SOTO – Pocket Torch (Blowtorch)

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Is there anything sexier than fire?

Campfires, barbeques, paraffin lanterns and enormous piles of freshly gathered wood – all of these things need lighting, and all of these things are a pain in the backside to get lit when it’s windy. You’ll end up working your way through a box of matches, or burning your thumb as you hold a lighter upside-down above a firelighter in vain.

Small, neat, very pretty

Soto (which is Japanese for ‘Outdoor’) have taken their extensive knowledge of all things industrial-burner related and developed a way of turning the meagre, definitely-not-windproof flame from a disposable lighter into the most awesome blue flame since Concorde went supersonic over the Atlantic. It really is a thing of beauty; a 3cm long jet of blue heat which is a pyromaniac’s damp-dream and makes lighting all manner of things both easy and fun.

What’s amazing is that the Pocket Torch doesn’t use any fuel, no batteries and has no parts which will need replacing. It just uses a clever system of introducing air into the lighter’s fuel, and forcing it through a set of small holes to turn a dirty, inefficient yellow flame into a strong, and very hot blue flame.

They say it burns at 1300C, but in real terms you can feel the heat on your hand at 6 inches away without a problem.

The intensity of the flame is adjustable via the lighter’s own adjuster. If you want a truly windproof flame, you need to ramp the fuel up to maximum. If you do, then all but the strongest birthday-candle-blow won’t extinguish the flame.

The Pocket Torch feels tough and built to last. It’s a plastic construction with a metal tip (that gets hot, so don’t stick it back in your pocket immediately). The button has a chunky ‘click’ to it and it fires up first time 80% of the time.

The lighter which fits inside the Soto Pocket Torch is a pretty standard cheap square type. You can’t shove one of those round Bic lighters in there, but then again when you travel around the world it’s pretty easy to find a shop selling disposable lighters. And that could be quite important because, although you could take the Soto Pocket Torch on a plane, you can’t take the lighter itself.

I’ve had a read through the Soto website and discovered that the Pocket Torch extends the life of a disposable lighter’s fuel by up to 60%, which is phenomenal. One other point is that the Torch doesn’t use, or wear down the lighter’s flint.

Since receiving the sample for testing, I’ve rarely seen the Pocket Torch. The wife seized it for use with her crafting hobby, and she says it’s excellent for sealing the ends of ropes and ribbons.

SUMMARY: Take one standard, disposable lighter and add the Soto Pocket Torch and you have a windproof blowtorch that you can use upside-down and for as long as you like without burning your thumb. It’s well made and a real head-turner at any campsite. It’s one of those rare objects that gets passed around for everyone to try out.