The Coast FL75R Headlamp isn’t one to hold back on features. It packs in a rechargeable battery, a high powered 530 lumen LED, red LEDs for preserving night vision, an adjustable beam focus, and the ability to swap in AAA batteries if needed. But, how does it hold up in use?
The FL75R is built around a single powerful white LED that’s centered in the headlamp with an adjustable lens over top. A twist of the bezel adjusts the output from a concentrated beam, great for spotting glowy eyed critters in the dark, to a softer, wide diffused beam which is perfect for reading or moving around camp. There is also a duo of red LED lights, useful for preserving night vision. There are two power buttons on the headlamp, one on each corner of the lamp. One is for enabling the white LED with the other controlling the red LEDs. The headband is a simple adjustable single strap with embedded reflective triangles, attached to a tilting mount connected to the headlamp itself. Internally, the unit features a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be topped up via an included USB cable. It can be removed to swap in AAA batteries in the event that the battery dies, and the battery can be charged internally or externally to keep the headlamp free for use. The lamp has an 11 hour run time on low at 65 lumens, and 2 hours 15 minutes on high at 530 lumens. It also includes helmet clips, a car charger and a set of AAA batteries. It retails for 109.99 and weighs 3.2 oz.
What I liked
The light output on the FL75R is impressive. I rarely have to set the headlamp to anything higher than it’s lowest setting as it provides plenty of light to illuminate a tent or angry bush growling in the night. On high, the beam can cut through fog and cover an impressive distance of about 511 feet, which is far more than I’m likely to need. Having the ability, however, is quite nice. If I’ve lost my tent or trail in the dark, being able to spot things from afar is immensely useful. The dual red LEDs provide enough light to see up close without causing your eyes to readjust, losing your well earned night vision.
Being so powerful, it’s quite helpful that the beam is adjustable. A sharp 65 lumen beam is great for hiking down trails, but is pretty intense when trying to read a map. Thankfully, a simple one handed twist of the bezel widens the beam out over a fairly wide area, greatly reducing glare and enhancing perimeter viewing. It’s a simple feature that far too many headlamps do not accommodate, and having it on board has come in useful every time I’ve used it.
I’m becoming increasingly fond of rechargeable headlamps and this is especially true when they also allow for AAA battery use, as does the FL75R with it’s Flex Charge Dual Power System. If the battery dies, I’m not out of luck. I’ll just pop in a spare pair of AAAs and carry on. If I need to charge it, it can be done with the battery inside or outside the lamp, so I can top up the battery while the lamp is still in use or I can simply plug in the headlamp when I get home. It’s convenient, flexible, and very simple to use.
Using other lamps with a non-replaceable battery, I’m always stressing about depleting my battery. If that battery dies on the trail, me and darkness are getting familiar real quick. Instead, having the option to circumvent this issue means I can use my lamp more frivolously without worrying too much about conserving power. If it dies, I just swap in some AAAs and I’m back in business. Paired with the long run time of 11 hours, illumination becomes more of a luxury than a necessity.
The ability to avoid using disposable batteries saves money too. Thanks to the high capacity and efficiency of the design, I’ve never actually had to use disposable batteries to supplement the rechargeable, relying entirely on the included rechargeable instead. Every time I recharge, that’s money saved on disposables and it lessens the impact on the environment.
The headlamp itself is well built, and far above average quality in construction. Comprised of a stout plastic body, it’s waterproof, impact resistant, and can really take a beating if need be. It feels solid in the hand, almost like it’s one solid chunk of material, which is certainly a good sign. The band is soft and stretchy, yet maintains it’s rebound even after prolonged used, and the adjustable head clip has a brisk, satisfying click when adjusted. The USB port and buttons are covered by a waterproof rubber and gaskets, and it’s backed by Coast’s lifetime warranty, so if anything does go wrong, you’re covered. This is certainly a headlamp that I trust to provide years of high quality light.
Using the headlamp is simple, a quick click to either rubbery button and the tent lights up like Vegas. Having one button for white and one for red light means you don’t have to toggle through blinding white light when you’re trying to initiate the red LEDs. The buttons are textured, tactile and activate easily with a light click, so figuring it out in the dark is a non-issue. It’s easy to use with gloves too. The buttons sit down low, just below the top of the headlamp, lessening the chances of an accidental activation, and the band adjusts with a simple slide of the buckle.
What I didn’t like
While the headlamp is generally comfortable, it’s just “meh” comfortable. The head mount feels like a rounded piece of plastic, which it is. There is little more than the curvature of the plate and the strap to provide padding. While it’s adequate and causes no real discomfort, it could certainly be improved.
Aesthetically, it could use a little more attention. The red buttons don’t quite match the red band, and the reflective triangles look like polka dots from a distance. It’s not an ugly headlamp, but looks don’t match the quality of the lamp.
The Coast FL75R is built to take abuse, yet it’s still light weight, easy to use, and jam packed with features. That’s a balance that’s difficult to achieve, and it makes the FL75R an intriguing option. It has an LED powerful enough to provide ample illumination for any scenario , and I adore the ability to swap out batteries if the need arises. Thanks to it’s efficiency, and the ability to recharge the lamp while it’s still in use, I’m yet to drop a single penny on disposables, which saves me money and adds confidence while using it. The adjustable beam is instantly useful and quickly becomes second nature as I’m working in the dark, only adding to it’s flexibility. It’s fairly comfortable to wear, and the price is right for the features and quality it provides, even if it’s on the higher end of the spectrum. It’s an exceptional product and certainly one of the best I’ve ever tested. This lamp is going into my personal kit, and I cannot recommend it enough.
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For more information on Coast Portland and their excellent line of gear, check out coastportland.com
I wanted to send a special thanks out to Coast for their continued 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.