- 1 Best Survival Lighter
- 1.1 What Exactly Is A Survival Lighter?
- 1.2 Best Survival Lighters For The Outdoors
- 1.3 Frequently Asked Questions
Best Survival Lighter
You may or may not know of the 4 key elements of human survival. Shelter, food, water and fire are the only things you really need to worry about when you find yourself in a survival situation. Which is why it’s incredibly important to have a reliable way of starting a fire when you’re off in the wilderness.
Fire is a particularly important aspect of surviving, which is why so many classes built around wilderness survival focus heavily on your ability to raise a fire. Often times breaking down what the best sources of kindle are and how to correctly set one up.
Fire isn’t just important because it keeps you warm. It can be used for a gigantic array of different tasks. You can use it to boil off a lot of nasty bacteria that might be present in your drinking water. You can use it as a source of light at night time to help you navigate your camp sight. It goes without saying that it can be used to cook a wide variety of foods and teas also. Fire can also serve as a natural deterrent from would-be predators lurking in the darkness.
In extreme circumstances fire can even be used to heat metal up enough to cauterize wounds to prevent infection. (This was the preferred method of ancient peoples for hundreds of years.)
There is a massive variety of ways in which you can go about starting a fire. You can get flint/magnesium fire starter bracelets that wrap round your wrist, for example. Whilst handy to have “just in case” – they aren’t the most efficient. Which is why we’ve done a deep dive to find the best survival lighter.
What Exactly Is A Survival Lighter?
A survival lighter is any lighter that can be reliable used in a survival situation. Lighters such as these need to be built to resist the elements – normally in more ways than one. A waterproof lighter or windproof lighter is a great example of these. Survival lighters aren’t really one “set” style of lighter – they’re simply lighters that are reliable and sturdy enough you’d be willing to trust them with your life.
Zippo lighters can even be used, although they’re not as resistant to the wind as say a torch lighter.
You’ll obviously want to opt for a refillable lighter too. Namely so that you can ensure that the fuel is filled to the absolute maximum before you embark on a journey. This also gives you the option of transporting the fuel with you and giving you the option to refill if you manage to run out. The fuel can also be used directly on a fire, but it’s better to try to start a fire conventionally first before you resort to these tactics.
Best Survival Lighters For The Outdoors
Tough Tesla Lighter 2.0
This is a solid choice for any survivalist. This is one of the better wind proof lighters because it utilizes an electrical arc to provide you with enough heat to set just about anything remotely flammable on fire. You can easily hold it up to some kindling to get a roaring fire going fairly quickly.
It’s rechargeable via a micro USB cable, one of which is provided with the product on purchase. You can also expect to get about 300 uses per charge out of this thing, making it ideal for longer term use. This is thanks to the powerful lithium ion battery found internally.
It hasn’t just been built to withstand wind – it’s waterproof too. Meaning you should be able to use it in all manner of adverse weather conditions. You also need not worry if you happen to drop your lighter in a puddle or small body of water.
There’s a 10 second safety time out to prevent unintentional fires in the even of a malfunction. Although so far I haven’t been able to find a single documented story online of a lighter malfunctioning. Which is probably why this lighter has a 3 year fault warranty, accompanying its 6 month “any reason” return policy.
There’s a couple of useful additional features that really set this device apart from your standard plasma lighter. For starters, there’s an integrated flashlight. The internal battery required to power your lighter has more than enough charge to allow you to have your own light source. Just be wary you don’t drain too much battery playing with it. This flashlight has three separate settings.
Another incredibly useful additional feature is the presence of a para-tinder lanyard. This lanyard can be used as a basic source of tinder to get your fire started.
An emergency whistle is also present, make sure you remove it from your lanyard before burning so you don’t miss out on it.
The battery capacity is 220 mAh, so you likely won’t need to worry about running out of power provided you fully charge the device before each use.
VEHHE Plasma Lighter
This is another awesome choice for anyone looking for a survival lighter. Not only is this lighter windproof, it’s also waterproof. This lighter has clearly been engineered from the ground up to remain easy to use in a survival scenario.
