter and both my Petzl and Black Diamond headlights were fading out after about 45 minutes in the cold (~20 degrees F). I switched over to lithium batteries from alkaline because lithiums are supposed to be less affected by cold. Didn't do a stopwatch comparison but they did not last much, if any, longer. 

What I needed was a light with a remote battery pack that would stay inside my jacket and be kept warm. In Home Depot I saw a headlight with a battery pack on the back of the head. Hmm, with a warm hat over my head and the battery pack maybe that would do the trick? The headlight cost $20, has a lifetime warranty, and can be returned to HD. Not much risk.

The light comes with three AAA alkaline batteries. With alkalines and a wool watchman cap the light does not fade in cold weather over an hour and a half.  

There are three Eneloops in it now in 75 deg weather.

It weighs about 4.5 oz. versus about 3.4 oz. for my other lights.  The weight, however, is split with some weight in front and some in the rear. A second strap runs over the top of the head.

All the straps need to be longer. I wear a small hat size so it's not so tight it causes a headache. But if you have a larger head it will likely be too tight.

I use the light on twisty, wooded trails so I can't estimate its range, but the claim is it puts out 300 and 100 lumens on its two settings. Hiking 18-minute miles on rough trails the lower setting works for me, though I wish it was a little brighter.  

The high setting is overkill. For tent reading I think even the low setting will be overkill.

The beam spread is wide, close to the edges of my peripheral vision. There is no hot spot and the beam's evenly diffused. I'd much rather the beam was more concentrated so the lower setting gave me better definition.

The wide beam also makes it too easy to "blind" others.

The battery compartment is rugged, made of a hard plastic with a thick rubber cover that seems like it would be pretty water resistant. I've never used it in the rain so I can't speak to that issue. The pushbutton switch is on the bottom of the light which would tend to keep water out of it. There is no seal evident. But the package states it is IPX4, weatherproof.


Unlike many headlights the controls are simple. One three-setting switch: high, low, off.

The light hinges down from its mount with no detents but works well. It just moves smoothly on its arc and stays where it's put. However, in adjusting the angle it is easy to depress the switch and turn off the light.  Pretty annoying.


Construction overall is solid.  The light and plate it's mounted to are metal, not plastic. There are plastic retainers that keep the wire under control. In the package are clips to attach the light to the outside of a hard hat.  

I've not tested the battery burn times except on the functional level as described. The package claims a burn time of 3.5 hours at 300 lumens and 14 hours at 100 lumens and ranges of 30 and 17 meters, respectively.

Overall this light does two things well. The design allows the batteries to be kept warm. It is well made.  Everything else would require tweaks to make it more than meh. But for 20 bucks it's a  reasonable deal if you need a light to work in the cold for a while. It's probably a lot better light than most people have in their glove compartment.


I've owned this product 8-10 months and used it about as many times in the field. I currently own three additional headlights. My experience using them has been hiking, backpacking, and household repairs in all seasons but luckily never in the rain. I do not have mountaineering or spelunking experience, but do use underwater lights SCUBA diving.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20, plus tax

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high low
Price Reviewers Paid: $20.00
Light Output 300 Lumens 100 Lumens
Run Time 3 h 30 min 14 h
Beam Distance 98 ft / 30 m 55 ft / 17 m
Weight 4.4 oz / 125 g
Battery Type 3 x AAA
Product Details from Coast »

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