SOTO POCKET TORCH
Name: Trevor Varney
Email address: trevor_varney@...
City, State, Country: Tucson, AZ USA
Backpacking Background: Grew up in Scouting along with multiple trips along the AT. Joined military and forced to pack more than I wish to carry, and nothing that I wanted to carry. Know I concentrate on comfort and enjoyment of backpacking, meaning staying light while maintaining the luxury items. Spend majority of my time in Arizona's diverse climate of high mountains to low desert. It is all rough rocky terrain with temperatures varying from sub zero to over a hundred.
PRODUCT INFO & SPECS
Manufacture: Soto Outdoors
MFG Date: 2010
Size: 4.3 x 2.4 x 0.9 inch
Weight: 1.8 oz (50g) without disposable lighter
Burner Diameter: OD 0.55 inch ID 0.47 inch
Flame temperature: 1300°C (Approx. 2,300 °F)
Flame size: Diameter 0.1 x 0.47 inch
Flame shape: Superfine centralized flame
Burning time: Approx. 20 minutes (per disposable lighter)
Fuel cartridge: Disposable lighter
MFG Description: The Pocket Torch uses disposable lighter fuel. Light the Pocket Torch with a disposable lighter and produce a flame that reaches temperatures up to 1300°C (approx. 2,300 °F). The Pocket Torch becomes a powerful, wind-resistant burner. A disposable lighter increases it lifespan by 60% when used with the Pocket Torch.
Upon receiving the Pocket Torch I had two thoughts. First was the weight, second stoutness of the item. At 1.8oz it is extremely light weight, yet the design and materials (plastic) seem solid and should take the abuse of the inside of a pack. This item is awarded by Backpacker Magazine, so I was excited to test it out. Upon my initial test of the Torch I sorely upset, I took my bag of disposable lighters which of the eight all are Bic Classics (what I thought where the most popular disposable lighter on the market!), which are one of the few that do not fit in the Pocket Torch. Neither the website nor the packaging offers a list of compatible lighters, or even a list of what styles will not fit. Such as round edged lighters (i.e. Bic) will not fit but squared lighters will.
Once I found a lighter that fit I pulled the handle from the burner/igniter to place the disposable lighter into the handle. No written instructions needed just follow the picture on the handle for proper placement. Once reassembled (process time of less than a minute), the igniter is solid and flame was obtained in two pushes. The 90deg angle of the burner makes manipulation of the flame once lit is better than most conventional lighter, to include other weather proof lighters. Initial testing included burning climbing rope ends and starting my MSR Dragonfly stove. These two common challenges where no match for the Pocket Torch. The powerful flame quickly soldered the fraying ends if the rope. The angled head worked well to place the flame into the odd positioned igniting holes that most stoves seem to have. I have also held in under the faucet and tested to see if it is affected by water. After blowing the water from the burner I was able to light it in 7 attempts. The initial flame has yellow instead of the intense blue, however it returned shortly after holding it on for approx. 15sec. Blowing on the strong flame did very little to waver it.
So far the Soto pocket Torch seems to be a great tool for the outdoorsman. Once you are able to find the appropriate lighter it will handle basic tasks quite well. Because it is not an actual lighter, with a means to permanently store fuel, it MAY be TSA approved. I will have to verify this in the field test.
Field Testing To Follow: