8 Best & Most Durable Survival Lighters for 2023

No survivalist or outdoor adventurer should be without a trusty survival lighter by his side.  

It’s one of the most important things you should stash on your kit and backpack.

If you’ve ever built a bug-out bag then you’ll know that it’s a must-have.

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  A. Things to Consider When Choosing
    1. Usage
    2. Quality
    3. Reliability
    4. Direct Flame
    5. Water Resistance
    6. Portability
    7. Refillable
    8. Hands Free
    9. Wind Resistance
  B. Types of Survival Lighters
    1. Quick & Versatile
    2. Butane
    3. Wind Proof
    4. Plasma
  C. The Best Lighters you Can Buy
  D. Conclusion

What’s so important about a lighter? It can be your best friend in emergency survival situations. It can mean the difference between life and death. When you’re hunting out in the woods, you’ll need fire to cook what you’ve caught. You’ll need fire to stay warm. It can keep you safe when you’re in unknown areas with wild animals prowling about. Fire will keep you from freezing in the winter.

Cold affects the extremities first, which means your fingers, head, and feet should be kept warm at all times. In a blizzard, the human body can only survive for a few hours. This why where a lighter comes in handy- you won’t need to worry about starting a fire in survival situations.

A. Things To Consider When Choosing a Lighter

Not all lighters are alike. Everyday lighters aren’t built to stand the test of time and the rigors of outdoor environments. Here’s where you should do your homework in determining the features that really matter. In short, you’ll need to think- what functions matter when looking for the best survival lighter? In choosing the best survival lighter for your needs, you’ll need to think about the following factors:


1) Usage

You will need to think about how you plan on using your survival lighter before you can start looking for one. A good lighter will be able to light a fire within a reasonable amount of time, but you’ll need to take in account the unexpected things that could happen in emergency situations. You will need to make sure that your survival lighter will be able to take a beating and work in different conditions.

2) Quality

Survival lighters should be durable enough that it won’t break if it falls to the ground. I put the emphasis on the word “survival” in both the situation and the product so that you can put it to use anytime you need it.

Rugged survival lighters should still create fire even if it falls at a certain distance. You should choose tough lighters that can withstand weight and impact easily. A stainless steel type of lighter serves this purpose as they are durable and rust-free even after prolong use.

3) Reliability

There’s a number of varying weather and climate conditions whenever you go outdoors, including snowstorms, rains and floods. Your survival lighter must be able to work most of the time when you hit the switch.You’ll come across a number of lighters, and each will have its own pros and cons. For example, wick-based lighters are good for starting a fire in freezing temperatures, but the fuel system tends to leak as the lighter ages. If you can’t get around the disadvantages of your chosen survival lighter, then it’s best to pack more than one type depending on where you’re heading.

4) Direct Flame

Don’t forget about this factor when you’re choosing your survival lighter. A regular lighter won’t work in pouring rain or in a gale, whilst a survival lighter can. You’ll need to think about direct flame as it could prove to be useful in emergency situations. Direct flame means that the fire emanating from the unit should be torch-like, which is great for quick-starting and power purposes. This means that you can flick on the switch and not worry about the rain or heavy winds.

5) Water Resistance

Matches are a staple in a bug out bag, but when the bag gets wet the matches are no good. Suffice to say, they aren’t the best survival fire makers around. Getting a lighter that’s waterproof is part of the survival equation.

Some lighters have a waterproof casing that keeps the moisture and the air out of the unit. This is one of the most important features that you should be looking for as you can’t expect the environment to be warm and dry all the time. Some lighter brands even have the ability to produce flames even if they’re submerged in water for a short while. Finally, the base material should be resistant to corrosive effects after being exposed to air and water.

6) Portability

A lighter in itself is made as a portable fire-making device. One thing that you should check is the overall weight. It’s one of the few things that you should keep close on hand at all times- in your backpack and in your pocket, if possible. Moreover, the compact form should be optimized for hand-carrying in certain survival scenarios.

There are different types of portable lighters. Some assume the shape of a capsule, which is compact and has a negligible weight factor. You can take them when you go camping, trekking, mountain climbing, etc. Keep in mind that every ounce of weight is important when you’re packing a survival bag. The perfect survival lighter is one that’s tough yet hardly weighs more than necessary.

