Some guys collect flashlights like they collect guns or knives. Not me—I hate flashlights. Why you’d want to hold a light in your hand is a mystery to me when you can opt for a headlamp instead.
It doesn’t matter if I’m hiking back to my pickup after an evening of bowhunting whitetails, or sneaking into a turkey hotspot long before sunrise, I want my hands free to carry a gun or bow, as well as other gear. And on those hikes when I have one free hand, I like to use it to quietly push away branches that cross my trail.
During the past 4 decades I’ve owned headlamps of all sizes and shapes, and along the way I’ve developed some strong opinions of what works best for me. Generally, this is what I look for in a hunt-friendly headlamp:
Compact: While a headlamp is a must-have tool for navigating in the dark, I don’t want to be burdened with a large/heavy device all day long. One small side pocket of my fannypack is dedicated to holding my headlamp during daylight; if it doesn’t fit in this pocket, I leave it in the truck.
Adjustable beam: I like to keep things simple, but a headlamp that’s either 100 percent full-power or 100 percent off won’t cut it. I need just enough light to safely show me the way, and I don’t want to alert game in the distance.
Affordable: I’m pretty good about not losing or breaking things, but I don’t like bringing expensive gear into the field, especially if it’s something that’s small enough that I could set it down and misplace it. And I hate to admit the number of times I’ve dropped gear from a high treestand while trying to store these items in my fannypack.
Efficient: I use headlamps a bunch during turkey and deer season, and I don’t mind replacing batteries once during spring and once during fall. However, if a headlamp eats them faster than that, I’m not interested.
SHOT Show Discovery
While hurrying from one meeting to another during the 2015 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, I stopped briefly at a booth because I spotted a wide selection of headlamps on display. Many of these lights were too large for my liking, but tucked away in the corner of the booth was the Coast HL27 Focusing Headlamp . After spending a few minutes checking it out, it’s clear to me the HL27 meets all my requirements.
This compact headlamp runs on three AA batteries (included) and has an adjustable beam (what they call a Pure Beam Focusing Optic). You can adjust it from a wide flood to a spot simply by turning the focusing ring (see video below). But it gets even better: You can adjust the beam power by rotating the Light Output Control Wheel, which is conveniently located above the bulb, so you can literally dial in the desired brightest.
The Coast HL27 runs 3 hours 45 minutes on high, and nearly 100 hours on its lowest setting. A hinged beam adjustment enables you to direct the light where you need it, and adjustable elastic straps make it easy to wear the headlamp in comfort. Finally, the HL27 is impact- and water-resistant, and it’s backed by Coast’s lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Nice!
So what does the HL27 cost? You can buy one here for only $50.98—and no shipping!
I plan on giving the Coast HL27 a serious workout during the spring turkey season, and I’ll be sure to report back with my findings. Gobblers beware!
P.S. Did you know North American Hunter has an online store?