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Coast FL1R Micro Headlamp Review

Coast FL1R Micro Headlamp Review

The Coast FL1R Micro headlamp is a rechargeable ultralight headlamp with white and red LEDs and a simple control sequence that doesn’t require memorization to use. Weighing 1.7 oz, it has a battery meter and a lockout mode to prevent accidental activation in your backpack. The light swivels up or down so you can direct the beam where you need it. In addition to a headband, the FL1R comes with a clip that you can attach to a billed cap or webbing strap if you want to mount it another way.

Specs at a Glance

  • Best use: Backpacking
  • Rechargeable: Yes
  • Bulbs: 1 LED / 2 red LEDs
  • Red Light Mode: Yes
  • Light Output: High: 435 lumens; low: 160 lumens
  • Beam Distance: High: 42 meters; low: 25 meters
  • Average Runtime: High: 1 hr. 15 min.; low: 4 hrs. 45 min
  • Battery: 630 mAh lithium polymer
  • Charging Compatibility:¬†Micro USB port
  • Water Resistance Rating: IPX4
  • Weight: 1.7 oz

The Coast FL1R Micro headlamp is a small, lightweight rechargeable headlamp that is easy to use because it does NOT have an elaborate control logic system. You can access all of the functions (flood low, flood high, and red) by simply cycling through the single button at the top of the headlamp where a single long press locks the light or unlocks it. I value that level of simplicity because I can’t remember the control logic of more complicated headlamps since I don’t use them frequently enough.

The Coast FL1R Micro has a comfortable headband and a swivel head so you can point the light where you need it.
The Coast FL1R Micro has a comfortable headband and a swivel head so you can point the light where you need it.

When it comes to buying a headlamp for backpacking, it’s important to have a light that has white and red modes: the latter to preserve your night vision and not blind your friends when sitting around a campfire, and a lockout mode to prevent accidental activation and power drainage when it’s not in use. Those are the minimal must-haves and the Coast FL1R Micro has them all.

I also like headlamps with rechargeable batteries because it eliminates having to replenish and dispose of individual alkaline or lithium batteries and because I can recharge the headlamp in the field with the small battery pack I carry to recharge my other devices like my smartphone. The FL1R Micro requires a MicroUSB cable, which is sufficient given that the battery is relatively small.

What the FL1R Micro doesn’t have is a strobe, a dimming capability, a huge battery, and can’t be run while it’s charging. If you need those features because you want a light that you can wear when cycling at night, for fine task lighting, or for hiking at night, then the FL1R Micro is probably not for you. Coast does make a lot of other much more powerful headlamps though and I’d encourage you to check them out. They’re remarkably affordable and Coast’s product warranty and support are nothing short of phenomenal, so they’re really good values.

A clip is included so you can attach the headlamp to a billed cap.
A clip is included so you can attach the headlamp to a billed cap.

Personally, I don’t need a very sophisticated headlamp for backpacking because, like many hikers, I go to sleep at hiker midnight when the sun goes down. I really only use a headlamp for quick bio breaks during the night or for reading, but the low setting on the FL1R Micro is perfectly sufficient for that, and the battery usually lasts for the duration of my trip.

The clip attachment bundled with the FL1R Micro is also a nice feature. It snaps into the headlamp’s swivel mount so you can aim the beam the same way. If you like wearing a billed cap and want a headlamp that’s compatible with it, this is a good option. The headlamp is lightweight enough that it doesn’t pull the hat bill down and remains quite comfortable when worn in this fashion.

Recommendation

The Coast FL1R Micro is a rechargeable ultralight headlamp that can be worn with an elastic headband or clipped to the bill of a cap. It has white and red LED lights, a battery meter, and a lockout function so it won’t accidentally drain in your backpack. But the feature I like best about it is its simple control logical logic which cycles through its lighting options (white low, white high, and red) with a simple press of one button which is ideal if you only use it occasionally or hate headlamps with complex control logic. The Coast FL1R Micro isn’t for everyone, but if you want a simple and relatively inexpensive LED headlamp, it’s a great option to throw into your backpack.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

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