Coast kindly sent me a HP17 high performance LED torch to review and I was planning on spending the next few weeks evaluating the product. However, the HP17 was called into action after only been on my desk for a couple of days. There was a situation where a high powered torch was required and I ended up receiving a fair amount of exposure to the HP17 in a short period of time. As it turned out the torch was perfectly suited to the task and after we go over some product specifications I’ll touch more on what the situation was.
The first thing you’ll notice with the HP17 is the size of it. It comes in at just over 13 inches long and weighs close to 900 grams (which includes 3 D sized batteries). It’s not the sort of torch that you strap to your rifle before heading off through the paddocks. The HP17 wasn’t designed to be rifle mounted and there are lighter models in Coasts range of torches if that’s what you’re after.
The HP17 puts out a nice 575 Lumen beam (on high setting) which can be manually adjusted to either flood or spot beam. The spot isn’t as tight as some other models I’ve seen, but it does give a very consistent halo which is great when you’re out searching for something. As with all Coast torches, the HP17 complies the FL 1 industry standards, so you know the facts stated are the real deal. The high beam is said to have a useful beam distance of 242 meters which is certainly impressive for everyday applications.
There is also a low output and a strobe setting which can be activated by using a quick cycle switch. The low setting is rated 67 lumens which makes it handy for close range work and also helps increase the battery life of the torch. The quick cycle switch is rubberized and has a non-slip textured design to it. The strobe setting is very good and it’s one of those things that is there if you ever need it but hopefully you never do. In an emergency situation the bright flashes of light will certainly be handy for attracting attention.
The housing of the HP17 is built tough and you can feel the quality when you pick it up. The casing is made from impact resistant aluminium and features a rubberized O-ring which helps keep water away from any electronics. At the rear of the housing is a lanyard hole which doubles as an anti-roll device. I found this to be particularly useful on a smaller Coast torch I reviewed and it’s a great example of the thought that has gone into the development of Coast products.
Coast’s Cyclone Heat Sink System is located on the beam focusing unit which helps dissipate the heat generated, by creating a larger surface area. Keeping the torch cool means a longer running life which all adds up when we start looking at the value factor of the HP17.
As previously mentioned the HP17 runs on 3 x D sized batteries which come included with the torch. As with all Coasts torches they are quality Duracell items and not the general “no name” ones that you usually get included “free of charge”. The down side of having large batteries is of course the weight issue but on the plus side you get some exceptional runtimes. On full powered mode you will get 13 hours and 30 minutes and on the low setting you can expect to get around the 48 hour mark. For a torch that puts out the sort of power that the HP17 does, that’s pretty impressive!
As I mentioned earlier, I only had the HP17 for a couple of days before I got to see how effective it really was. There was a young girl that decided to go “walk about” during a family Easter get together and unfortunately she picked the cover of darkness to make her escape. Family, friends and even local residents joined the search which comprised of both foot and vehicle patrols. I used the HP17 whilst walking the local streets and checking the parks and school grounds. I’ve got to say that this has to be one of the intended design features of the HP17 simply because it seemed ideal for the task. I could place the spot beam down the centre of a street and still have enough useful light to be able to spot movement on either of the nature strips. Scanning parks and playgrounds was an easy task and I was able to cover a lot more ground than a lesser torch would have allowed. Fortunately the girl was found by an off duty police officer and returned safe and sound to her anxious family.
Using the HP17 in this situation gave me a real appreciation of what a capable torch can do. In the past I’ve only ever owned a “do it all” torch which was used for everything from spotlighting, to finding lost coins between the car seats when making a pit stop at the local Macca’s. Whilst that torch has always done the job for me, I’m starting to appreciate the benefits of having different torches for different situations.
As with all Coast products, the HP17 is backed by their Lifetime Guarantee. A guarantee like Coast’s can often be the deciding factor when deciding on which item to purchase. Of course you hope to never have to make a claim, but just knowing that the company is willing to stand by their products to that extent is always a nice touch.
At the time this article was written, you could obtain a HP17 for around the $150.00 mark which is fantastic when you consider the performance level of this torch.