Tell us about yourself!
a pencil flame might work, but would probably take a long time to heat up and might not heat the entire length of the forge. For doing 1080 or 1084 steel, you might get away with it. for any high grade steels, it likely won't work. I have not been using a hose. Just attaching the little bottles to the TS8000. I have been thinking about getting a big tank and a hose though, so I don't have to worry about running out of gas in the middle of a heat treat.
I'm sure there are other torches that would work. Propane has been working fine, but mapp heats up faster and hotter. The thing on the TS torches is that they have the air intake near the trigger rather than at the torch end. This allows you to have the torch further in the forges without it suffocating and going out.