By Ian Fielder
There is a multitude of companies producing high quality pen lights on market. Most of these lights are pretty standard and have fairly common set of characteristics. If you are not a flashlight collector it is easy to overlook products. Generally, when I am looking for a new flashlight I want a brighter light and can carry it in a pocket. Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to use the Coast HP3R rechargeable LED pen light and have been extremely impressed by its functionality and technical features.
The Coast HP3R is a rechargeable LED pen light that is manufactured from lightweight aluminum. It weighs in at 1.8 ounces and is close to 6 inches in length. The barrel diameter is measured at .63 inches and includes a removable clip. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery or a pair of alkaline AAA batteries. The rechargeable battery on high output setting provides 245 lumens for 1.5 hours. Using Alkaline batteries, it illuminates at 86 lumens for two hours. On the low output setting the rechargeable battery provides 26 lumens for six hours and the alkaline battery lasts 26 hours at 10 lumens. The different batteries and settings also give a variety of maximum ranges. Using the rechargeable battery, the flashlight will project out to 305 feet on high power and 102 feet on lower power. The Alkaline batteries will project out 180 feet and 62 feet respectively. One of the best features of the flashlight is its twist focusing mechanism. Coast’s name for it is the Universal Focusing Optic System. The mechanism is smooth and easy to adjust the beam from spot to flood. Even more noticeable is the extremely clear bright white light that doesn’t have any dark rings that you often get with other flashlights. Turning the flashlight on and off is achieved with a rubberized tail cap. Moving between high output and low output is accomplished by clicking the tail cap a second time. By far the coolest feature of the flashlight for me is all of the charging options that come with the light. A quarter turn and slight pull of the barrel near the tail clip will unlock the charging port. The Coast HP3R comes with AC, DC, and USB adapter, which provide enormous flexibility in recharging the battery. So whether you are on the road, on vacation, in the office, or out in the woods multiple options exist to keep the flashlight functional. The Coast HP3R is water resistant and comes with a lifetime warranty.
I took the Coast HP3R on three trips to the beach for the express purpose of testing it while walking on the beach at night. Using the rechargeable battery on its high output setting the HP3R was awesome to use. On the second trip in Myrtle Beach I stayed in a condo that was several stories tall. From the balcony facing the beach I was able to project the light out into the surf. It easily illuminated the beach sand far below especially with the beam focused down to its smallest setting. When walking on the beach I used it to look for crabs in the water. There were a lot of people doing this activity and the Coast HP3R was the by far the brightest flashlight on the beach.
Last fall I went on my second hunting excursion in Western Pennsylvania and the Coast HP3R was my flashlight of choice for getting into the woods long before dawn. I charged up the battery using the AC adapter the night before and it was ready to go by morning. Moving across a brush covered field was a relatively easy trek using the light. I used it at wide focus so that I could avoid thorns encroaching on the cut path. Once I got to the tree line I focused down the beam to illuminate the treacherous path of fallen trees and thorn bushes. The 245 lumens of the flashlight was more than enough to get me safely to a spot in the woods for a gray dawn and no deer.
The last test I used the Coast HP3R was around my house. I purposefully, late at night, turned the lights out and walked around my basement and garage to locate various objects. For these tests I switched back and forth between the high and low output settings. Both settings were sufficient for use in doors and it allowed me to easily and safely navigate both basement and garage hazards.
The best features of the Coast HP3R all have to do with battery use and recharging. The flashlight comes with one rechargeable lithium polymer battery. It can also use 2 AAA alkaline batteries. Versatility is important when using this flashlight over extended periods of time. While the lithium battery allows for more light it comes at the cost of less time. Alkaline batteries give less light but last a lot longer especially on the low output setting. If I were to take this hiking or camping where I cannot recharge the batteries using the AC adapter I would add a couple of pairs of AAA batteries to use once the rechargeable one is done. What would be interesting is to get a small portable solar charger and use it to recharge the lithium battery. I currently do not own one but I think this would be a great way to keep the rechargeable battery powered up.
The only extremely minor issue with the HP3R would be the lack of a lanyard. This is by far the best flashlight that I have personally used for an extended amount of time and a lanyard would have been especially useful to me when hunting. There were a couple of times when maneuvering through brush and thorns that I almost dropped the flashlight.
Overall, the HP3R is the nicest, most technologically sophisticated flashlight I have ever used. It offers a lot of flexibility in terms of battery use, recharging options and all around quality. Having used the HP3R for several months it is my go to flashlight for any and all tasks. It is water resistant as I submerged it in water and it didn’t stop functioning. In addition, I am impressed by the packaging and accompanying literature with the flashlight. The box is durable with foam cutouts, bags for the chargers, and color printed reference card that is also repeated on the exterior of the box. Kudos to the staff at Coast for the presentation of the product as it is some of the nicest I have seen.
The MSRP for Coast’s HP3R is listed at $94.99 according the company’s website. A search of the Internet will find prices generally about a third less than list. I believe that it is a great product and completely worth the money. If you are in the market looking for a solid rechargeable pen light, then I highly recommend the HP3R.
For more information:
Find the Monkey on Facebook!