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You are watching: What happens if you keep a lighter lit for more than 30 seconds

2.15 ozZippo Lighter FluidNo

We bought 5 of the finest backpacking lighters easily accessible and collection about trial and error their water-resistance by soaking castle in water, your wind-resistance by make the efforts to blow them out, and also their reliability by striking them till we obtained blisters. Ours tests shown what backpackers have long known: the BIC Mini Lighter (commonly dubbed the “Mini BIC”) is the ideal lighter for backpacking.

It is ultralight, reliable, decently water-resistant, and also a an excellent bang for your buck.

The Mini BIC’s just downside is it’s not wind-resistant. A simple windscreen can usually fix this problem though.

If you require a lighter for backpacking in incredibly wet or publicly conditions, we recommend the UCO Stormproof Torch. It was the most wind- and also water-resistant lighter we tested.

Also, it’s necessary to allude out the Mini BIC deserve the height score in our tests by the slimmest of margins. The Clipper Mini Lighter is wonderful alternative. it isn’t as basic to discover in the US, however — you’ll likely have to pick one up digital or in ~ a head shop.

Read on for our full reviews.


The 5 lighters we tested

Top Pick: BIC Mini Lighter

Supremely affordable and available everywhere, the Mini BIC earn our top Pick award since of the reliability, value, and also ultralight weight.

When i struck the BIC 200 times, that lit a perfect 200. BIC has actually perfected lighting consistency.

The Mini BIC is likewise decently water-resistant. ~ performing 3 “Soak Tests” with it — submerging the lighter in water, shaking the out, and then do the efforts to light it in 1-minute intervals — it took an mean of 2 minutes before it started lighting again consistently.

(To dry it out much faster you can likewise run the up and down a item of wood or your pants leg for 30 seconds.)

The BIC’s main drawback is exactly how poorly that holds increase in publicly conditions. The fire is daunting to irradiate in even a slight breeze.


Without some type of windscreen, a BIC is difficult to irradiate in also a slight breeze. The wind was blowing a couple of miles per hour at the moment of this photo.

It’s basic problem to conquer though — ns usually have actually luck v using mine hand or windscreen come block the wind long sufficient to light my backpacking stove.

If you’re worried that you require something beefier to take into the backcountry, don’t be.

BIC lighters have been placed through the ringer countless times by backpackers of all varieties. Annually plenty of AT and also PCT thru-hikers complete their hikes having used just Mini BICs. And also adventurer Andrew Skurka supplies a BIC in his Cadillac oven System.

Runner-Up: Clipper Mini Lighter

The Mini Clipper is an additional excellent backpacking lighter.

While not virtually as ubiquitous as the Mini BIC, it performed actually far better in our tests.

For starters, choose the Mini BIC that lit a perfect 200/200 times.

It is likewise slightly more wind- and also water-resistant 보다 the Mini BIC.

Where it take it the BIC 2 minute on typical to begin lighting repeatedly after having been submerged in water, it take it the Clipper 1 minute. Ns was additionally able to light the Clipper more easily in a slim breeze.

You might be wondering at this point…

“If it performed better in your tests, why didn’t it get a greater score?”

Based ~ above reports I check out of backpackers who had used a Clipper for a lengthy time, the general consensus was that a Clipper’s flint wore out much faster than a BIC’s. Because of this I docked it some points because that being less reliable end the long-term.

In my see you still can’t walk wrong if you take a Clipper on your next backpacking trip. Permit price and access be your guides if you’re undecided between the two.

Mini Clippers ship pre-filled but unlike BIC lighters they space refillable with butane. Friend can additionally purchase replacement flints and also replace a used-up one yourself.

Best for Adverse Weather: UCO Stormproof Torch

Most backpackers — even if it is you’re a beginner or jug thru-hiker — don’t need this lighter.

It’s heavy, bulky, and costly family member to BICs and also Clippers.

Its fire is impressive however unnecessary for all but the many adverse weather conditions.

But have to you truly require a weather-resistant lighter, the UCO Stormproof Torch is your best option.

While neither important windproof no one waterproof favor UCO’s remarkable stormproof matches, this lighter to be the many wind- and also water-resistant that us tested.

When submerged through the lid on, the inside of the lighter remained fully dry and lit immediately after shaking turn off the overabundance water. As marketed, the instance is waterproof.

When submerged there is no the cap, it took just one minute of drying in my pants pocket prior to the lighter started lighting again consistently.

Its wind-resistance isn’t anything to create home about — it was pretty easy to blow the end — but it to be the finest lighter us tested in this regard, simply edging out the competition.

I do have actually some permanent reliability pertains to with this lighter however. The more I struck the the an ext the flame started to sputter. If you execute go with the Torch, take it a back-up ignition resource with you just in case.

There space two execution of this lighter: one comes through a bottle opener, the other with duct tape. I tested the duct ice version.

UST Wayfinder Lighter

The Wayfinder Lighter indigenous UST, choose the UCO Torch, is a butane lighter through piezo-electric ignition.

UST says it “performs without fail in the most adverse conditions.”

I uncovered it to be reliably unreliable.

When ns struck the 200 times, that lit simply 87, the least of any type of lighter by far. That is marketed together “windproof” and is apparently able to withstand winds of approximately 80 mph. Ns didn’t test it in those conditions, yet I was able to blow it the end by blow air in ~ a center rate.

