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Reviews > Cook Gear > Fire Starters > Essential Gear Windmill Trekker Lighter > Test Report by Jennifer Koles

Essential Gear Windmill Trekker Stormproof Lighter

Test Report by Jennifer Koles

June 29, 2010

Skip to my Initial Report- February 14, 2010
Skip to my Field Report- April 26, 2010
Skip to my Long Term Report- June 29, 2010


Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Koles
Age:  35
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States


Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.

The author

The author in the Narrows at Zion National Park, Utah.


Initial Report

February 14, 2010

 

Product Information and Description

Product: Windmill Trekker Stormproof Lighter
Manufacturer: Essential Gear, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer Website: www.essentialgear.com

Listed Weight on Website: 2.5 oz (71 g)
Listed Weight on Packaging: 2 oz (57 g)
Measured Actual Weight with Fuel: 2.5 oz (71 g)
Fuel Capacity: 4 g (0.14 oz)

Size Listed on Product Website: 3.7 x 1.2 in (9 x 3 cm)
Size Listed on Packaging: 3.7 x 1.5 in (9 x 4 cm)
Measured Size: 3.7 x 1.2 in (9 x 3 cm)

Available Case Colors: Matte Black, Smoke Black, Blaze Orange, Clear, Smoke Green
Color Tested: Matte Black

MSRP: $55.00 US

Windmill Trekker Lighters

Image courtesy of the Essential Gear website.

 

The Windmill Trekker lighter is a butane gas, Piezo-electric lighter. It is marketed as being windproof (withstands 70-80 mph/113-129 kph winds), has a catalyzer coil, water resistant (with 5 O-ring seals) when the cap is closed, an extra large fuel tank, over 1,000 ignitions on a single fill, and burns with a clean hot flame at 2,000 F (1,093 C). The lighter is operated by a Piezo-electric ignition system that allows for one handed operation and is ignited when the ignition lever is pressed down. The Trekker is marketed as being able to last over 30,000 ignitions.

It is recommended by the manufacturer to use Premium Butane or Quadruple-Refined Butane Gas Fuel. The fuel is not included with the lighter. The manufacturer sent me a 3.38 fl oz (100 ml) canister of Quadruple-Refined Butane to fill the lighter. The fuel is the brand Lucienne and is marked as having zero impurities and has fueling instructions on the canister.

The case of the lighter is larger than traditional lighters I have around my house. It has a diameter of 1.2 in (3 cm) and is 3.7 in (9 cm) long. The rubberized casing of the lighter has six raised grips on one side and has a smooth type of grip on the opposite side. There are two fuel indicator windows opposite of each other splitting up the two different styles of grip on the lighter. These windows measure approximately 0.65 in (1.65 cm) long.

The Trekker lighter comes with a lanyard measuring 8 in (20 cm) long to the plastic end piece. The lanyard is secured to the lighter by passing through two holes (below the grips) about 0.5 in (1.27 cm) from the Trekker base. The lanyard has a standard type of cord lock to make the opening smaller or larger.

Windmill Trekker


Initial Impressions

Before receiving the Trekker I viewed the manufacturer's website to learn about the product. The instructions can be downloaded from the site and the basic information about the lighter is listed. When I received the Trekker I was surprised that it had such a rugged appearance. It definitely does not look like a typical disposable lighter I would purchase at a grocery store.

I opened the packaging and glanced over the instructions. Without wasting any time, I decided to go ahead and fill the Trekker with the butane fuel the manufacturer provided. It was simple to fill it up. I just turned the lighter upside down and placed the butane filler tip into the inlet valve on the bottom of the Trekker. I pressed down and I could see the fuel level rising in the fuel window. After a few seconds the Trekker was full.

The flame can be adjusted by using a small screwdriver or a thumbnail to turn the flame adjustment ring on the bottom of the lighter. I chose not to adjust the flame at this time. There are markings of - and + to indicate which way to turn the adjuster for the desired flame height. The flame can be adjusted for changes in altitude or temperatures.

Bottom of Trekker

Now time to play with fire. I opened the cap by releasing the metal lock handle. I then pressed the side switch to flip the cap open. I ignited the Trekker with no difficulties by pressing down on the lever. And there was fire. There was also a noise that sort of sounded like wind in a confined space. This is normal. The manufacturer has in the directions there is a hissing noise when the Trekker is lit. The flame is not a typical orange flame from a disposable lighter. The flame is blue at the base and has a slight orange color in the upper portion of the flame and it is barely visible in daylight. The flame is pointed at the top. The flame indicator window located on side of combustion chamber glows a light orange when the Trekker is lit. Heat is produced about 6 in (15 cm) above the flame. So, I have to watch where my hands and fingers are when I am using this.

When I was done playing with fire, I released the lever and the flame disappeared. So did the noise. I flipped the cap down and locked it with the metal handle.

I decided to melt the ends of some cording to make zipper pulls for one of my packs. I lit the lighter again and I did not have to put the cording in the flame to melt the ends. I held the cord close to the flame and the ends melted without blackening.

So far I am impressed with this lighter. I will be using it from sea level to over 10,000 ft (3,048 m). The manufacturer has on the packaging material that with the controllable gas flow the lighter can be used at varying elevations up to 10,000 ft (3,048 m). I would like to see if it works in higher elevations.


Field Report

April 26, 2010

Testing Locations

Death Valley, California: The Trekker Lighter was used here while car/bike camping for two days. The elevation was approximately -180 ft (-56 m) and the low temperature was 49 F (9 C).

