Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Soto Pocket Torch Is Back!

Good news!  The Soto Pocket Torch Is Back!

The Soto Pocket Torch has been unavailable in the US for a couple of years.  Apparently there was some kind of importing/licensing/regulatory SNAFU.  We'll they're back.

The Soto Pocket Torch
The Soto Pocket Torch is the uber cool mini butane torch (looks like a mini welder's torch flame instead of a candle flame) that has a regular lighter inside.  Easy to refuel.  When you run out, just pop in a new lighter.
Under the covers lies an ordinary disposable lighter.  Refueling?  Easy.
Why do I like it?  Well, first, it's got a lot more power than an ordinary lighter.  An ordinary lighter's flame wafts about like the flame on a candle.  The flame on the Soto Pocket Torch shoots straight out under force.  This gives you three things:

  1. Windproofness.  It's much harder for the wind to blow out a torch type flame.
  2. Direction.  The Pocket Torch's flame shoots straight out.  On a regular lighter, the flame just drifts generally upward from wherever you place the top of the lighter.  It's hard to get under things.  With the Soto, I can direct the flame exactly where I want it.  I can even get under things.  I love it.
  3. More heat.  Since I can place the flame right where I want it, the heat is focused.  I'm getting more heat right on the spot where I want it rather than a lot of that heat drifting away in the wafting flame of a regular lighter.  I find this especially useful in damp conditions and with ESBIT type fuel.  ESBIT can be a pain to light.
Lighting ESBIT type fuel with a Pocket Torch
I can give the Soto Pocket Torch no better endorsement than to say that I still carry it (See original report from 2011).  Gear that I really like sticks with me.  Gear that doesn't quite cut it tends to wind up in a box somewhere.  

My latest interest is the new high tech Windboiler stove from MSR.  Of course I wanted to test the Windboiler in, well, wind.  What did I light it with?  The Soto Pocket Torch of course.  Easy.  Wind?  No problem.
The Soto Pocket Torch (foreground).  The new MSR Windboiler stove (background).
I carry the Soto Pocket Torch on most of my trips when I'll be camping mostly below 8,000'/2400m.  Note that the piezoelectric ignitions on handheld lighters tend to fail above 8,000'/2400m.  Now, since there's a regular lighter inside, I could take the Pocket Torch on every trip and do just fine.  In other words, you can still light your stove if you camp higher than you expected and you've got the Pocket Torch along.  But do be aware of the limitations of piezo ignitions on handheld lighters.

The Soto Pocket Torch? I highly recommend it.


P.S.  People have asked me where you can get the Pocket Torch.  I know that Trail Designs has them in stock because I talked to Rand, one of the guys who works there, this morning.  I also notice that they're a dollar cheaper than at REI.  I'm just throwing Trail Designs a little blogging love since I know some of the guys who work there (and because they make one of my favorite ultralight backpacking stoves, the Ti-Tri Sidewinder which I have reviewed here on Adventures in Stoving).  And, hey, I'm saving you a buck, right?  All here at Adventures in Stoving, folks.

The item reviewed here was a gift from my friend Will.  A danged good gift at that.  Thank you, Will.  And also thank you for putting up with me dragging you through the brush, climbing up off trail passes in the Sierra Nevada, and not least of all, testing stoves at every turn.  That's a good friend who not only puts up with your stove testing but also gives you a gift to help you do it.

I have no contacts with Soto but would welcome them if so offered.  Hey, Soto, if you're reading this, contact me at Hikin [dot] Jim [at] Gmail [dot] com.  Send me something to test, would you?  

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