Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Coast HP5R Rechargeable Flashlight

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My wife, bless her heart, is always making fun of me about all the flashlights I have all over the house, as well as in vehicles, and even on my person. Right now, there are three flashlights sitting on my two-drawer filing cabinet, next to my computer desk. On the end table, on my end of the sofa, sit three more flashlights, and there are three more on my nightstand. There’s always one in my jacket pocket, too, and let’s not forget the one or two on the kitchen table and some emergency battery-operated lanterns in the living room, and this is all just for starters. My wife stops poking fun at me when the power goes out. We live in the boonies, and quite often lose power. When that happens, what does she do? Yep, she reaches for one of MY flashlights; never mind that she has several of her own.

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It doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago that I was patrolling around a nuke power plant from sunset until sun rise with a K-9 partner, but that was more than 35 years ago. I carried a large flashlight, powered by a lantern battery. At that time, it was the only thing available that afforded me a strong enough battery to last a couple nights, and it also threw a decent light beam for a long distance. During my days in law enforcement and doing security work, I was found carrying an Aluminum Mag-Lite of some sort. They could also be used as a defensive weapon in a pinch. Still, the batteries neither lasted all that long nor threw a beam of light as far as I would have liked.

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Enter today! We have all manner of very small flashlights that have LED bulbs, can last for hours and hours, and throw a beam of light for several hundred yards, and the batteries last for an extremely long time. To be sure, I have at least half a dozen small flashlights that are powered by either AA or AAA batteries and use various types of LED light bulbs, and they last for hours on their highest light settings, plus they throw a beam of light hundreds of yards. That’s pretty impressive out in the boonies, when you hear something go “bump” in the middle of the night or one of my German Shepherds alerts me to something on our property (usually deer in the front yard or other small critters). In this situation, you need a good, powerful flashlight!

Many of the various little flashlights on the market today also come with an adjustable light beam. A simple turn or push of the head of the flashlight affords me a narrow beam of light that goes for hundreds of yards, or I can turn it in the other direction and have a floodlight that can light up my entire 10,000 square foot front yard. We also have some flashlights that have an adjustable power setting for reducing the amount of lumens it uses, thereby saving battery life, or for turning the lumens up as high as they will go. If that’s not enough, we have flashlights that have a “strobe” beam; it flashes rapidly and can disorient someone coming at me. Add that to a strobe beam that can signal SOS– three rapid flashing lights, three longer flashing lights, and three more rapid flashing lights. Plus, we have little flashlights that can change the color of the beam of light by simply turning the head of the flashlight. Then, let’s not forget little flashlights with a rechargeable feature. Whew!!!

Today, I’m featuring the Coast HP5R rechargeable flashlight, which is being sold by Coast. You can Google their name and find this particular little flashlight all over the Internet. The prices vary, from as low as $60 up to over $125. Coast produces flashlight, knives, and multi-tools, and they have been around for a while. Their website is www.COASTportland.com and are located in my adopted home state of Oregon.

A quick rundown on the many features of this little flashlight is in order. First of all, it operates off either a standard alkaline AA battery, which is included, or two Lithium Polymer AA batteries, whi are also included. What? Wait? It comes with three batteries, and two are rechargeable batteries? Yep; you read that right. It also comes with three different ways to recharge the two Lithium Polymer AA batteries. You can recharge them using the included USB cable from your computer, an AC wall cable, or a DC cable, which once again are all included in the box. You also receive a Nylon belt sheath, a belt clip, or a wall mount in the package. There is no need to purchase anything extra to keep your HP5R flashlight going and going.

The HP5R flashlight housing is manufactured out of aluminum, and there is a lanyard ring on the back end of the flashlight; a lanyard is included as well. This little AA flashlight turns out 185-lumens on high, and it will run more than 3 1/2 hours. Yes, you read that right; it runs 3 1/2 hours with one of the rechargeable batteries installed. Run time is less with a standard Alkaline AA battery. The Coast website states that this flashlight will run 4 1/2 hours; however, in my testing, it was only good for 3 1/2 hours when a battery is fully charged. Keep in mind, we are talking about a single AA rechargeable battery. The beam will travel more than 180-meters, so you can see something way out there, when the beam is focused. There is a rubber, waterproof rear switch that easily turns the light on and off, as well as using the strobe or the low light feature, which further saves battery life. The little HP5R is only 4.875-inches long and weighs a mere 2.6 oz!

Okay, let’s get this straight. This is a little flashlight that operates on a single AA rechargeable or standard Alkaline battery; can run on “high” for 3 1/2 hours, with a 185-lumens output; and can be adjusted for a narrow beam of light or a floodlight focus. Additionally, it comes with three batteries– two rechargeable and one Alkaline battery– with three different ways to recharge the rechargeable batteries and several different ways to carry it? YEP!

Where was this flashlight when I was a cop or doing security nighttime patrols? I was usually packing my Mag-Lite, with 3 D-sized batteries, that produced a beam of light that didn’t travel very far and had a run time that was maybe an hour or a little longer. Several times per week I had to purchase new batteries for it, and even though it was manufactured out of aluminum the thing was still heavy to carry, even on my duty belt.

This little HP5R can also be recharged while a battery in actually inside of the flashlight by simply turning the butt of the flashlight counter clockwise and pulling on it. It will reveal one end of the rechargeable battery’s end; that allows you to plug it into the wall, DC, or USB cable charger, or you can remove the rechargeable battery and replace it with the fresh and fully-charged second one. Remember, it’s included. Then you can recharge the battery that is run down. The charge time is about three hours! Also, you can install a standard AA Alkaline battery, although, as already mentioned, it doesn’t run as long as the rechargeable batteries do; it will run about 2 1/2 hours. Still, that’s nothing to turn your nose up at.

Did I happen to mention that you can also lock the head of the HP5R so that the beam of light stays focused for longer range use? Yep! To adjust the focus on the HP5R, you simply slide the head of the flashlight forward or rearward, depending on your needs. The strobe is sure nice, too. Simply use the rear on/off rubber button on the flashlight to activate the strobe on the flashlight. It really can disorient someone in very short order. Also, push the button to reduce the amount of lumens you need. You don’t always needs 185-lumens, do you?

I first heard about the Coast HP5R from the guys at the local gun shop that I haunt. They saw one at a gun show and bought one. I couldn’t believe what they told me about it, until they demonstrated all the features to me. They only had one. It was at least a month later when they found a source to purchase them for resale. I paid $70 for my sample, and don’t you know it; the wife wanted one, too. Yeah, it was the wife that pokes fun at me for having too many flashlights around.

When I let my dogs out at night for their final kennel break, I reach for the Coast HP5R flashlight. It gives me all the light I need, and the best part is that I don’t have to buy more batteries for it. When it gets run down, I simply replace the rechargeable battery in it and recharge the battery that was in it. I’ve only used the AA Alkaline battery to see how long it would run, not to use it daily in the flashlight.

Remember, you are getting a very small, high-quality flashlight that runs off of AA sized batteries, that you can recharge, and that has a long use life– at least 3 1/2 hours with about 185-lumens, and it comes with all the other features I already mentioned. I have owned some other small flashlights that run off of a single AA or AAA batteries, but none come close to this Coast HP5R flashlight. So, before you lay down your hard-earned money for a bigger and more expensive flashlight, take a close look at this little HP5R. I think you’ll be blown away with all the features in such a tiny package! Shop around for the best price on the Internet, before you lay your cash down.

– Survivalblog’s Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

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