Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Soto Pocket Torch

This isn't exactly a post on stoves.  This is however stove related.  I've got a "make your life easier" gear tip for you.  Today's featured gear?  The Soto Pocket Torch.
A Soto Pocket Torch
Um, gosh, Jim, isn't that just, um, a lighter?

Well, I guess, but it's pretty darned nice lighter.  Let me tell you what I like about it.

First, it's got a piezoelectric ignition.  A good one.  One that works pretty reliably.  It usually takes two clicks, but it very consistently lights on the second click.

Second, it's a torch.  In other words, that flame comes out of the nozzle with some force.  It's not like a candle flame that can be blown out easily.  It's got decent wind resistance, and I can turn it different directions including sideways and straight down which is pretty nice for lighting certain stoves.

What's that you say?  Hand held lighters with piezoelectric ignitions don't work very well at altitude?  Well, you're absolutely right about that.  I've had lighters with piezo ignitions fail as low as 8,000 feet/2400m and succeed as high as 10,000 feet/3000m.  Somewhere in there, most piezoelectric ignitions on hand held lighters are going to fail.  But that's really not a problem with the Soto Pocket Torch.  Just pull the head off, and underneath the covers is an everyday Scripto lighter.
A normal Scripto lighter resides inside the body of a Soto Pocket Torch
That Scripto lighter has an ordinary flint and steel type striker which is not affected by altitude.
The flint and steel wheel type ignition on a Scripto lighter.
Another nice thing about that Scripto lighter:  If you want to know how much fuel you've got, just hold it up to the light.
Checking the fuel level on a Scripto Lighter
Update 14 Feb 2012:  I went to the local shop to get a new Scripto lighter.  They were out.  On a whim I tried a Calico brand lighter in the Soto Pocket Torch.  It worked just fine.  And of course it should.  I just checked their website and Scripto is owned by the same company.  Just a tip then:  If you can't find Scripto brand, try Calico.

So, there you have it, Hikin' Jim's recommendation for a lighter.  It's not exactly ultra light, but it is ultra convenient.

Hope that's a helpful gear tip,



  1. I have a Soto pocket torch and LOVE IT - for all the reasons you mentioned. I also like how having the inserted lighter allows easy and flexible refilling. No trying to find gas to refill. Just by a new pack of lighters at any convenience/grocery store, pop it in and go. One of the best new gadgets out there - and cheap enough to make nice gifts too.

  2. Yeah, they're REALLY nice. Not the absolute most compact and lightest, but WHO CARES? They're just so nice I won't use anything else.


  3. I don't have one and it looks interesting, so I might want to get one, but, I looked around in several stores and could not find any Scripto Butane lighters. I found Bics, Crickets and several no name lighters, but no Scriptos. I haven't looked everywhere, but Scripto lighters may not be that easy to find.

    On another matter, while I was out, I picked up a couple of cans of Sea Foam fuel injector cleaner. This stuff comes in a lightweight aluminum can with a plastic screw top. The empty cans might be usable as fuel cans.

  4. Bill,

    I got my Pocket Torch at REI. The REI website says:
    "Pocket Torch accepts rectangular disposable lighters (not included); does not fit round disposable lighters, such as Bic lighters"
    If you couldn't find Scripto brand, maybe there are some other brands available in your area that would fit?


  5. Some of the no name lighters look like they might fit. I'll wait until I find some Scripto lighters before I buy a torch. REI shows them out of stock, but Amazon has them.

  6. Hi, Bill,

    If you find one that works, please post the brand name here if you wouldn't mind. It'd be good info to have.


  7. FYI... I took this on the Appalachian trail hike. Worked for a week, just like all the reviews said. I thought it was a genius design also... until it breaks.

    It will most likely not last that long.


  8. I've had mine for almost a year. No problems so far.

    What when wrong with yours? Piezo failed?


  9. I haven't found any stores with the Soto pocket torch in stock. Several stores show it, but not in stock. Amazon shows a similar torch called Solder-It. I got one of them. It comes with a prefilled fuel cartridge which lacks a flint. I bought some Scripto lighters and they look like they should work, but they don't. They fit, but there is no flame. I bought some other lighters at the dollar store. The Cricket lighter fits but doesn't light. The Calico lighter fits and lights, but with a much less intense flame than the included fuel cell. The fuel cell that is furnished with the torch is refillable from a Butane can. If nothing else, these should be good for thawing padlocks, a real possibility now that the bottom has dropped out of the temperature here.

  10. Bill,

    That's odd that it's unavailable. Maybe it didn't sell well. I sure like mine. Much better than my old Delta Windmill which was hard to maneuver in to light stoves.


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My apologies to real people, but due to Spammers I have to moderate comments. I'll get to this as rapidly as possible but do understand that I like to hike and there's no internet in the wilderness. Take care and stove on!