5 Things to Look for in a Survival Lighter

Being able to light a fire outdoors is a quintessential skill to surviving in the wilderness. Unfortunately, many preppers skip over the lowly fueled lighter for more stone-age fire products.

As retro as it is to utilize old-school camping skills, experienced survivalists, celebrity bush crafters, and soldiers across the world utilize a cigarette lighter as their go-to choice with more primitive methods as a backup.

In addition to being incredibly common and inexpensive, disposable lighters are a miracle of modern technology. Due to the strenuous demands of chain smokers and capitalism, this easy-to-use, durable, reliable, effective, and lightweight product is an excellent option that also lasts decades on the shelf. You can’t say that about too many $2 products.

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What is a survival lighter?

Although the disposable lighter will be your best friend most of the time, having a dedicated survival lighter is a great alternative. The best survival lighters are durable and constructed from high-quality materials that last, easy to use, take specific fuel types of specific environments, refillable, and weatherproof.

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Remember, the environment where you will be starting fires is an important factor when selecting which type of survival lighter meets your needs.

1. Durability

When searching for a survival lighter, you first want one that will last. In the event of an emergency, finding replacement lighters will not be a simple task, so you want to look for products constructed from steel and ABS plastic.

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This will give you the most durability when dropping your lighter or fleeting from zombies. When out in the wild, it is easy to drop and step on your lighter so having a version that can withstand such force is essential.

2. Ease of use

You may find that some lighters require practice and special expertise before mastering how to use them.

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During a survival situation, you may not have use of both hands in extreme cold or due to an injury so finding a lighter that is easy to use with one hand becomes even more critical.

3. Fuel type

When selecting a lighter, remember that there are various fuel options, including:

Butane is a highly flammable, colorless, organic compound used to refill butane torches and lighters.

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Most windproof lighters on the market are operated by Butane.

Electric arc and plasma lighters are flameless meaning they don’t use combustible fuel. Instead, they operate on rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries. They differ from open flame lighters by focusing on the exact lighting area, instead of heating the tip of the lighter.

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Since these are flameless, electric and plasma lighters are also windproof. The only drawback to these lighters is once the battery dies, they cannot be used unless you have a recharging option.

Lighter fluid is the easiest fuel option available as it is available everywhere. This is positive when creating a preparedness kit. The opportunity to find suppliers during a disaster is a critical factor when choosing any type of survivalism gear so the availability of fuel is a major draw.

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Lighter Fluid

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Two types of lighter fluid exist, petroleum-based, which utilizes the volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbon solution known as a Naphtha, and alcohol-based fluids like aliphatic petroleum solvent.

4. Refillability options

While you should stick to disposable lighters for your emergency fire kit, they run out of fuel through use, so it is important to also have rechargeable or refillable lighters that same money and create long-term versatility.

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One of the drawbacks to refillable lighters is they can leak, so they are not the best long-term storage option but the right refillable can utilize multiple fuel types. This flexibility makes them an excellent backup for long-term emergencies where you could be scavenging the field from unexpected places like paint suppliers or perfume bottles.

5. Weatherproofing 

When searching for the perfect survival lighter, you want one that is weatherproof. Since you never know the state of the weather in the future or your environment, you want a lighter that is windproof and can be used during a storm. This could include ice, hail, snow, or rain, so you want a unit where the flame remains lit during the worst-case scenario.

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Furthermore, if you get the lighter wet from a storm or body of water, it must be waterproof, and you want one that is buoyant in case you are traveling on water.

Difference between a survival lighter and a regular lighter

The concept of a survival lighter may seem redundant in that a regular disposable lighter is lightweight, small, and reusable. This may beg the question, why do you need any other features?

Most survival lighters are weatherproof and durable, unlike disposable lighters. Survival lighters were meant to be used in all types of harsh conditions countless times and are lightweight.


Many are attached to a carabiner or keyring to ensure they are easily accessible and secure, regardless of the terrain or environment. Another major difference is the standard lighter has a small button that must be held to initiate the flame. This tiny action, that does not always work on the first click, could be the difference between frostbitten or arthritic fingers in an emergency.

Best survival lighters

These are a few of the best survival lighters on the market

With the push of a button, the Explorer Dual Arc Rechargeable Lighter shoots an electrical current into the dual arc thus allowing you to light anything.

rechargeable survival lighter
Rechargeable lighter

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With a wind resistance of up to 80 mph, excellent buoyancy, and bright color, this is one of the best electric lighters on the market.

The Foxtrot Survival Peanut Lighter Kit includes a fuel canister, flint striker, and two capsule lighters. Every item in the kit is small enough to be attached to a zipper pull or keychain making them an excellent option.

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While all components are waterproof, they do not float so it is important to remember that consideration, based on use and environment.

The OPG3 Permanent Match consists of a small container of lighter fluid with a wick and steel striker. Until used, the strike remains in the container absorbing the lighter fluid.

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Replacement wicks are available and should be purchased as a backup.

The Bayite Ferrocerium Flint and Steel Firestarter includes 9 feet of paracord and can be used in any weather condition at any altitude. In addition to the strike, you can utilize a knife to spark a flame which is handy if your striker is lost or broken. This option is an excellent backup Firestarter kit for any emergency bag.

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Finding the best survivalist lighter is a difficult choice since it must be able to work in all weather conditions and environments. Since you cannot predict the future, the next best step is to follow the above considerations toward finding the lighter that suits your needs.