Soto Pocket Torch

Posted Oct. 27, 2010, at 7:22 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:21 p.m.

Weight: 2 ounces

Price: $20

The Soto Pocket Torch by Shinfuji Burner Co. Ltd. is a 2010 Editors’ Choice award winner from Backpacker Magazine. It will be yours, too, the minute you pick one up.

Aside from its somewhat diminutive size (about 4 inches high, 2½ inches at its widest and just under an inch thin) and weight (around 2 ounces with fuel) is the extreme amount of heat it produces — some 2,300 degrees. That’s enough to get a fire going on any camping trip — or get that pesky stove lit, or cut a piece of synthetic line, or braze or solder small items, melt wax from your candle lantern, expose sunken wicks. The list is limited only by your imagination.

What makes this pocket torch attractive is its price. It’s about $20 and here’s the best part — its fuel is simply a flat-sided disposable lighter, such as a Scripto. Simply drop the lighter into the case, pop on the burner head and turn that cheap cigarette lighter into a superfine centralized flame torch with a click of the piezo-sparked button. There’s no messy or tricky filling with a butane canister. Just dispose of the old lighter (approximately 20 minutes of run time per lighter) and pop in a new one (there’s a pictogram on the case so you can’t make a mistake).

In my experience in the past month the torch has not failed to light. Backpacker Magazine even dropped it in a puddle, shook off the excess water and fired it up.