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Brunton Helios "Stormproof" lighter

in Miscellaneous Products

Average Rating
3.14 / 5 (14 reviews)

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Joseph Hill
( josephthill )
Brunton Helios "Stormproof" lighter on 12/09/2005 23:28:39 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I spent $55 on this lighter and was really, really disappointed. First, it does not work at high altitude. Even with the highest grade butane, it refused to light once in four days at roughly 10,000 feet.

Also, I don't know how they can call it "stormproof" when getting it wet puts the lighter out of commission for days.

It's true that the case is highly water resistant when shut. But did Brunton think about the driving snow once you try to use it? Stormproof indeed.

My lighter has only worked at much lower elevations such as 4500 (my house).

Also, my contact with Brunton support has been dissapointing. My request for help was written off outright. I was told curtly that it's not designed to light over 9000 feet, or at least that's what the girl remembered. I didn't get the impression that she knew much of what she was talking about.

Overall it does work under normal (car camping) conditions so I have to give at least two stars.

Save your money, by a $.50 bic or two.

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Norman Otto
( gnotto )
Stormproof lighter on 12/14/2005 14:12:31 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

I've had problems lighting my Brunton even at lower elevations. It's now in my "never use" pile. I use the cheap but reliable Bic lighter. For winter use with gloves, Bic's are questionable--they tend to set my glove liner on fire--particularly possum down--so I really like the Solo (I think that's its name) lighter with the neck that extends out 2 inches with a pull (bought at EMS). I love it inthe winter.

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Douglas Frick
( Otter )

Problems seem applicable to all butane torches on 12/23/2005 20:27:07 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I don't have a Brunton Helios lighter, but unfortunately there isn't a way to comment without giving a rating. I do, however, have six butane 'windproof' lighters/torches: a Brunton Firelight, a Solo Storm, a Colibri CX Gear, a Mega Pocket Torch, and two cheapo no-names. None of them work reliably at altitude (10,000ft +) and below freezing, and only one of them works at a level I would describe as reliable (a $5 blue no-name purchased at The Powder Horn in Bozeman, MT). The piezo sparkers work fine, but the gas doesn't seem to want to light right away. Usually after a half-dozen clicks the lighter will go, and will then start more often than not. After running for over 30 seconds, however, they generally won't light until they warm up again.

The non-torch Bic butane, of course, lights reliably every time.

Fuel can be a factor. Cheap butane won't do for a torch--triple refined premium butane from Korea seems to be best (such as Lucienne brand). I found Colibri Premium butane to not work well with my lighters, including the Colibri lighter.

I like the butane torches because they are _hot_(much better than a generic butane lighter for melting nylon rope ends, and they can heat up a cold alcohol stove quickly), but I won't rely on one as my only ignition source. Based on my experience with these, I'm resisting spending $$$ on a Colibri torch that has an altitude fuel adjustment; I'm not sure it would be any more reliable than what I have now.

I'd like to see a review of any windproof butane torch that somebody finds truly reliable under all conditions.

Edited by Otter on 01/15/2006 14:46:00 MST.

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Lowe Johnston
( LoweJo )

Missouri and Texas
Ditto on Butane lighters on 12/28/2005 08:35:34 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I have a Colibri and another butane lighter in addition to various retail "BIC" lighters. I modified the covers on the butanes so I could get it out of the way to light wood fires. It sort of works OK up to 7500 feet but what I want is a real, sure-nuf torch. The flames on the butanes are not that long.

Johnny Childes
( cjslim54 )
HELIOS! on 01/10/2006 19:20:27 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have a Brunton and absolutely love it. No wear on the package does it say it is expected to be a high altitude lighter! I don't know where people get this from, maybe cause it's storm proof. If you think about the way it is designed, it's the lack of oxygen and the burner that doesn't allow this. I've been at the highest 9500 ft with mine and it worked. Had no expectations for it to do so, but I kept it close to my body and warm, and it fired right up, got a fire going on a cold winter day on the mountain! CAN"T COMPLAIN! Go buy a bic, I'll use my Helios!

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Jason Kintzler
( Brunton )
Lighters at Altitude on 10/20/2006 11:21:27 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Wanted to follow up with some info for some of the comments below. As an fyi, there is no such thing as a high-altitude lighter on the market currently...Ignitions are not workable above 10K feet due to the air content. When we work this out, Brunton will be the first to deliver. Thanks for buying the Firelight!

Scott Toraason
( kimot2 )
Windmill Stormproof Lighter on 10/20/2006 11:58:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The directions that came with the lighter sucked, however there is a good explanation at that explains high altitude/cold operation. At select Butane Lighters, Windmill Stormproof Lighter, and finally High Altitude.

My Stormproof failed at 7,500’ before I read the article and noticed I still had over a 50% adjustment in the negative to increase oxygen content and decrease fuel. So my rating is tempered on hoped for results.

Since October 2006 this lighter has not failed to 8,000' and I still have room to adjust oxygen/fuel level for higher altitude so I am raising my rating from a 3 to a five, no problems in wind.

Edited by kimot2 on 06/02/2009 12:32:42 MDT.