There’s no open flame. This plasma lighter which can be activated with a single button press. The lighter can be charged via USB cable – which is pretty convenient seeing as USB slots are accessible just about anywhere nowadays. This is due to the presence of the high capacity lithium ion battery.
Many survivalists are apprehensive at first to consider an electric lighter in place of other alternatives. This is normally due to paranoia around how long your device will actually hold a charge. Some people also have concerns over safety.
Thankfully, a full charge on this device will net you about two and a half hours of active use. If you manage to burn through two hours of active lighting time without starting a fire, you’re probably underwater. Safety measures have also been taken – the lighter has been calibrated to cut out after an extended period of continuous use. This is designed to prevent accidental fires in the unlikely event there’s an issue with the internals. A child lock is also available to prevent any potential accidents when you’re storing this at home.
The VEHHE lighter is sleak and compact, too. With a width and height of under 1 inch and a length of 4.2 inches, you’re unlikely to struggle to fit this in to your pockets, nevermind a rucksack.
Despite its small size, the manufacturers managed to cram a couple of handy additional features into the design. You’ll note the tip of the flip cap has a small, handy compass present to assist you in navigation. The bottom end of the design also has a flashlight, which can be particularly helpful for locating tinder and firewood at night.
UCO Stormproof Torch Lighter
If you’re looking for the best survival solution, you may strongly want to consider a refillable lighter. This means you can transport plenty of backup fuel with you – so you don’t need to worry about running out when you need it most.
The UCO Stormproof torch style lighter is an excellent choice for anyone who’s erring on this side of thinking. The powerful butane flame emissions are delivered in a triple-jet stream, meaning this is functionally water resistant and wind resistant. This flame is also adjustable, meaning you can dial it back to conserve fuel or crank it up if you’re struggling to set your tinder ablaze.
Fuel conservation shouldn’t be too much of an issue, though. As a full tank should net you about 700 ignitions. The ignition system itself is also unlikely to wear out until you hit the 30,000 mark.
The shell of the lighter itself is made from an impact resistant ABS material and waterproofed with a double-interference silicon cap. It’s also wrapped in a further 3ft worth of adhesive tape which can be incredibly useful. Not just for making repairs to your shelter, but also for fashioning tools such as a spear. The carabiner that comes with it is made from a reasonably tough aluminum, too. Meaning you can easily clip this onto your vest, belt or backpack and not worry about it getting in the way.
speaking purely in terms of power, if disposable lighters were handguns, this would be an AK-47.
EDC Waterproof Lighter
The Dreambay EDC Match Pro Survival Lighter is another solution that’s centered around reliability. This impact resistant windproof lighter isn’t just water resistant, it’s water proof due to the o-ring seal on the base of the lid.
You’ll note the exposed windproof cotton wick located by the flint. Using a wick allows for a steady and consistent flame as fuel is released and instantaneously lit. It’s the same mechanism zippos use, they just hide their wick underneath their metal casing.
This product has underwent some design improvements since it initially hit the market, too. The cotton wick lasts 10x longer than it did on the first product run, and it already lasted a pretty long time. The flint is also replaceable now, which wasn’t a feature on the first run either.
With each lighter being good for about 15,000 sparks though – replacing the flint probably won’t be your priority for a while.
A higher quality o-ring has been added to ensure the fuel chamber stays air tight – which prevents fuel slowly evaporating over time.
The keychain clip attached to the lid means that you can just clip this to your bag and forget all about it. If you happen to drop you stuff you can take solace in the fact that the metal casing has rendered this survival lighter impact resistant, too.
If you’re buying straight from dreambay, you can expect to find a handful of bonus replacement parts thrown in. Including 2 o-ring seals, 6 lighter flints and 1 individual wick.
Promise Jet Torch Lighter
The Promise torch style lighter is honestly one of the best survival lighters on the market. It doesn’t double as a utility knife.. and it’s not bulletproof. But it’s really good at one thing – and that’s setting things on fire. Regardless of the weather conditions.
The high intensity flame of this butane torch means that the lighters windproof. Rain also isn’t likely to give you much hassle as the droplets sizzle away from the flame (imagine a lightsaber submerged in a fish tank).
