Dr. Jim and Mary Clary
With the advances in 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 $200. That brings us to the question, which one of the dozens available should you select?
The following criteria what we feel are essential for a headlamp that is suitable for hunters, campers and hikers:
1: Don't even consider those cheap bargain units 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, AAA batteries, or be rechargeable. Our reasoning for 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. The inexpensive units ($15 - $30) look good in the store but are constructed from kids-grade plastic that will crack out over time, even if you manage not to drop them.
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.
We previously tested and reviewed the COAST FL85 which met those specifications and determined that it was the best headlamp on the market for the price. So how do you make a superb headlamp better? Make it rechargeable, while retaining the ability to use conventional batteries. That is what COAST has done with the FL75R. It meets all of our criteria above and includes a Li-Ion battery pack
The primary control button on the front turns on the unit and controls the high or low lumen output. A twist of the bezel gives you the ability to switch from a wide floodlight beam to a long distance spot beam. The second control button switches the unit to a fixed red LED light which is very useful in a bind when you don't want to "wipe out" your night vision, but still need some illumination. That being said, you aren't going to break this unit unless you decide to use it as a hammer. The reflective safety strap is very beneficial during night use.
Beam Distance: 511 ft (156 m)
Runtime: 2 hours 15 minutes
Beam Distance: 177 ft (54 m)
Runtime: 11 hours
Color Options Available: black, red, green, blue and orange
Weight: 3.2 oz (90.71 g)
Batteries: LI-ION Pack or 3x AAA (all included)
LI-ION Pack Charger included: Ion pack can be charged inside or outside of the headlamp
IPX4 Weatherproof Rating
Now, we have a choice: One which uses AAA batteries (FL85) or one which uses either AAA batteries or a Li-Ion battery pack (FL75R). Since we bought both, we don't have to worry about which one to purchase. Our only worry is who gets to use which one in the field. Mary likes the FL75R (she keeps it recharged from her truck), while I like the FL85 since I always carry extra batteries in the field. Either way, one can't go wrong with these COAST headlamps.