7) Refillability

If you want a lighter that you can use for a long time then you’ll have to think about refillability. There’s a certain advantage in having the ability to refill your survival lighter when it runs out, but it’s not a real must-have.

8) Hands-Free

One of the more advanced features in a lighter is hands-free lighting. This factor allows the user to strike and produce fire using only one hand. In certain survival scenarios where you won’t be able to use both hands, this becomes an essential factor. Today, there a number of lighters that do multiple things. They can be made to create a fire or be the sole source of heat.

9) Wind Resistance

Using a lighter can turn out really tricky especially when you are in the mountains and its very windy. A Wind Resistant Lighter comes handy in situations like this. Never forget to bring with you a lighter which you can be sure to use in any weather!

B. Survival Lighter Types

1) Quick and Versatile (Zippo Lighters)

Zippo lighter brands are known for their durability and long shelf life. When you buy a Zippo lighter brand, you also get the Zippo warranty. The company will replace the lighter for free and you’ll just need to pay for shipping. If you should know, the motto is “it works, or we fix it for free!”.

Zippo lighters are simple but very useful in a lot of emergency situations. You can rely on a Zippo-based lighter to ward off frostbites and hypothermia in chilly weather and in instances where finger and hand dexterity is compromised. With a Zippo lighter, all you need to do is to run your finger through the striker wheel using your pants fabric without even having to press down on the lever. Plus, you won’t need to do anything to keep the flame lit, which makes it a great hands-free device.

On the plus side, this type of survival lighter runs on flammable fuel that could be ignited with a spark. The design makes it very easy for a quick lighter refill using butane cartridges and naphtha-based fuel with a compatible nozzle. Gasoline and diesel, in theory, can work with a Zippo, but it’s not recommended unless in dire conditions.

The disadvantage in packing a Zippo lighter is that the flame only goes in one direction- up! Lighting something at an awkward angle will be a difficult task. You’ll also need to consider packing extra butane fuel cartridges as the gas escapes and evaporates over time.

2) Butane Lighters

The piezoelectric butane type lighters will serve as a great warming device for when you’re in a cold environment. Bic branded lighters may not work in extreme cold. There’s a reason why you can buy a pack of them for less than $10- they jam up, fall apart or won’t use up all the contained liquid fuel.

Some of the high-end lighters may still fail in elevated places. The beauty of butane is that they are completely replaceable and good for instant uses. You can get a good number and put one in your bug out bag, your emergency backpack and in your pocket for everyday use.

One of the things butane lighters are good at is creating a fire at ground level. The pressure inside the casing is able to put out a longer flame. The portable and lightweight nature makes it your go-to survival lighter for short trips and camping.

At best, butane survival lighters can create a spark to set small twigs and leaves alight. If you’re stuck in a real emergency having the ability to produce a spark is still better than having nothing at all. This type of lighter is an all-around device that can get the job done in many situations.

3) Windproof Survival Lighters

If you live in an area where there are high elevation and windy climate, then windproof survival lighters are the best ones to get. These lighters can produce a flame even with 80mph winds- all you need to do is push one button. Moreover, the best windproof lighters can create fire in elevations up to 80,000 feet via manual control.

These lighters are made to float if you accidentally drop them in water. Choose one that has bright colors so you can easily find it in the dark. The flint strikes solidly even when they’re damp. The piezoelectric ignition makes it even easier to produce a flame even if your hands are cold or numb.

Finally, windproof lighters are designed so that they won’t leak fuel needlessly. They are also refillable with a fuel source. You’ll need to pack a separate canister.

4) Plasma Lighter

Instead of producing good old flame, plasma lighters put out electric plasma bolts. Housed in the casing is a battery and electric current to start a spark. USB cables are usually included, but you’ll want to invest in a portable solar charger to increase the plasma lighter’s usefulness.

Operation of this lighter is easy. Just use any finger to click the button, and voila! instant flame. The flame, in this case, is either a single or a double plasma that has a higher temperature than fire. The device houses a pair of ceramic electrode material where the electrical arc forms. One of the advantages you can get when you use a plasma lighter is that it requires no fuel or fluids to generate flames. It only takes an hour or two to be completely charged.


C. The Best Survival Lighters You Can Buy


1) Survival Frog Waterproof Tough Tesla Lighter

The Survival Frog Waterproof Tough Tesla Lighter is also another item that should form part of your outdoor survival backpack. This electric lighter has a windproof and waterproof structure and is convenient to use because it does not require altitude adjustments. It does not also need the use of butane to operate.

