GEAR BOX

Soto Pocket Torch XT

Posted July 13, 2011, at 9:42 p.m.

A short while back I got my hands on the Soto Pocket Torch by Shinfuji Burner Co. Ltd., a marvelous little tool that turns an ordinary disposable butane lighter into a powerful burner capable of a multitude of tasks for the outdoors person. Backpacker Magazine liked this little wonder so much the editors gave it the Editor’s Choice award in 2010.

Enter the 2011 sibling of the Pocket Torch, the Pocket Torch XT. It has the same output (2,300 degrees in a super-fine, centralized flame), similar dimensions (1.4 inches by 0.71 inch by 4.33 inches), and similar weight (1.9 ounces).

The newly released model has a few major differences.

First is the extendable flame head. It extends about 3 inches, giving the user an extra margin of reach when lighting gas grills or deeply recessed candles, for example.

Next is the locking starter switch. To use the auto igniter, you slide the thumb switch back a bit, then push down. This prevents an accidental ignition and, I suppose, makes it partly childproof.

And finally the biggest difference is that the torch is refillable from butane cartridges or stove canisters for which you need to have the fill adaptor that is sold separately. There also is a flame adjustment screw at the base that allows adjustment of the output.

Whether you’re starting a fire, singeing a rope, stopping that fraying nylon strap on your pack or lighting the Coleman stove, you’ll wonder how you got along without it.

Price: About $25

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