Three Points of the Compass has previously looked at a couple of small and light lanterns for use in camp or home. One was candle-powered, the other was gas-powered. As an alternative- the little BRS-55 is a gas-powered ‘candle’ lantern.
This little gas-powered candle lamp is made by Chinese outdoors gear manufacturer BRS but has also appeared under many other brands as an OEM product. BRS first marketed it in 2015 but similar candle lanterns have been around a very long time, though very few in such a small package. It may suit those looking for a gas-powered light in the same vein as the Primus Micron, but prefer a low intensity, more friendly and less intrusive light, similar to that provided by the classic UCO candle lantern.
The design of the BRS-55 Dream Candle is simple. It is a little candle-sized gas light with a glass chimney, that protects the flame from light breezes, sitting atop a metal base. There is also a metal ring at the top of the chimney. Some clones of this lantern don’t have this and the glass is more vulnerable to dings. The canister mount has a lindal valve that can be attached to most of the standard gas canisters that are widely available. For a weekend trip (or longer if you were that way inclined) it could be swapped over with a gas stove after cooking an evening meal to provide just a little light to the gathering night-time darkness. There is a wire valve control, that controls the amount of gas supply to the jet, as well as a rotating cuff, that controls the amount of oxygen intake at the base.
The BRS-55 is made from aluminium alloy, copper, stainless steel, glass and rubber. It comes packed in a 26g rigid plastic storage box. The tall, slightly rectangular in profile, storage case has a small piece of foam stuck to the base in which the lantern can nest, as well as a ring of foam in the lid that fits inside the glass chimney when the lantern is stowed. These two pieces of foam keep the lantern central to the inside of the storage case and protect the chimney to a degree. Though it must be remembered that this lantern is glass and will not withstand severe shock. Dimensions of the closed case are 110mm x 45mm x 48mm. The press fit lid to this storage box is especially stiff and difficult to open.
The Dream Candle measures 39mm x 34mm x 103mm and weighs 99g. So, weight for both lantern and case is 125g. Away from trail, it could also be useful in the home, perhaps using up vestiges in almost empty gas canisters left over from camping trips though adequate ventilation must be provided when used in confined spaces such as indoors. Gas consumption is stated by BRS to be 6g/hour.
The little lantern is easy to use. Screw on to a lindal valve gas canister, ensuring the flame control is turned off. Turn on the gas then light the flame. There are two ways to do this, though some people seem to have found a third. Once the gas is turned on via the valve control, insert a match or taper through the opening at the bottom. The easiest method is to light the gas at the top of the chimney, keeping the fingers away from the opening. Some users have been able to use a third method. Remove the chimney from its press-fit fitting with a twisting motion, light the escaping gas, then replace the chimney. However, my glass chimney is held quite firmly on the two large O-rings and does not easily release at this point. The flame can be adjusted from very small to quite high. The flame should be kept below the top of the chimney. Once the gas is turned on and flame alight, the height of flame can then be adjusted by twisting the cuff at the base, which controls the oxygen flow to the flame. Be aware, the glass gets hot and the metal ring at the top especially so. This ring stays hot much longer than the glass once turned off. There is a lot of heat exiting the top of the chimney too. This is no cold LED light.
BRS also make the 95g BRS-17K, which is a two- or three-point adapter for the BRS-55. Two BRS-17K could potentially be fitted to a gas canister creating a five candle ‘candelabra’. This would obviously increase gas consumptions accordingly. BRS also sell various other accessories, including a gas supply line that can be run from the BRS-17K to a remote stove. This would be an interesting set-up to use something like a Fire Maple remote canister stove, such as the FMS-117H Blade 2. Though lacking the necessary connector, I have never actually tried this configuration.
This little lantern is very much a luxury. Especially if it is being considered for camping trips. It provides only a little light, though is brighter than a wax candle, and supplies just a modicum of heat. What it also provides is ambiance. The soft light is pleasant and warm. It also has the benefit of being easily controlled. As mentioned, the glass and metal surround get hot during use and must be kept away from flammables, including at least 300mm above as a substantial amount of heat exits the top. It must be left for five minutes or more prior to being removed and packed away in its storage case. As an alternative to the slim BRS-55 looked at here, there is also the BRS-55-A that has a pretty glass ‘snowflake’ shade, and the BRS-55-B, which has a classic bulbous ‘retro’ glass shade.
Most people have moved to battery powered lanterns if they require some lighting while camping but there remains a hardcore of traditionalists that prefer something a little more organic like a flickering candle flame. That said, BRS are careful to cover themselves with stark warnings on the packaging and Chinese language instructions enclosed with the lantern, about using this little lantern indoors or in tents. This is mostly due to worries over carbon monoxide poisoning.
You can find the BRS-55 Dream Candle sold under a few other names, such as the now-discontinued and more expensive GL-140 Little Lamp Nocturne. Don’t bother paying an inflated price for a brand name if you are interested, you may as well buy a BRS as there is little, if any, difference between them.
There are also other gas-powered candle lanterns, these may have different features, dimensions or weight, such as the five from Blackdeer/Fire Maple. From these, the simpler in design metal and borosilicate glass Blackdeer Candle apparently only weighs 87g and their steel globed gas lamp just 79g, but that looks quite large. However, I have yet to see either of these. There is also the 122g Robens Snowdon Gas Lantern, that is both heavier and bulkier.
I do wish I had been able to get my hands on the diminutive Soto Hinoto (released 2021) as it looks pretty much ideal for lightweight backpacking, but despite emailing the company directly, they said they currently have no plans to expand the distribution of this product outside the Japanese market and wouldn’t sell me one.