The Coast HL8R is a high output rechargeable headlamp that emphasizes build quality and reliability. Boasting a very impressive output of 800 lumens, a swappable battery pack and an adjustable lens, it’s sure to brighten up any trail or campsite.
The HL8R includes a high capacity rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack with an exchangeable 4 x AA pack for using traditional batteries in it’s place. The powerful LED bulb can push a high powered beam up to 702 feet with a 4 hour and 15 minute run time, or a 180 foot beam for 62 hours, with a medium setting included as well. The light output is controlled by a simple twist of the dial located on the side of the lamp, and a push button located in the center of the dial activates the lamp. The focus of the beam is adjustable with a simple twist of the lens to enable a sharp concentrated beam or a wide soft glow. The headlamp is also hard hat compatible, along with many helmets. The lamp is impact and weather resistant, weighs 12.3 oz and retails for $179.99 with a lifetime warranty.
What I liked
The light output certainly holds up to the bold claim of 800 total lumens, punching through fog and darkness with no resistance at all. It’s far more power than I need on most occasions, but it’s nice to have it available in case that I do require something more. The incredibly bright bulb comes in handy when hiking down long dark trails, pursuing rescue operations or just working in a dark environment for extended amounts of time. Tuning it down to the lowest setting still results in a completely usable brightness, excellent for around camp or even while hiking at night without blinding fellow hikers. It also allows for an absurd burn time lasting up to several days.
I’ve been wholly impressed by the overall build quality of the HL8R. There have been no corners cut here. The Bands are generously built of thick elastic nylon, the cables are thick and well reinforced around the plugs, connects twist lock together to avoid coming undone, and the battery packs have a hard durable shell with a twist lock to keep out the elements. Depressing the power button results in a very satisfying click, and rotating the output knob is equally satisfying without slipping out of place during use. It’s obviously been designed to withstand abuse with a keen attention to detail, and this being the case I have no concerns about the long term viability of this beast.
Use of the headlamp is very straightforward and requires no use of the owners manual at all. Operating the head unit while in the dark poses no issues, with a simple button on the side of the unit to turn it on. It’s also easy to feel around for in the dark which makes it easy to operate when you cannot see at all, often when a headlamp is needed the most. Thanks to careful texturing and pronounced shape of the indented power button, I’ve never been left in the dark or fumbling around for it. Recharging is painless, simply plug in the included USB cable and you’re good to go. Swapping out the battery pack is just as simple; Just twist the connect to break it free, unplug it, slide the pack out of the head mount and pop in the new pack.
The ability to switch between the rechargeable battery and the AA pack is quite handy. When temperatures are very low, a rechargeable pack may lose some or all of it’s charge. However, switching over to lithium AA batteries will keep you shining bright as they’re more resistant to cold temperatures and are unlikely to fail. It’s also nice to be able to switch out on the fly in case you need a lamp but it’s not been recharged, or perhaps you’re on day 5 of a rescue operation and have completely drained the battery pack.
The top head band does an excellent job of keeping the headlamp in place while hiking or moving about, and the removable helmet clips work great on many different types of helmets.The bands adjust easily without slipping, which provides a nice secure connection without being uncomfortable.
What I didn’t like
The HL8R certainly brings with it some mass and weight. While it’s worth the trade off in many situations, sometimes packing in a 12 oz headlamp and battery isn’t necessary. I find myself reaching for it when biking, working or when I just want the highest possible output, but doing long distance backpacking, or when I’m just generally concerned with weight and bulk it might not be my go to headlamp for those situations. However, it’s an excellent option to have around nonetheless.
Having a large battery pack results in a sizable panel that sits on the back of the skull when worn. While it’s not uncomfortable, it’s not ideal either. It feels like a large curved piece of heavy plastic, which it is and takes a bit of getting used to. Eventually, I found it to be quite comfortable after getting used to the bulk and weight.
The HL8R is an impressively designed headlamp. It provides ample light, power, and a robust set of features that most headlamps simply cannot touch. The impressively solid build and attention to detail in the design shows through, resulting in a rugged piece of equipment that can survive almost any situation. Hiking in the rain, rescuing lost hikers, working around the job site, or just commuting around town, having something so powerful yet simple to use makes it infinitely useful in a wide range of situations. Given the features and high capacity battery, it does come at a weight and bulk penalty. Still, the HL8R from Coast is an impressively solid option when reliability, burn time, or just raw output are top priority. Because of this, it’s easy to recommend such a well designed piece of equipment.
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For more information on Coast and their exceptional line of gear, check out https://coastportland.com/
I wanted to send a special thanks out to Coast for their support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.