What Makes a Survival Lighter
A survival lighter is something that can make or break your bug out bag or your survival plan. If you find yourself needing a lighter in a pinch or if you just like having a reliable lighter when you’re out camping, you’re going to be looking for a few key things in a survival lighter. Those are durability, reliability, and versatility. A lighter that’s able to tick all three of these boxes should be the lighter you choose to take along with you or store somewhere safe in case of an emergency. What do those three things mean? How do you tick all three boxes? We’ll let’s go for a quick deep dive.
Durability: A durable lighter is going to be able to survive a tumble. Lighters tend to be pretty small, they’re usually tucked away inside of a pocket or found at the bottom of your bag. When a lighter is tucked away it needs to be able to survive the experience. A cheap lighter from the gas station might lose its hood and, in turn, destroy the jet or the valve. Cheap sparking mechanisms or flimsy bodies will render your lighters useless pretty quickly, so a durable lighter will have the structure and material to withstand a little bit of shock. A lighter doesn’t have to be built like Ft. Knox to earn a spot in a survival pack, but you should be able to drop it a couple of times without having to resort to sticks and rope to get your fire started.
Reliability: A reliable lighter does the same thing every single time you activate it. We’re going to pick on gas station lighters again. Some of those cheap lighters you find at the counter are made to be quick to build and easy to reproduce, but that means you’re sacrificing quality in a lot of areas. If you’ve ever tried lighting a cigarette with one of those, you’ll eventually run into the citation where your lighter is still full of fluid and all but one of the parts work. You can flick that wheel for hours without generating a spark, or maybe something happened in the valve and now your lighter is just a glorified piece of transparent plastic. Reliability matters when you’re picking out a survival lighter. It needs to be powerful and it needs to stay that way for a long time. You never know when you’re going to need to melt together the ends of some nylon or heat a needle. It’s not all about building fires and torching things. It’s about knowing that the lighter you pull out of your bag is going to perform no matter how much pressure is on it.
Versatility: Versatility is the least important of the three, but it still matters a great deal. When you’re building a survival kit or planning a camping trip, you want to save on space. Tools with more than one function get sent to the top of the priority list because you can save on space, weight, and hassle. If you can find yourself a lighter that’s able to act as more than just your lighter then you don’t just have a lighter. You have a companion.
Take the time to mull your decisions over carefully. What works for one person might not work for you. We try to make the best call with the information we have, but if you’re the tinder master and you feel like you can get along just fine with your favorite disposable lighter then that lighter ticks all three boxes for you, and as long as you’ve considered every angle as carefully as we have then you’ll be just fine.
Bonus Tip: If you’re mystified by plasma lighters, then this video has a lot to teach you!