The 4 Best Backpacking Lighters – Reviews 2021

best backpacking lighter

Photo by Shakapam / CC BY

Even those who are not into survival and prepping themselves know that being able to start a fire is among the most crucial of survival skills. Fire is the only thing in a survival situation that can give you warmth from the cold weather, a means to cook food, security against hungry animals, and a means to see in darkness all at once. The very act of making a fire alone is a huge morale booster in any survival situation.

By way and large, the easiest way to get a fire going is going to be with a lighter. Rather than fumbling around with a box of matches or messing around with a magnesium flint striker, with a simple flick of your thumb you have a flame going. This is why a lighter should always be your first choice for a fire starter.

If you haven’t packed a lighter into your backpacking backpack yet, you definitely need to. To guide you along, we’ve come up with 4 of the best backpacking lighters on the market that are designed specifically for outdoor use, and then will talk about the qualities to look for in a good lighter afterwards.

Zippo Chrome Lighters

Zippo is a very popular manufacturer of lighters and fire starters in general, and the reason why is because they make product that are rugged and intended for true survivalists, not just for individuals who need a lighter to start a cigarette. But there are two very neat features about the Zippo Chrome Lighter that sets it apart from its competitors.

The first feature is that it has cotton ball material inside of the casing, which you can use to start a fire should your tinder become wet. Combine the cotton with Vaseline or hand sanitizer, and it will light up the moment it comes in contact with a spark. The other neat feature is that Zippo will run on any kind of flammable fuel, which could come in handy for when you need to refill it but are short of options.

Test my new brush chrome zippo !

Tesla Coil Lighters TM USB Rechargeable Windproof Arc Lighter

The Tesla Coil Lighter is a rechargeable electric lighter that doesn’t require a flame or butane in order to work. Instead, it creates an electric arc with the simple press of a button. What’s more is that it re-charges via a USB cable, which is not only convenient but very economical on your part as well. The Tesla (see full specs) will not light up when the lid is closed, which is a great safety feature. Each charge on this lighter will last between one hundred to three hundred uses. Total dimensions are a height of three inches and a width of half an inch, with a weight of just over three ounces. This is a stronger contender for the best backpacking lighter.

Tesla Coil Lighter Review

UCO Stormproof Torch Windproof Lighter

The UCO Stormproof Torch Windproof Lighter is notable for its windproof flame that is also fully adjustable, meaning that you should be able to get a fire going regardless of what weather conditions you are in. But if that’s still not good enough for you, the UCO (see full specs) is also water resistant, windproof, and refillable. It comes with a bottle opener installed onto its base that you can use to reopen it. UCO recommends the Torch for anything from skiing to boating to hiking to backpacking to being thrown in a bug out bag.

This is a true survivalists’ or outdoorsman’s lighter, as the outside of the lighter is made out of a very durable silicon and ABS material. For extra measure, an aluminum carabiner is thrown in that allows the lighter to be attached to a backpack or a belt. Total weight on the UCO is three and a half ounces.

Start a Fire. Enjoy a Beer. UCO Torch+Bottle opener is here!

BIC Disposable Lighter

Believe it or not, a cheap BIC lighter will work well as a backpacking lighter. Some survivalists discard them because most people believe they can’t be refilled (even though they can—research how to), but in the long run they will be just as useful as the more expensive models. BIC lighters are incredibly portable and lightweight, and will start up a flame under virtually any weather conditions. The cases are resistant to rain, but it’s not advised that you get them soaked or else the internals will get wet and the lighter may not work, so keep that in mind in a survival situation.

NOTE: since BIC lighters are so cheap, you can easily buy and store several them in your backpack so you always have a backup option.

Bic Disposable Lighter Review

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Lighters:

There are many qualities that you need to look for in a backpacking lighter before making a purchase. The first thing to look for in durability. By durability, we mean the lighter cannot break if it slips from your hand and falls to the ground. A true backpacking lighter is a rugged lighter and one that requires A LOT of force in order to break.

The next thing to look for is for the lighter to be water-resistant. There’s no such thing as a true waterproof lighter (even if a company markets theirs as such) but it should at least be water resistant. This means that even if the lighter can’t survive being dunked under water, it should function just fine in the rain.

Finally, your backpacking lighter needs to be refillable. A lighter that cannot be refilled is a clear sign that it is likely made very cheaply. A refillable lighter ensures that you can just continue to refill it with butane instead of having to buy another one repeatedly.

Durability, water resistance, and the ability to be refilled (or in the case of an electric lighter, recharged) are the three primary qualities that you need to look for in the best backpacking lighter. Each of the lighters that we have outlined and discussed meet these qualities and are perfectly suitable for backpacking use. Good luck!

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