What could be more critical than the lighter in your backpack? If you don’t have a reliable lighter, you may be unable to cook your food, boil your water, or start a nice warming morale-boosting fire. Almost every enthusiast, survivalist, and hiker has some lighter in their bug-out bag, but is it reliable? Can you be sure it will light up whenever you need it, in any conditions? Today, the market is swamped with thousands of products made by hundreds of manufacturers, but how can you know which product is a high-quality one?
This article will help you discover some of the best survival lighters we found. So, by the end of the article, you will feel much more enlightened (no pun intended) about which product will suit your needs best.
How do you choose a good lighter?
This is a list of things you need to have in mind before deciding to purchase a lighter. It should be/have:
- Direct flame
A durable lighter can’t easily break if it slips your grip. There are excellent rugged lighters that need substantial force to be broken. Also, it must, by design, be made of material that won’t rust after being exposed to some moisture or rain once in a while.
It should also work even after it is submerged under water or in any way exposed to heavy water. Moist air should have an including reinfect on it. It must light in any conditions. By direct flame, we mean that it should be torch-like. Unlike ordinary cigarette lighters, they are so powerful that the wind can’t blow them. Of course, your lighter should be portable; that goes without question. But it would be best if you also considered its weight. There are capsule lighters, which are very small and compact, weighing nearly nothing.
Also, your lighter would be even better if it were refillable. Of course, this isn’t a must, as it doesn’t change or alter how the more delicate works, but it’s great to know that you can reuse it as many times as you want. You will eventually get used to it, and it would be nice if you could refill it if needed.
By hand, we mean that it should allow you to use it with only your hand. Sbe tables require that you hold one piece with one hand and the other with your other, which may be inefficient. If one of your hands is injured, you may be unable to light a fire. That’s not the case with a hands-free lighter, so they are highly recommended.
Now that you know how to choose such a lighter, you should also know that you will always need a backup plan. You should consider a reliable fire starter or a waterproof match for this. If you want to know more about these products, we have great reviews on the best waterproof matches and fire starters.
Best survival lighters: top list
Zippo Brushed Chrome pocket lighter
Zippo is among the most popular manufacturers of lighters and fire starters, and it’s no surprise. They indeed make reliable and durable products that can suit various situations. They have rugged products for hard-core survivalists and people who need a cigarette lighter. For the purposes of this article, we will show that it can be used in emergency and survival situations.
Zippos often have cotton balls inside the casing, which can be very helpful if you run out of fuel. Cotton balls with Vaseline can be inflamed immediately. Also, all Zippo products run on any flammable fuel, as long as you have the ignition (which the lighter has).
Also, you can regulate the height of the flame thanks to the adjustable wick. That makes it also customizable. What’s also nice about it is that you don’t need to hold your thumb to keep it going. It will go on once you start the ignition.
The lighter can stand firmly straight up, thanks to its flat bottom. Since you don’t need to hold your thumb for the flame to keep going, you can even use it to make something that requires both hands to be free (the hands-free feature). Also, the flame is wind-resistant, so a gusting wind or a short breeze won’t blow it away. It’s also refillable, meaning you can use it for as long as possible. It has a lifetime warranty.
You only need to know that the downside with this lighter is that the manufacturer doesn’t ship it filled with fuel, so if you want to purchase the more delicate, you shouldn’t be surprised if it’s empty when you receive it. You can buy a separate lighter fluid with this lighter to ship them together.
Another slightly disappointing thing about it is that there is a tiny fuel leakage, even if you don’t use it. The fuel can evaporate even though the lid is on. Also, it’s not water-resistant. If you really need a water-resistant lighter, there’s one following in our list.
If you like this product, you can find and buy it here.
UST Trekker Stormproof lighter
This lighter stands up to the quality and price. It’s water-resistant, wind-resistant, and far more rugged than the Zippo version. It comes with a sealer right at the opening so no water or even oxygen can penetrate the fuel inside. Surprisingly enough, you can try this lighter under water and it will still produce a torching flame. Of course that you can’t start a fire under the water, but this is to show you how good it can work even in such drastic conditions.
Also, no matter the weather (windy, rainy, etc), you can rest assured that you can have a flame for as long as there is fuel. The product is also lightweight and small enough to fit in your pocket. It also comes with a lanyard, which you can tie around your hand or substitute with a longer neck lanyard.
And now the bad news – it doesn’t work well in very cold conditions. This is because the lighter works on butane, which won’t vaporize as quickly while the temperatures are too low, so you need to keep that in mind next time you go mountain trekking during the winter. Even if you are at sea level, butane won’t produce a flame in temperatures lower than 31 degrees.