The transparent, or semi-transparent fuel tank nets you a clear view on just how much fuel is left. Meaning you’re going to be constantly conscious of this and planning around it. You’re also less likely to accidentally leave the house with an empty lighter, so you could argue this is a potentially life saving addition.
Transparent fuel tanks are a really useful feature commonly found in disposable lighters that unfortunately doesn’t get a lot of love from more expensive manufacturers. Luckily that isn’t the case here.
The fuel tank itself is also pretty big, but can be easily topped up with the gas inlet valve.
The flame regulator located at the bottom of the torch will allow you to dial back the intensity if it’s not necessary. It’ll also allow you to kick it up a notch if those tinder sticks or other combustibles you gathered are struggling to light.
Another area where this excels as a survival lighter is size. it’s only about 3.15 inches in length and not much bigger than an inch in diameter, meaning you can fill a couple up and toss them in your bug out bag to be forgotten about. Just remember to pack some spare fuel too, just in case.
Standard Zippo Lighter
You could easily refer to a standard zippo lighter as “old faithful”. There’s a reason that these lighters have remained relatively unchanged through two world wars. You don’t need to fix what isn’t broken. Most modern zippos are wind resistant for all practical purposes.
Zippos are much sturdier than disposable lighters due to their all-metal construction. This metal casing renders them relatively impact resistant, making them ideal for anyone who thinks their life may be reliant on their continued function.
They’re also totally refillable, and function best when paired with premium zippo lighter fluid (although all lighter fluid should work). This means you can bring fuel along with you in order to ensure you don’t run out when crafting a heat source is critical.
Zippo lighters have their own reliable flint that’s good for about 1500 strikes on average. If you’re just throwing your survival lighter in a bug out bag and forgetting about it, you likely won’t ever have to worry about replacing this flint. If you’re using it everyday however, you’ll be happy to know that the flints are incredibly affordable and come in multipacks that can last you years.
They’re a serious contender for the title of ‘coolest lighter’. Not just due to their long history of seeing warzones across the planet, but also due to the massive range of different designs and casings you can get for them.
All Zippos sold straight from the source in the United States tend to come with a lifetime warranty. Meaning if you encounter any issues with your zippo you can simply ship them back to the manufacturer and they’ll happily provide you with a repair or a replacement.
Zippo Emergency Fire Kit
You’d be hard pressed to define this emergency fire kit as a “lighter” in the conventional sense. But in terms of functionality, it’s not too far removed. It comes with an ignition mechanism and fuel, just like regular disposable lighters.
It’s just that the ignition mechanism is a high quality zippo flint spark wheel, which should be good for nearly 2000 sparks. And the “fuel” is 5 individual pieces of cotton spark tinder, coated in paraffin wax. Each of which should burn for about 5 minutes straight – which is more than long enough to get a fire going.
This kit differs from other options in the sense that it’s been engineered to be both incredibly reliable and incredibly resilient. It’s built for literal years of use.
For example, this isn’t just water resistant, it’s water proof. O-ring seals completely secure the fuel compartment from water. The excess air in this compartment also means that the kit can float on water with ease should you happen to find yourself in a situation where you’re wading through.
The ergonomic, textured grip means that you’re unlikely to lose grip of the kit. But if you’re particularly paranoid, there’s also a molded lanyard hole on the top of the device.
This is an excellent emergency lighter, whether you use it as a back up or your primary fire starting method is up to you. Just be wary that you’ll need to restock your cotton tinder.
It’s fairly easy to use – the provided fuel ignites particularly easily and burns for a decent length of time. Once you’ve gotten a flame, simple place your fuel with your tinder sticks and keep an eye on your fire.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Type Of Lighter For Survival
By now you’ll have noticed that there’s a huge variety of styles of lighter available on the market. The truth is, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, you’ll note a handful of the products listed above are electronic lighters. They use the principle of electrical arcing to ignite nearby flammable surfaces. These lighters are useful in the sense that they’re generally windproof, rechargeable and sleek. You also don’t need to worry about fuel when you’re utilizing an arc style lighter.
