The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Coast HL7 Review

Previously one of our favorites, but hasn't kept pace with competitor's innovations
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $50 List | $28.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent brightness and beam control, often available online at discount
Cons:  Average battery life, heavier and bulkier than most
Manufacturer:   Coast
By RJ Spurrier ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2018
  • Share this article:
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 8
  • Close Proximity - 20% 7
  • Battery Life - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 4
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8

The Skinny

The Coast HL7 has a lot of good things to offer, a strong beam that shines for 112 meters, very good flood lighting, and it is an easy to use product. It remains a strong competitor, but it no longer makes it into the top three scoring lights in our test. Lights such as the Black Diamond Storm and Spot offer better performance a similar or lower price. Our issue with it today is mostly that it is largely unchanged, while the competition has been improving lights much more significantly each year.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Coast HL7 has been around since 2012, and has had a few upgrades in performance since its original introduction. The design remains largely unchanged, even though it is today brighter than the version we first tested. Unfortunately, competing headlamps have changed a lot in that time, and so while the HL7 remains a very good product, we no longer recommend it over competing lights, in particular, the Black Diamond Storm and Spot offer better performance today, at either about the same price, or even lower cost.


Likes


The HL7 offers an excellent trail finding beam in its spot mode, shining 112 meters, and with very good optics. The beam is a bit hot in the center, not as even and wide as top competitors like the BD Storm.


Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Coast HL7
Beam photo of Black Diamond Storm

Coast HL7
Black Diamond Storm

The HL7 also offers very good flood lighting, which is easy and intuitive to get to by rotating the front lens to zoom in or out. Lighting is wide and fairly even, above average.



We find the Coast to be easy to use, and intuitive. With a single button to turn it on in the front, a zoom dial on the lens, and a lever on the rear battery pack to change brightness. Each function is obvious, and simple.



Dislikes


The Coast is a bit heavy at 4.5 oz or 127g, and the two part package, with the battery in the back and light element in the front is somewhat bulky.


Battery life is OK, but only about average, with 3.1 hours run-time in high mode, and 23 hours in our low mode test (using a similar brightness level to competing lights best mode for close proximity use).



Conclusion


The Coast is a quality product, that offers compelling performance. It ranks in the top 5 in our review on overall performance, which is impressive in a field of more than 20 top headlamps. And, typically found at a reasonable street price around $35 online. Our issue with the Coast today is not so much with it, but simply that competing lights, selling for about the same price, offer a better value. The BD Storm outperforms the HL7 in every category except ease of use, and sells for about the same street price. The BD Spot bests the HL7 overall, yet can typically be found at a lower street price online.


RJ Spurrier