And a last downside – the fuel runs out very quickly, which means you either have to use it sparingly or at least carry another lighter, which can be used when the UST has more delicate finishes and won’t light anymore. Otherwise, the manufacturer claims that the 4g of fuel can last for a bit more than 1000 ignitions. It all depends on how long you keep the flame up. This can significantly shorten the fuel amount.
If you like this product, you can find and buy it on Amazon.
Actual Utility FireStash keyring lighter
This lighter is a capsule-shaped, which means very small, portable and easy to hold to a key ring, lanyard, belt, etc. When you get used to having one attached to your clothes, pocket, or backpack, you could even forget you have one, but when you need it, it will save you.
Usually, these capsule lighters use naphtha fuel. This type of fuel is accessible for everyone and can be purchased from any grocery store or hardware shop. Unlike the Zippo lighters, these are water-resistant and have an O-ring to protect the fuel tank (while the lid is on). Well, it won’t work like a torch lighter, which could have a fire even under the water (like the UST lighter), but as long as you’re aware of that, you should try and keep it safe from water falling straight into it.
On the other hand, though, the fuel may run out pretty quickly. There’s also a reported fuel loss due to evaporation. Once in a while, you may have a hard time starting the flame using the wick, but apart from that, the flame will begin eventually begin to.
For the low price, you will still get a working lighter. Of course, if you like purchasing a more expensive and durable lighter, turn to the UST products).
If you like this product you can find and check its price on Amazon.
UST Floating lighter
As weird as it may sound, this lighter produces a flame under the water and can keep going and going. Not only that, but even if they are wet, they can create sparks for an ongoing flame. This means that you will have a flame as long as there is fuel. Nonetheless, it has an O-ring, and the wire bail will prevent the fuel from evaporating and drying out.
You also have the freedom to adjust the height and intensity of the flame, especially if you need to preserve the fuel a bit more. Talking about the fuel, the lighter is also refillable, so you can use it as long as you want. They use butane fuel.
The flame can also withstand stormy winds. Also, it can produce scorching flames, registered to heat up to 2,000 degrees F.
And again, like the previous UST model, this one also may fail you in icy conditions, that is, near or below 30 degrees F. Also, the fuel tends to evaporate, since you’re having butane in the fuel tank. Keep in mind that this product doesn’t come filled with any fuel, so you’ll have to prepare a butane container as you purchase the lighter.
If you like this product, you can find and buy it here.
Windmill Delta Stormproof lighter
Here is another competitor in the floating lighter category. It can also withstand strong winds and uses a piezo-electric ignition, which can be used up to 30,000 times effectively. The lighter has a durable rugged coating, which protects it from breaking, making it super impact-resistant. It’s also water-resistant and has the usual O-ring seal. The product’s total weight is 2 ounces and can contain 1 g of fuel. It has a 2-year warranty.
One customer shares that he could set wet tinder on fire with this lighter, which produces very hot flames. The same customer mentions that if you hold the more delicate, the fuel will last 20 minutes until it runs out. That could be more than enough if you’re hiking or using the lighter for survival situations – starting a fire to cook, using the light to see your surroundings, etc. Winds also don’t affect the flame in any way – it’s a torch-like flame.
The user also believes that the way the product is so rugged and durable, makes it virtually non-destructible if the lid is on and the entire lighter holds tight. He also reports that he experimented with it, trying to kick it around, drop it in a lake, or even burn it, and even ran with a truck over it (accidentally). The lighter remained healthy and working.
If you like this product, you can find and check its price here.
BIC disposable lighter
It may sound strange, but BIC has lighters which can actually help you in a survival situation. They can’t be refilled, but they are as valuable as any other lighter. They are lightweight and portable. You can have one or two, along with your main lighter, so that if a butane torch lighter won’t start in a too cold weather, then you can turn to the BIC lighter. It will start.
Keep it safe from water though, as it’s not water-resistant and may not work if wet. Also, the flame isn’t wind-resistant. But after all, given the price, you will still have a workaround in a critical situation.
This particular product has six lighters in the pack, so you don’t have to worry if one runs out and you don’t have a spare one. Also, for the price of this pack, you basically purchase one lighter for a mere $1. It’s definitely worth it.
If you like this product, you can find and purchase it on Amazon.
Keeping in mind all the details we mentioned; you can’t go wrong with one (or two) items from the above list. Always remember that you can’t rely on only one product, since all of them have some drawbacks and downsides, but another product may compensate for the lacking features.