Brunton Glorb Lantern
By Raymond Estrella
September 05, 2007
Huntington Beach California USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or fiancée Jenn.
Web site: www.brunton.com
Product: Glorb Lantern
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $ 55.00 (US)
Weight listed: 8 oz (227 g)
Actual weight (empty): 7.8 oz (221 g)
Size listed: 5.5 x 2.5 in (14 x 6.4 cm)
Actual size: 5.5 x 2.25 in (14 x 5.7 cm)
Carrying case: 2.5 x 6 in (6.4 x 15.2 cm)
The Brunton Glorb (hereafter called the Glorb or lantern) is a very small compact lantern made for backpacking. The company claims that it will burn up to two hours on one fill with a mantle in use, and up to four hours without a mantle. Yes, I did say with no mantle. It is optional. It gives a reported 60 watts or 25 candle power of illumination.
The body of the Glorb is made of translucent plastic that is kind of smoked looking. A ring of black rubbery material goes around it, giving it an armored look. The ring rotates around the body, controlling the flow of fuel. Twisting it to the right turns it down or off. Going to the left increases the flow of fuel.
At the top of the body is a red lever that slides also. The lever can be set to the right for Mantle position, in the center for Ignition, and to the left for Candle position. On the opposite side of the body is a red plastic button that acts as both the starter and the fuel lock. Pushing it in allows fuel to enter the transfer tube at the same time as it activates the piezo electric igniter. While still holding it in, it slides down and locks onto an edge of the body. As long as it stays in this position fuel will continue to flow. Popping it back up lets it go back out, stopping the fuel flow.
Sitting above the body is the glass globe and fuel stem, along with the piezo electrode. The globe is held on by a black steel top and two rectangular steel wire loops. One of them stays attached to the body while the other is held in place by a flat spring catch. Popping the loop past the catch allows the top to swivel away from the lantern. The glass globe can then be taken off as seen here. This exposes the fuel stem which is steel with brass mesh at the top center. A steel wire loops above the stem that holds a mantle in place. Next to the stem is the white piezo ignition system's electrode. Here is a shot of it open.
There is a base on the bottom of the Glorb that has three steel feet that rotate out to give better support for the lantern. Each foot has a small round rubber pad to keep it from slipping on slick surfaces. The bottom of the base is clear plastic. The feet have a post on each one that goes through the clear plastic. These posts set into the body of the Glorb to help keep it in place.
Centered on the bottom is a knurled brass bolt. When it is unscrewed it can be seen that the center of the male threaded portion is hollow. This allows it to do double duty. It not only holds the base on the body (after the posts are slid into their holes) but the filling valve sits inside of the female threaded area of the body. The hollow portion of the nut slides over the needle valve. A small black rubber washer snugs up against a raised ring around the valve opening that seals it from leaking fuel once the bolt is tightened.
The Glorb can be filled with any good quality butane fuel. The easiest way to find it is the kind sold to refill lighters. Brunton sells an accessory called the FuelTool. It will screw on to any thread-mount camping butane fuel canister to fill the Glorb (and butane lighters) directly. This saves money over buying smaller lighter fluid canisters, but I do not use one. The clear plastic bottom and translucent body allows the fuel level to be seen just by turning it over on its side.
The 2.1 oz (60 g) carrying case is made of hard black plastic. It has a 1/8 in (3.4 mm) thick neoprene foam at each end to cushion the Glorb from shocks during transit. I place my extra mantles under one of the pieces of foam.
I have only used the Glorb in winter and always on snow covered terrain. I have used it in the White Mountains, the eastern Sierra Nevada and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land east of Lone Pine, California. It went on a try-out trip to San Jacinto once in winter also.
Temperatures got down to 10 F (-12 C) and elevations ranged from 3000' to 10700' (900 - 3300 m).
Almost all trips were three to 8 days in duration and using a sled to pull my backpack. (The pack would go on my back to negotiate bad areas, or bare spots.)
I bought the Glorb in 2004 expressly to use while sled-packing. I figured that I would not mind the weight of it and a canister of fuel on long multi-day trips in the snow. Since the nights are so long in the middle of winter, I thought it would be nice to play cards with some better light than headlamps. I also thought it would help to warm the tent as the month before I got it I was stuck in a tent at 4 F (-16 C) which forced me to stay in my sleeping bag. (That gets old real fast.)
It proved to be a very easy little lantern to use. It lit every time with no problem. The piezo worked at the elevations that I got it up to. Unfortunately I never made it to the 14245' (4342 m) high peak that was the goal of two of the trips it went on. I wanted to see if it would work that high. Alas, it was not to be.
It is pretty bright with a mantle in place. Using the mantle lets me really pour on the fuel. It will brighten a tent up with no problem. I used it once at a trail head at 4:30 in the morning on a stormy cloud covered start to a hike to load up. It was so dark that it seemed to just suck the light from our head lamps as we loaded the sleds. I fished out the Glorb and placed it on the top of the truck cab where it was very helpful.
The most memorable use of the Glorb was on a February trip in the Rock Creek area of the Sierra where I got clobbered by a blizzard before I even made it to the trail head. I crawled up the pass and stopped at a resort called Tom's Place in the eastern Sierra. I got a room in the lodge there to find that the rest of the place was full of Sierra Club members that were on a snow shoe excursion, going out in the days and back to the lodge each afternoon. The storm forced them in of course. Just after dark the storm knocked the power out to the entire area. I had my head lamp in my coat but of the 20+ Sierra Clubbers only one had a flashlight. So I got the Glorb out and put it in the main room on the fireplace hearth letting everyone at least have one lighted area. The owners eventually got battery powered lights to them and they thanked me for breaking out the Glorb.
Without a mantle, or in Candle mode the Glorb burns the fuel right as it goes past the brass mesh at the top of the fuel stem. It is not anywhere near as bright, but it does save fuel. That is because if I crank the rotating valve open it will just shoot a flame out the top of the Glorb like a welding torch. It is burning in this mode in the picture at the end of the review.
I like it better with a mantle but use it now in Candle mode. This is because of the fragility of the mantles once they have been used the first time. It is so rare to see the mantle still in one piece (and therefore usable again) when I pull it out the second day that it could bring tears of joy and amazement to see it whole. I kid you not!
The mantle just will not stay whole. And as Brunton charges $9.00 US for three replacement mantles that means that I spend an average of three bucks a day to use it. To the best of my knowledge I have used 11 mantles so far. I do not have any right now as I have given up on them. I have never had this kind of short life with other mantles in my white gas or propane camping lanterns. They bounce around in my vehicle and are still ready to fire up when I make camp in the evenings on scouting trips. Unfortunately those mantles are too large to work on the Glorb.
Another thing that bothers me is the lack of a way to hang it up. All of my other lanterns (including backpacking lanterns) have either a chain or a steel loop handle that allows hanging. In a tent I must keep in on the floor. This has me paranoid of letting the shell of my sleeping bag brush it. I envision a big flash, then floating feathers…
I have noticed that my use of the Glorb has dwindled this year. I only took it on one trip in 2007. I expect to use it more once I am married and taking a bigger tent on my winter excursions. I hope I can find some cheap source of mantles by that time.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
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