The other month I reviewed a Coast flashlight after receiving a care package from the company who is based in Oregon. Among the items that I received was the Coast WPH30R 100 lumen headlamp. I had a chance to spend some time using the headlamp and want to express my impressions of it.
The Coast WPH30R headlamp is a member of a family of products that Coast offers. The “dual power” light comes equipped with a rechargeable COAST ZITHION-X® lithium-ion battery, or can be powered by two CR123 batteries.
I’m not a headlamp connoisseur, but I have owned three prior to receiving the WPH30R. The first lamp I bought 15 years ago for use while hiking Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The lamp was somewhat overpriced by today’s standards, used disposable alkaline AA or AAA batteries, but was a quality unit equipped with multiple LEDs, and I still own and use it to this day for certain applications. I have a couple other cheaper models, one that uses replaceable batteries, and the other that is rechargeable, but the WPH30R is the only one I have that’ll allow the recharge of the included battery and use of disposables to have on hand as a backup.
Needing a headlamp and having the opportunity to put one through the paces requires special circumstances. Why someone would want to have or use one could vary, but the two most common settings I’ve found headlamps to be useful are outdoor activities like camping/hiking/hunting, or for use in an occupational setting.
The number one time I’ve used headlamps the most in my life was while doing electrical work. If you’re in an area where the power is secured and need to work on wiring something, a headlamp is your best friend after a multi-meter.
As a matter of luck, I did have some overhead lighting to install in my garage that required securing the power in the space. I decided to use the WPH30R for when I was sourcing what I needed and for when I was installing the required receptacles for an additional shop light.
What first drew my attention was the brightness of the lamp. The light is equipped to deliver different lumen settings, with 1000 being the brightest. It’s easy to turn the lamp on using a tailcap style pushbutton, and you can then cycle through the levels via a mode switch.
The modes available are not just regulating intensity, but also switched between spotlight modes and flood modes. Depending on what you’re doing would depend on what mode to utilize. While doing electrical work in close quarters, the lamp on higher modes would just wash out what I was doing, so I leaned on the 54 lumen flood mode. Other modes available are: 600 lumen spotlight, 400 lumen flood, and 1000 lumen in combination mode.
I also had the chance to break out the WPH30R during a recent camping trip. I don’t want to offer up any false advertising here, but the camping trip, while it did include sleeping in a tent, was not far into the bush dealing with the great wild wilderness. One of the nights on the trip we dined at an all-you-can-eat buffet in Lancaster, PA, so don’t think I was two clicks away from being in the midst of The Call of the Wild. But, that does not change the fact that we were staying in a tent and dealing with semi-roughing-it circumstances. We did get water in our tent at one point, so that has to count for some street cred, or camp cred in this case.
Traditionally, I’m one of those “don’t use a flashlight in the woods/camping unless you have to” type of guys. General walking and going about campsites, campgrounds, and wilderness, depending on the time of year, phase of the moon, and amount of light pollution in the area, a flashlight is not needed. But when you do need a light and you need your hands, that’s when the headlamp does rapidly become useful.
While hoofing it to the toilet offerings in the night, the lamp did come in handy due to other lights killing my night vision. The whole phase of the moon and stars thing is fine and dandy until some overzealous fellow camper blasts you in the face with their light. So when headed off into the unknown abyss to take care of final biological needs before bed, it was very useful.
The place where the headlamp really shined for me, pun intended, was at the site when trying to find gear or get things together to make a fire when the sun already set. We did set up camp when it was getting dark in the first place, so it was super useful then.
One of the features is that the light also has a red setting. This was invaluable because the bugs would attack me like a magpie gets on a mailman when using the white light settings. Heading into the tent with a white light on was setting yourself up for a night full of assaults. Bar none, the red feature elevated this headlamp above my others.
The other exciting thing, and it pains me to say that this is something that excites me at this age, is as noted above, it’s rechargeable and uses a standard USB C charger to charge it. The body of the light, in addition to the battery flying solo, are both equipped with female USB C ports for keeping the unit powered up. Coast includes a charging cable that allows users to go from USB C to USB C or from USB A to USB C all on the same wire.