It’s not all great though. Electric lighters may be easily rechargeable, but what happens when you run out of charge? This is where conventional or butane style survival lighter will shine through. It’s much easier to store energy in the form of a chemical fuel rather than in a capacitor. You could haul around a 1kg power bank with you and it’d be discharged before your butane had even begun to evaporate or degrade. (Although realistically, you’d have been able to set thousands of fires with either).
Conventional style lighters, especially ones with metal casings are generally a bit more impact resistant too. Electronic lighters have internal components that can be broken.
Torch style lighters produce a stronger flame, which can help you light fires quicker. But they also run out of fuel quicker.
Fire starting kits can last a very long time without degradation and are generally pretty reliable. But starting a fire with them can be difficult and you often only get so many tries with the provided materials.
As you can see, anything an be useful as a survival lighter. But it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before you make a purchase. Personally I like to keep two or more at hand in case of an emergency.
Is A Zippo A Good Survival Lighter?
Zippo lighters are absolutely notorious for their durability. There’s stories of soldiers returning home from WW2 with their zippo lighters intact. Continuing to refill them and use them until they passed of old age. The ignition wheel appearing to be worn but never failing to produce a spark.
The Zippo lighters issued in this time period weren’t even made from the best materials, either. Due to a material shortage caused by the war.
The primary reason zippo lighters last so long is because of the way they’re designed. They clamp closed pretty tight and as such tend to have a natural level of resistance against the elements. They’re also just designed well, generally speaking.
Traditional Zippos are not waterproof, though. They also produce a low intensity flame that isn’t particularly resistant to wind. However, the design of most modern variants does actually take this into account and provide some wind resistance. Which coupled with stable flames from the internal wick is more than enough to get a fire going in most circumstances.
The good news is you CAN make your zippo waterproof. You just need to buy a waterproof case.
What Is The Most Expensive Lighter?
Honestly, price variance is incredibly common amongst lighters. So much so that it doesn’t really matter what type of lighter you opt for. Plasma lighters and butane lighters can live at similar pricing points. Normally a fair few dollars more expensive than your standard store-bought plastic lighter.
You’re most likely to break the bank on an official Zippo lighter. This has less to do with design or quality and everything to do with brand name. You could consider Zippo lighters to be the “Nike” of the fire-starting world. They’re highly customizable too, as such there’s some seriously expensive designs available from their official store.
How Long Can A Lighter Last?
This boils down to two factors. Factor one being the specific type of lighter you choose. Factor two being how much care you actually take of your lighter.
Cheap plastic lighters you can pick up from a gas station aren’t really built to last. Whilst they’re often refillable, most people end up discarding them near the end of their tank because of how quickly they degrade. They’re also really easy to break.
Going to be using your device frequently, even daily? Then you’re going to wear down the flint on a traditional lighter much quicker than someone who uses theirs infrequently. Using an electric lighter of some kind? Constant use will eventually lead to some form of battery degradation. However, you should note, this process of degradation for the lighters mentioned above can take several years.
If you’re planning on keeping your lighter handy for survival purposes, it’s best to throw it in your bug out bug and forget about it. Just ensure you have a means of charging/refueling it kept nearby also – or you’re ultimately shooting yourself in the foot.
How Do You Fix A Dead Lighter?
This is a pretty handy skill to have, generally speaking. But in a survival situation it could be the difference between life or death. Let’s say your lighter stops working as icy weather is slowly creeping in – how are you supposed to stay warm without access to a camp fire?
The first thing you do when your lighter starts acting up is refrain from panicking. There is every chance that you’ve simply ran out of fuel. (if your lighter uses fuel). Ensure your lighter has an adequate amount of fuel or charge to be able to sustain an open flame or arc. If it does and you’re still having difficulty lighting, move on to the next step.
Often times the route of the problem will be the ignition section of the device. Dirt, debris and even rust can prevent the flint from operating properly. Take a close look here and try to clean out as much as possible. If it’s possible for you to disassemble your device without destroying it, this is the most thorough way of diagnosing the problem.
In the event that nothing is obstructing your ignition system, the flint itself may be worn out. If you’re in the wilderness – you’ll have to move on to a back up lighter. If you’re in the comfort of your own home – you can order a new flint for your lighter online. Just make sure you pick the correct one for your own style of lighter.