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Backpacker Magazine – August 2010

Gear Review: Brunton Helios Stormproof Lighter

Light a fire fast, even in wet, cold, and windy conditions, with this waterproof lighter.

by: Steve Howe

Brunton Helios Stormproof Lighter (Courtesy Photo)
Brunton Helios Stormproof Lighter (Courtesy Photo)

When survival hinges on fire, chances are it’ll be really hard to make one. Read: wet, cold, windy. That’s when this fully waterproof butane lighter becomes real survival gear. The pocket blowtorch blasts a prolonged but pinpoint flame—a miracle when you’re trying to fire up tinder in wet, blustery conditions. Unlike cheaper models, it’s totally submersible. A clear window lets you gauge fuel level. Refills are simple using Brunton’s Fuel Tool ($19; .9 oz.), which lets you refill the lighter directly from any screw-top, blended-fuel stove canister. $85 (Note: We found it for $43 on Amazon); 1.7 oz.;

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Reader Rating: -


Apr 24, 2012

Mar 29, 2012

great and just plain amazing.

Mar 29, 2012

great and just plain amazing.

Dan Deman
Jun 24, 2011

I had one. Stopped working. It was replaced under warranty. Replacement, stopped working. Do I do this again? Think not. Garbage.

Sep 28, 2010

Don't waste your money on one of these. You will be much better served with a Swiss Firesteel or a magnesium fire starter. Both of them are under $10 and quite effective.

Sep 17, 2010

You want Cheap and Reliable Fire Starters. 30 Minute Road Fussee's. They are simple to light with their own starter built into the cap. There hard to put out even in a high wind. They burn as advertised for 30 minutes. And their cheap enough to carry several in Your pack. You can get them at any Auto Store. The bigger stores sell them as singles.
If You can start a fire without them then great, go right ahead. But if You can't for any reason, then pop one or two of them and let there be Fire! I even found some Miniature ones that I carry in a smaller kit!

No, they don't blow up! They just burn!

Sep 06, 2010

.....I'll stick with flint.

Aug 26, 2010

Lighters of different types often or always fail at high altitudes in inclement weather - the best source for starting a fire would be magnesium rods such as LightMyFire or Primus which are more affordable and portable.

Stan J
Aug 24, 2010

I have one and it deserves its excellent reputation.
I have had a few different wind-proof lighters. However, this one delivers. The window is nice, to confirm the amount of fuel. The mention of a pinpoint flame is accurate and very useful.

I keep a small mesh bag (the size of a plum) with this lighter, Vaseline/ cotton balls in a film canister and a headlamp on any outing, day or night.
One note, donít use cheap fuel - as in any lighter it will deplete faster and the resulting flame is unreliable.
Helios Stormproof - It's worth the money!

Aug 24, 2010

Not worth the money, the shop I go to stopped stocking it because of too many warranty returns.

Aug 24, 2010

I have bought the Soto lighter and used it many times under 10,000 feet where most people use it. It has been dependable and efficient for the 20 dollar price tag.

Terry Dunlap
Aug 24, 2010

So in light of the Amazon reviews and your own Editor's Choice of the Soto Pocket Torch (, which should I depend on in an emergency?

Jim Parker
Aug 10, 2010

The reviews on Amazon are less than stellar. 5 out 6 people found it cheap, plastic, and most importantly, it didn't light reliably, or at all when in the field. Piezo lighters also don't fire well, if at all, above 8,000 feet. Am surprised that you gave it such a good recommendation.


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