When charging, there is an LED indicator that will go from red to green when topped off. Naturally the amount of time it takes to charge the light will depend on the quality and wattage of your power source, but it being a standard style port that you might also have on your phone, charging in your vehicle or anywhere else you may have a cable increases the convenience factor here tenfold. Those of you that use a phone with that “other” type of proprietary cable, you’ll have to use the one that Coast supplied. The rest of us civilized types will be able to swap out between the phone and lamp. I jest, but only slightly.
If you’re going to be in the bush or without a power source for an extended period – and really I recommend this for backups anyhow – you can keep CR123 batteries on hand to use if the rechargeable battery runs out of juice. The battery life of the lamp, depending on mode, is anywhere from 3 to 23 hours.
My first impressions were positive when using this lamp. It’s a quality made light and the included band is comfortable and easy to adjust. The head can be tilted up and down at an angle in order to direct the light where you want it to shine. The different modes allow for a varied amount of circumstances. Keeping this headlamp in a toolbox or work truck for occupational purposes would make perfect sense. The light would also be a great asset to have on many of the outdoor “ing” activities such as camping, hiking, night fishing, hunting, etc. Emergency response personnel might find the headlamp useful too.
Pluses: Non-proprietary charging port and unit is rechargeable. Plenty of modes from super bright at 1000 lumen, down to 54 lumen. Lifetime warranty. Adjustable angle. Comfortable strap.
Minuses: A little pricey at $69.99. Not super heavy, but also not the lightest model on the planet.
Overall, I dig this headlamp. Can you get less expensive lights like this out there? Kind of. But are any of those other companies going to standby their products with a lifetime warranty? Will they perform the same? Doubtful. I can see this being the headlamp to turn to after blowing through a few lesser quality lights, to be done with the topic of needing a headlamp for good. Or just start with a good one in the first place.
Would I buy one of these? knowing what I know about it after using it, yes. Maybe prior to giving it a test drive I’d be apprehensive to shell out the money on a headlamp when I could buy a handheld EDC for nearly the same price, but this unit did impress me enough to know what I was missing on my other headlamps. I’m certainly going to keep the Coast WPH30R headlamp in circulation for use when working or engaging in outdoor activities. I also would recommend this to a friend for purchase if they were in the market for a headlamp like this.
Features and Specifications from the Coast WPH30R 100 lumen headlamp page:
- BATTERY LIFE INDICATOR Know when to power back up—with a battery-life indicator, you can always know when your battery needs to be recharged.
- DUAL-COLOR WHITE & RED BEAM The right light for the moment. The Dual-Color White & Red Beam combines an all-white Utility Beam for general use with a red, anti-glare beam that prevents “night blinding” while also offering a tool for emergency signaling.
- HARDHAT COMPATIBLE Rugged enough for the outside of the hardhat. COAST headlamps with Hardhat Compatible design include clips for attaching the light to the hat.
- PRO-TEK CHARGING Charge directly from AC, DC, and USB. Flashlights and headlamps with COAST PRO-TEK Charging include a direct-connect port for powering back up.
- WATERPROOF Beam bright even in a downpour. COAST waterproof lights and headlamps keep shining—in full luminescent power—even after being submerged underwater for hours.
- BATTERY TYPE ZX850 ZITHION-X™ Rechargeable Battery (Included) / 2 x CR123 (Not Included)
- BEAM DISTANCE (COMBINED) 488 ft / 149 m
- BEAM DISTANCE (FLOOD HIGH) 157 ft / 48 m
- BEAM DISTANCE (FLOOD LOW) 59 ft / 18 m
- BEAM DISTANCE (SPOT)
- 498 ft / 152 m
- INCLUDED ZX850 ZITHION-X™ Rechargeable Battery | One Meter USB-C Split Charging Cable (CR123 Batteries Not Included)
- LIGHT OUTPUT (COMBINED) 1000 Lumens
- LIGHT OUTPUT (FLOOD HIGH) 400 Lumens
- LIGHT OUTPUT (FLOOD LOW) 54 Lumens
- LIGHT OUTPUT (SPOT) 600 Lumens
- RUNTIME (COMBINED) 3 h
- RUNTIME (FLOOD HIGH) 7 h 15 min
- RUNTIME (FLOOD LOW) 23 h
- RUNTIME (SPOT) 5 h
- WEIGHT 5.68 oz / 161 g