OR - Brunton Glorb - Ray Estrella
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Brunton Glorb Lantern
By Raymond Estrella
September 05, 2007
NAME: Raymond Estrella
LOCATION: Huntington Beach California USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and
in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and
average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to
lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike
hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a
freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I
am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or fiancée Jenn.
Web site: www.brunton.com
Product: Glorb Lantern
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $ 55.00 (US)
Weight listed: 8 oz (227 g)
Actual weight (empty): 7.8 oz (221 g)
Size listed: 5.5 x 2.5 in (14 x 6.4 cm)
Actual size: 5.5 x 2.25 in (14 x 5.7 cm)
Carrying case: 2.5 x 6 in (6.4 x 15.2 cm)
The Brunton Glorb (hereafter called the Glorb or lantern) is a very
small compact lantern made for backpacking. The company claims that
it will burn up to two hours on one fill with a mantle in use, and up
to four hours without a mantle. Yes, I did say with no mantle. It is
optional. It gives a reported 60 watts or 25 candle power of
The body of the Glorb is made of translucent plastic that is kind of
smoked looking. A ring of black rubbery material goes around it,
giving it an armored look. The ring rotates around the body,
controlling the flow of fuel. Twisting it to the right turns it down
or off. Going to the left increases the flow of fuel.
At the top of the body is a red lever that slides also. The lever can
be set to the right for Mantle position, in the center for Ignition,
and to the left for Candle position. On the opposite side of the body
is a red plastic button that acts as both the starter and the fuel
lock. Pushing it in allows fuel to enter the transfer tube at the
same time as it activates the piezo electric igniter. While still
holding it in, it slides down and locks onto an edge of the body. As
long as it stays in this position fuel will continue to flow. Popping
it back up lets it go back out, stopping the fuel flow.
Sitting above the body is the glass globe and fuel stem, along with
the piezo electrode. The globe is held on by a black steel top and
two rectangular steel wire loops. One of them stays attached to the
body while the other is held in place by a flat spring catch. Popping
the loop past the catch allows the top to swivel away from the
lantern. The glass globe can then be taken off as seen here. This
exposes the fuel stem which is steel with brass mesh at the top
center. A steel wire loops above the stem that holds a mantle in
place. Next to the stem is the white piezo ignition system's
electrode. Here is a shot of it open.
There is a base on the bottom of the Glorb that has three steel feet
that rotate out to give better support for the lantern. Each foot has
a small round rubber pad to keep it from slipping on slick surfaces.
The bottom of the base is clear plastic. The feet have a post on each
one that goes through the clear plastic. These posts set into the
body of the Glorb to help keep it in place.
Centered on the bottom is a knurled brass bolt. When it is unscrewed
it can be seen that the center of the male threaded portion is
hollow. This allows it to do double duty. It not only holds the base
on the body (after the posts are slid into their holes) but the
filling valve sits inside of the female threaded area of the body.
The hollow portion of the nut slides over the needle valve. A small
black rubber washer snugs up against a raised ring around the valve
opening that seals it from leaking fuel once the bolt is tightened.
The Glorb can be filled with any good quality butane fuel. The
easiest way to find it is the kind sold to refill lighters. Brunton
sells an accessory called the FuelTool. It will screw on to any
thread-mount camping butane fuel canister to fill the Glorb (and
butane lighters) directly. This saves money over buying smaller
lighter fluid canisters, but I do not use one. The clear plastic
bottom and translucent body allows the fuel level to be seen just by
turning it over on its side.
The 2.1 oz (60 g) carrying case is made of hard black plastic. It has
a 1/8 in (3.4 mm) thick neoprene foam at each end to cushion the
Glorb from shocks during transit. I place my extra mantles under one
of the pieces of foam.
I have only used the Glorb in winter and always on snow covered
terrain. I have used it in the White Mountains, the eastern Sierra
Nevada and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land east of Lone Pine,
California. It went on a try-out trip to San Jacinto once in winter
Temperatures got down to 10 F (-12 C) and elevations ranged from
3000' to 10700' (900 - 3300 m).
Almost all trips were three to 8 days in duration and using a sled to
pull my backpack. (The pack would go on my back to negotiate bad
areas, or bare spots.)
I bought the Glorb in 2004 expressly to use while sled-packing. I
figured that I would not mind the weight of it and a canister of fuel
on long multi-day trips in the snow. Since the nights are so long in
the middle of winter, I thought it would be nice to play cards with
some better light than headlamps. I also thought it would help to
warm the tent as the month before I got it I was stuck in a tent at 4
F (-16 C) which forced me to stay in my sleeping bag. (That gets old
It proved to be a very easy little lantern to use. It lit every time
with no problem. The piezo worked at the elevations that I got it up
to. Unfortunately I never made it to the 14245' (4342 m) high peak
that was the goal of two of the trips it went on. I wanted to see if
it would work that high. Alas, it was not to be.
It is pretty bright with a mantle in place. Using the mantle lets me
really pour on the fuel. It will brighten a tent up with no problem.
I used it once at a trail head at 4:30 in the morning on a stormy
cloud covered start to a hike to load up. It was so dark that it
seemed to just suck the light from our head lamps as we loaded the
sleds. I fished out the Glorb and placed it on the top of the truck
cab where it was very helpful.
The most memorable use of the Glorb was on a February trip in the
Rock Creek area of the Sierra that I got clobbered by a blizzard
before I even made it to the trail head. I crawled up the pass and
stopped at a resort called Tom's Place in the eastern Sierra. I got a
room in the lodge there to find that the rest of the place was full
of Sierra Club members that were on a snow shoe excursion, going out
in the days and back to the lodge each afternoon. The storm forced
them in of course. Just after dark the storm knocked the power out to
the entire area. I had my head lamp in my coat but of the 20+ Sierra
Clubbers only one had a flashlight. So I got the Glorb out and put it
in the main room on the fireplace hearth letting everyone at least
have one lighted area. The owners eventually got battery powered
lights to them and they thanked me for breaking out the Glorb.
Without a mantle, or in Candle mode the Glorb burns the fuel right as
it goes past the brass mesh at the top of the fuel stem. It is not
anywhere near as bright, but it does save fuel. That is because if I
crank the rotating valve open it will just shoot a flame out the top
of the Glorb like a welding torch.
I like it better with a mantle but use it now in Candle mode. This is
because of the fragility of the mantles once they have been used the
first time. It is so rare to see the mantle still in one piece (and
therefore usable again) when I pull it out the second day that it
could bring tears of joy and amazement to see it whole. I kid you not!
The mantle just will not stay whole. And as Brunton charges $9.00 US
for three replacement mantles that means that I spend an average of
three bucks a day to use it. To the best of my knowledge I have used
11 mantles so far. I do not have any right now as I have given up on
them. I have never had this kind of short life with other mantles in
my white gas or propane camping lanterns. They bounce around in my
vehicle and are still ready to fire up when I make camp in the
evenings on scouting trips. Unfortunately those mantles are too large
to work on the Glorb.
Another thing that bothers me is the lack of a way to hang it up. All
of my other lanterns (including backpacking lanterns) have either a
chain or a steel loop handle that allows hanging. In a tent I must
keep in on the floor. This has me paranoid of letting the shell of my
sleeping bag brush it. I envision a big flash, then floating
I have noticed that my use of the Glorb has dwindled this year. I
only took it on one trip in 2007. I expect to use it more once I am
married and taking a bigger tent on my winter excursions. I hope I
can find some cheap source of mantles by that time.
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