Field Tested: Coast HP3R Penlight

Size matters, but that doesn’t always mean bigger is better. As our in-house light and fast guy, I am often quick to eschew the big for the small. That doesn’t mean I ask less of my gear. If anything I probably demand too much of my pocket-size items. Most small devices I procure deliver enough performance to meet my needs, but only a select few like the Coast HP3R LED flashlight, redefine my expectations.

The humble penlight has been around for ages, but is usually relegated to menial tasks performed within arm’s reach. With meager output and a humble battery life, penlights often end up in the junk drawer at home, or sunk deep in the hollows of a glove box. The HP3R is only a penlight in size but has the power of a full-sized torch––245 lumens to be exact.

Bright as it is, there’s more to the HP3R than a big lumen count. Thanks to the quality of the LED and the design of the reflector, the HP3R can throw a focused beam of light over 300 feet. When dialed back for a wider flood pattern, it casts an 8 foot diameter beam of light at a 6 foot distance. That is impressive versatility for such a small flashlight.




Adding to the utility of the light is its Li-Polymer rechargeable battery. At the full 245 lumen setting, that battery can supply up to 90 minutes of run time. At the low 26 lumen setting, that run time is boosted to 6 hours. Whereas some rechargeable flashlights require the battery to be removed for charging, the HP3R features a micro-USB charging port hidden behind a retractable protective shroud.

Because I’m prone to use my flashlights far from a charging source, I have always steered clear of rechargeable lamps. I don’t like the idea of being dependent on a proprietary power source or inconvenienced by slow charge times when the battery gives up its last breath. The HP3R offers a simple work around with the optional use of two AAA batteries.




Made of machined aluminum to Coast and ANSI/FL1 standards, this is one of the nicer flashlights I’ve used in a very long time. On a recent three-day bikepacking trip into the high mountains of Colorado, the HP3R was the only light I used. Strung on a lanyard and kept around my neck as soon as the sun went down, it was always at the ready whether preparing dinner in my tent vestibule, or casting a long-reaching beam across an alpine meadow to investigate a possible bear sighting.

Big things do come in small packages and the Coast HP3R proves that claim better than most products. At $95 with a lifetime warranty, it’s also a great value.

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.