Cleveland National Forest, California (San Mateo Wilderness): The Trekker Lighter was used here on an overnight trip. The low temperature was in the low 50's F (10 C). The high elevation on this trip was 2,000 ft (610 m).

Corona Del Mar, California: I used the Trekker on the beach to light a fire pit BBQ at sea level. The winds were gusting 20-30 mph (32-48 kph).


Performance in the Field

So far I am pleased with the Windmill Trekker Lighter. It is heavier and more rugged looking than other lighters I own. But, since it has not failed me, I do not mind the extra weight. I have used it the past two months to light my solo canister stove, my homemade alcohol stove, and a fire pit. I also used it to burn the ends of cording and webbing.

The flame is hot! It lights my stoves without having to put the flame into the fuel source. I can hold the lighter about 1 in (3 cm) away and I am still able to light my stoves. The lighter has ignited on the first push of the lever at elevations ranging from -180 ft (-56 m) to 2,000 ft (610 m). I have yet to use it at the maximum elevation range of 10,000 ft (3,048 m). I will be out in the backcountry of Utah in June and I will see if the lighter works at just below and above 10,000 ft (3,048 m). Even at low elevation there has been no need for me to adjust the flame adjuster.

The lighter has a large diameter and my hands are small. Therefore when I am holding the lighter my index finger is not completely on the raised grip. If I use the lighter in my left hand my fingers are resting on the smoother grip and not the raised one. This has not created a problem for me. But, it may be nice to have the raised grips on both sides of the lighter; so that when I use it left handed I have the benefit of the raised grips on my fingers.

I dropped the lighter on some wet dirt when it was open and I found that it was still able to ignite. It was also able to ignite it in a light rain outside my home.

The fuel indicator window makes it easy for me to see how much fuel is left in the lighter. Over the past two months there has been no need for me to refill it, as I have about 3/4 fuel remaining in the reservoir.

I like all the features of the lighter except I could do without the lanyard. There has been no need for me to use it as I carry the lighter in a pocket in my pack. The locking latch and the side switch to open the cap are holding up well. With just one press of the side switch the lighter cap hinges open. The locking latch keeps the cap locked in place even when bouncing around in my pack or when I drop the lighter.


Long Term Report

June 29, 2010

 

Testing Locations

Cleveland National Forest, California: This was a one night backpacking trip with a first-timer friend of mine. The low temperatures hovered around 40 F (4 C). The elevation at camp was 1,600 ft (488 m).

Near Red Rocks, Nevada: This was a one night camping trip. It was very warm at night with the temperatures in the upper 70's F (24 C) and the elevation was around 4,500 ft (1,400 m).

Corona Del Mar, California: I used the Trekker on the beach on two occasions to light a fire pit BBQ at sea level. The winds were light.

Wasatch-Cache Mountain National Forest, Utah: I used the Trekker Lighter here at elevations ranging from 4,823 ft (1,470 m) to 8,200 ft (2,499 m).


Performance in the Field

Over the past two months I tried to use the Trekker daily at my home at an elevation of 62 ft (to light candles and just to see if it would light everyday. I am living at about 67 ft (19 m) above sea level. I am happy to say that lighter has never failed at this elevation. It worked on the first try.

I have some bad news though. I tested the Trekker Lighter in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah and it failed at 8,200 ft (2,499 m) while trying to light a backpacking stove. The flame appeared for a brief moment and then went out completely. Wind was not an issue since there was only a light breeze. I tried changing the setting of the flame adjuster and I had no success. However, in this same mountain range the Trekker Lighter worked fine with no issues at 4,823 ft (1,470 m) and 6,900 ft (2,103 m). It was very disappointing to me that the Trekker failed at higher elevations. I will say that the flame adjuster is not easy to use without a screwdriver. My nails are not long enough to turn the dial and I was without my multi-tool on this trip. I opted to use a coin. It worked, but it would be nice to have a plastic piece at the end of the lanyard to use for adjusting the dial.

Near Red Rocks Nevada I used the Trekker Lighter to light my stove for breakfast. The winds were gusty (over 30 mph - 48 kph) and there were no issues getting the lighter to ignite.

I like the idea that I can see how much fuel is remaining for use. When it was getting low I could see that I needed to add more fuel. It is also nice to see when filling the Trekker how much fuel needs to be added before it is completely full. I had to refill the lighter one time during the past two months and the process was very easy and straight forward. I did not overfill it as I looked in the window to see when it was full.

Summary

This is a durable lighter that works with the push of a button at all elevations I encountered up to 8,200 ft (2,499 m). The flame is hot and there is no need to push it completely into the item or the fuel I wish to light. The cap stays latched and the Trekker works well in wind and light precipitation. The casing is durable and looks new; even after being dropped several times. The lanyard has no real purpose for my usage, but I would find it handier if it had a plastic piece to use for turning the flame adjuster. The lighter is easy to fill and I think it is great for lower elevation use.


Things That Rock:

  • Looks durable
  • Hot flame
  • One button ignition
  • Fuel window
  • Latched cap
  • Easy to fill

Things That Are So-So:

  • Can do without the lanyard
  • Did not work at high elevation

Remarks

This concludes my reporting on the Windmill Trekker Lighter. Thank you Essential Gear and backpackgeartest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.

Windmill Trekker


 



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