Camping ToysReviews

Review: Brunton Firelight

From reading the advertising copy on the back of the box, you learn that “The Firelight combines the convenience of a small, compact, windproof lighter with a bright white LED flashlight. The light is located on the bottom of the lighter, and with a simple twist you’ll be able to find the trail or search for your dropped car keys in the dark. Need to start a fire? The lid opens 180° so you can get the flame where you need it. The gas flame can even withstand winds up to 80 miles per hour. Truly a unique tool you would want to have in the mountains or in the glove box of your car for emergency use.” Or in simpler terms, the box claims that this is the lighter of all lighters. This is what I set out to discover during the testing period.

Hmm… I Have to Spend $14.99 More?

When I first opened the package, I found out that the lighter didn’t come filled with lighter fluid. You have two options at this point:

  1. Buy a butane lighter filler.
  2. Buy the Brunton Fuel Tool, which will set you back another $14.99.

I choose to purchase a Fuel Tool, which I would also need to fill up the Glorb Lantern, which I was lent for this review. The Fuel Tool screws onto a standard Iso Butane canister and then injects fuel into the lighter through a port located behind the flashlight. You have to remove the flashlight thus turning it on to add fuel to the lighter. Although during testing I didn’t have to refill the lighter, I could see how this would be nice on an extremely long expedition if I were also packing Iso Butane canisters.

The Jist

To access the lighter portion of this tool, you have to push a black button located on the side of the lighter, which is opposite of a hinge. The button releases a latch and the whole top portion of the tool flips back revealing the hidden lighter. It is actually fun to play with; the flip top and provided me with minutes of entertainment. On the top of the lid is a mirror, which is almost usable to look at yourself in. I suppose that if you were really extraordinarily luck that the mirror could be used to signal someone halfway across the campsite, but more likely it could provide several minutes of fun as you flash your paddling partner with a piece of the sun. Pushing down on a black button until you hear a click starts the lighter. This action produces a blue flame that is difficult to see in the daylight. This flame jets out of the lighter regardless of the direction that you hold the lighter, which makes it an ideal tool for lighting fires and stoves.

Occasionally, the lighter would misfire, and I would have to click the button a couple of times to produce flames. The flame is very difficult to blow out, and seems to stay lit is the light winds that I had the unit in. I was able to blow out the flame when I tried hard. The flame is controllable, but I found that the unit wouldn’t light unless the flame was turned close to maximum output.

The flashlight portion of the Firelight, I found less useful. I’m not a smoker, so I don’t carry a lighter on me at all time, so there was never a time that I actually would have used this flashlight. Even when cooking dinner after the sun went down, I didn’t use the flashlight, because I always had a headlight on. The Firelight also ships with a plastic lanyard. This is easily removable, and I recommend removing it because it is very awkward.

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Overall, I found the lighter portion of the firelight well worth the weight of carrying it. It made starting fires easy, it stayed lit in winds, and it started reliably only misfiring occasionally. If you have the extra $55 to spend on the Firelight and Fuel Tool, it makes a great lighter. Unfortunately, after this goes back to Brunton, I will go back to a Bic disposable lighter.

Date Reviewed: 3/28/2004
Product Reviewed: Brunton Firelight
Cost: Retail $40 (plus Fuel Tool $14.99)