The Wayfinder’s power was heavily affected by gift submerged in water. The inside of the lighter obtained wet also when the cap was on. Also, air bubbles came out the the fuel refill port, which made me wonder if water was entering the fuel chamber.

It take it an median of 9 minutes of dry the lighter in my trousers pocket before it lit again, and over 20 minutes prior to it started lighting consistently.

One that my key gripes with the Wayfinder is that there’s no way to know exactly how much fuel is left. Top top backpacking trips, specifically long ones, this in critical thing come know.

Overall i wasn’t impressed. The unreliability and high price allude make this lighter a less than ideal an option for your following backpacking trip.

Zippo Matte Lighter

The Zippo is a classic, however it provides for a negative backpacking lighter.

The best drawback the this lighter is the unreliability.

Now, ns don’t average this lighter doesn’t light consistently. It does. The Zippo was the third most reliable lighter in that regard, light 175 out of 200 times.

In this case, I typical it’s unreliable because of the issues that stem indigenous its fuel.

First, I had actually an concern with the fuel leaking. After ~ soaking the lighter in water to test its water-resistance, the fuel began leaking on my hands, in my trousers pocket, and also on the outside of the lighter.

This poses two threats once out in the backcountry:

It boosts your opportunities of running out of fuelIt poses a fire hazard need to you irradiate the lighter there is no realizing it’s to be leaking

What’s more, the fuel evaporates slowly out of the lighter. Over there are plenty of accounts digital of civilization complaining around this and trying to come up v their very own fixes to the problem.

This also happened to me as soon as I took these lighters v me on an overnight backpacking trip. The Zippo had actually fuel in it when I left. Once I returned simply a job later, in spite of lighting it only a grasp of times, it to be empty.

The last thing you want on a backpacking trip is because that the fuel in your lighter to leak or evaporate. as such, we don’t recommend the Zippo.

And that’s good news in reality — the Zippo has actually the highest possible retail price of any kind of of the lighters we tested, you need to buy fuel for it and also refill the yourself, and it’s heavier 보다 a backpacking lighter needs to be.

Save yourself a couple ounces and also a grasp of dollars: choose up a Mini BIC or Mini Clipper and be done through it.


Here space the finest backpacking lighters:

BIC Mini LighterClipper Mini LighterUCO Stormproof TorchUST Wayfinder LighterZippo Matte Lighter

Alternative ways to Light her Backpacking stove or begin a Campfire

In mine experience, lighters space the most popular way backpackers irradiate stoves and also start campfires.

There are various other ways, though, which we’ve also written about. Think about these other commodities if you’d like an alternative to lighters (click on the link to watch our evaluate of the peak options):

Even if you execute go v a lighter, you can want to take a back-up ignition source just in case. Most backpackers I understand who do this will lug one in the kind of a ferro rod, magnesium fire starter, or fill of waterproof or stormproof matches.

How to select the best Backpacking Lighter for your Needs


When it pertains to backpacking gear, lighter is always preferable.

The lighters we tested ranged from 0.39-3.21 oz. That isn’t terribly hefty in the grand scheme of things, but relatively speaking the most difficult lighter weighs end 8 times as much as the lightest.

Unless you want to go v our top option for adverse weather, the UCO Stormproof Torch, a lighter shouldn’t expense you more than an ounce in fill weight.

If you’ll it is in backpacking for an extensive amount of time you can want to take into consideration bringing a back-up lighter or, if your lighter is refillable, extra fuel.

Flint vs. Piezo-Electric Ignition

Flint lighters — choose the BIC, Clipper, and Zippo — usage a flint to create sparks.

Piezo-electric lighters — like the UCO and UST — use a spring-loaded hammer to hit a piezo-electric crystal and create an electric charge.

I found the flint lighters to it is in much an ext reliable over the long-term 보다 the piezo-electric lighters.

Unless you require a highly weather-resistant lighter such together the UCO Stormproof Torch, I’d recommend you go through a flint lighter.

There are also battery-powered electrical lighters (aka plasma lighters). These space not water-resistant and also thus are less than right for taking right into the backcountry.


There is no perfect windproof or waterproof backpacking lighter. However, all the lighters us tested sported some degree of weather-resistance.

Although, just because you intend to encounter disadvantage weather on your pilgrimage doesn’t median that you need to carry along a extremely weather-resistant lighter.

While ns would typically recommend girlfriend go v a Mini BIC or Mini Clipper for the weight and also cost savings, there room some situations where a highly weather-resistant lighter might be preferable — such together emergency or survive scenarios. Also, if you aren’t involved with the extra weight and also bulk it’s tough to placed a price on peace of mind.

Pre-Filled vs. Empty

BICs and also Clippers come pre-filled. The various other three lighters we tested come empty and you should fill them v the suitable fuel, i m sorry you also must buy.

Pre-filled lighters are much less hassle and also cheaper upfront. You don’t need to buy fuel or fill the lighter yourself.

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Empty lighters you have to buy fuel for and also fill yourself. They are refillable and thus might work the end to be cheaper in the long-run. The two species of fuel we provided were butane for the UCO Stormproof Torch and also UST Wayfinder Lighter and Zippo lighter liquid for the Zippo Matte Lighter. (The Mini Clipper can likewise be refilled v butane.)

Type the Fuel: Butane vs. Lighter Fluid

Backpacking lighters are generally butane lighters. The fuel they use is premium butane.