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John Haley
( Quoddy )

New York/Vermont Border
Helios on 02/05/2007 14:08:10 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've yet to use my Helios above 6500', but have had no problems at and below that level, even in below zero F conditions. The flame adjustment seems a bit tricky at first and I tended to set it quite high...not always the way to achieve the best result. I knocked it down to a 4 since it isn't quite as bombproof in the wind as I'd expected.
This lighter has a particular way to be filled and a lot of people just don't understand it. Filled correctly it works fine. Filled incorrectly it doesn't work at all.

Edited by Quoddy on 05/14/2008 12:56:40 MDT.

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Brad Rohdenburg
( Oblio13 )
Unreliable on 05/13/2008 15:49:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

My Helios worked well for a few weeks, but then it let me down when I really needed it, on a long backcountry trip. I sent it back for repair, and again it worked well for a few weeks. It was sent back a second time, then a third, then a fourth. In addition, Brunton's technical support has been poor about responding to emails requesting return authorization numbers. Owning a Helios has been an exercise in frustration.

When I bought mine, they had a lifetime warranty. Now I notice on Brunton's website that it's been reduced to one year. It's easy to understand why: It's an unimpressive piece of gear with unimpressive warranty service.

Helios lighters sell for about $55. If you factor in four trips to the post office to send it back, they cost closer to $100. That's a lot of Bics.

Edited by Oblio13 on 05/14/2008 15:33:54 MDT.

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zack campbell
( zack2599 )
best lighter I've ever used PERIOD on 06/02/2009 04:37:04 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

(extensive review) I normally wouldn't even bother writing a review for anything but I feel obligated to share my opinion about this product. For some background, consider the fact that I (disgustingly) smoke about 1.5-2 packs of cigarettes a day, and have been smoking for about 3 years. I've used everything from disposable lighters like Bic and Djeep to Zippos (garbage) to some stupid $175 Lamborghini lighter. I live in a ski town (altitude ~7000 ft) and put my lighters through pretty considerable abuse. The Brunton Helios is without a doubt the best lighter I have ever come across. It has more or less been able to light on the FIRST press every single time I've ever used it- the only exceptions would be when I travel with it to lower altitudes and have to readjust the gas flow on the bottom. Remember, I'm a smoker and I use it many times every day. Regardless of price, this is the most reliable and efficient lighter I've been able to find as of yet. It's flame is hot enough to cut through an aluminum can or to singe all your eyebrows off if you've been drinking (be careful with it). Durability is probably what's most impressive about this product- I bought it almost 2 years ago and it still works every time. Strangely, I've used other Brunton products and they were GARBAGE. Other reviews I've seen for the Helios said it sucked which is surprising- maybe they changed it recently. Anyway, bottom line is BUY IT (unless you're planning on climbing Everest and your life is going to depend on your lighter being able to operate at 10,000 ft +).

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me mine
( smoman )
They saw me comming on 06/20/2009 20:27:42 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

If someone bought a Helios that actually worked right everytime, they hit the lotto. Mine worked for a couple of weeks at sea level in my house, and that was all I got out of it. What a POS. Worst money I ever spent. Well, there was this dancer once..........

Richard Kimmel
( SarDog28 )
Works "OK" at times, I have used it in all weather. on 12/31/2009 07:51:35 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

Works "OK" at times, I have used it in all weather. Would not trust my life on it. Be smart it's still a tool and tools break. Take a backup of some type.

Robert Harder
( rharder )
Lights well, hot, cap opens all the way on 02/07/2010 23:32:25 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I'm surprised at the stories complaining about the poor quality. Either they got duds, or I got lucky. As discussed elsewhere, if you're complaining about it not working at 10K ft, complain to a physicist or chemist, and let them explain what's going on.

My Helios works great. What do I like about it? Lights every time. Burns hot. Cap opens all the way.

I'd probably buy the $15 tall skinny one some other company makes, but the cap only goes 90 degrees. Deal killer.

I wish it was smaller, though. The rubber edging doesn't seem to serve any useful purpose, and it makes it bulkier.

I wish it was metal, because I'm often melting the ends of ropes and 550 cord, and I'd like to press the end against a piece of metal when I'm done to flatten the melted cord.

Sorry to those that have had bad luck. I slipped mine to my brother at his wedding (he had to use it to light the uncooperative unity candle), and I'm buying another one now -- that's how I found these reviews. I wish there was a decent competitor on the market, but there doesn't seem to be.

Seth Smith
( sethyes )
understand this torch very well before relying on it on 11/28/2010 10:03:30 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

So I had my first helios for about two years, only real issue at normal elevation was that it must be kept warmer than ~70f. I am rough on equipment and this unit was definitely no exception. This one had worked great for years. During this summer, after losing that little grill that turns red hot when lighting, it still worked fine for a month or two until one day. After a couple failed attempts at a double-back off a 45 foot bridge with this thing in my pocket, this thing failed to be waterproof. The piezo ignition system died out and has ceased to operate. Although, in all honesty, the lighter probably did give me about 5,000 reliable lights, much more than the guaranteed 3,000 or whatever the box says.
I have since received a second unit. This one does not light reliably at all. I have finally started to get it to where you can see the flame out the top of the torch, but that has only happened maybe twice out of 300 attempts. maybe a tenth of the time, the lighter will turn lukewarm and I am left to slowly vaporize anything that was to be lit.

So the first one rocked, and I'd buy another of the first, but the second one that I bought (same model) blows. I did get it working for a few lights and was going to give it a four. Aaaand now it works reliably after having just left it on for about 30 seconds on end. 4 sticks.

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