With its sturdy plastic case, which also features a wire safety latch, keeping the lighter protected and within easy reach is possible. It is a rechargeable lighter, too. You can start a fire from it by just simply pushing a button. With its built-in cable, you can charge it anywhere that has a USB port in as little as one and a half to two hours.

Using this survival lighter is also easy. All it takes is to allow the dual-arcs to touch something flammable to begin a fire. Each full charge allows you to use this lighter for around 250 to 300 times. For safety purposes, it also has a 10-second timeout. It is a big help every time you want to try an adventure outdoors, like camping or hunting.

104.90 grams 2.7 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches No fuel required Arc Plasma Windproof and Waterproof


2) Icfun Waterproof Lighter

The Icfun Outdoor Windproof Waterproof Lighter is another survival lighter that can make all your outdoor adventures more fun and manageable. It allows you to start a fire anytime you want. One advantage of it is that it is waterproof, thanks to its metal-ring sealed cover and the IP56 waterproof rating.

With such a structure and waterproof rating, water can never penetrate inside. The lighter is also created to be completely versatile as it is appropriate for almost all outdoor activities, like hiking, traveling, and camping. It is easy to use, too, because it does not need butane nor gas to work. All it needs to operate is the rechargeable lithium battery, which comes with the purchase.

This waterproof lighter from Icfun is also constructed from durable materials, specifically zinc alloy and ABS. It promotes a hassle-free experience when carrying it during your outdoor adventures, like hiking or camping with the aid of its thick lanyard.

113.40 grams 1.9 x 0.7 x 2.7 inches No Fuel Required – Rechargeable Battery Arc Plasma Windproof and Waterproof


3) Rena Cheng Dual Arc USB Rechargeable Plasma Lighter

Ideal for outdoor camping or any other fun adventures outdoors, the Rena Cheng Dual Arc USB Rechargeable Plasma Lighter is surely a great solution if you are looking for handy lighter that will be your source of fire anytime you need it. It boasts of its IPX7 waterproof rating, allowing it to withstand even the harshest weather. It is easy to use, too, thanks to its compact size and lightweight structure.

With its portability and lightness, it is compatible with various outdoor activities, like hiking,

hunting, fishing, and camping. The durability of this plasma lighter is also undeniable, especially if you see the hard ABS plastic used in creating its exterior case as well as the sturdy zinc alloy used in its interiors. This combination of sturdy materials also makes the lighter impact-resistant.

The dual-plasma arc design of this survival lighter also guarantees its reliability when used in environments with high altitude. It is windproof, too. Furthermore, it uses a Li-Ion battery, which you can fully charge in just one and a half to two hours.

51.03 grams 2.7 x 1.8 x 0.7 inches No Fuel Required – Rechargeable Battery Arc Plasma Windproof and Waterproof

4) WakeyPQ Sailors Windproof Rope Lighter

If you do not want to deal with the hassle linked to using traditional lighters that require constant refueling then you can go for the newly and modernly designed WakeyPQ Sailors Windproof Rope Lighter. It is designed in a way that you will experience utmost convenience when it comes to carrying it around. It is also versatile that you can use it on various occasions and environments.

This windproof lighter features three ropes, allowing you to use it for an extended period. Another amazing benefit of this survival lighter is that it is suitable for use on high altitudes. You do not have to worry about the lack of oxygen in such a case, making it a truly great addition to your camping gears.

It is easy to use and operate, too. All it takes is to strike the built-in flint wheel as a means of creating sparks. The charred rope made of cotton will then catch the sparks withdrawn partially from a tube housing constructed out of sturdy metal.

45.36 grams 17.5 x 0.2 diameter (rope) No fuel required flint wheel windproof


5) DAYSLIVES Dual Arc USB Rechargeable Lighter

Another survival lighter for outdoor fun and adventures that is worthy of investing in is the DAYSLIVES Dual Arc USB Rechargeable Lighter. The fact that it makes use of a rechargeable internal Li-Ion battery is a big advantage as it means that you will no longer need liquid fuel to make it work.

The good thing about the battery is that it is easy to recharge. You just have to insert the cord in a USB port. It is also convenient to use in all altitudes since you no longer need to make adjustments on oxygen intake. It has a case made of ABS zinc alloy, which is not only durable but also impact-resistant. The upper clips of the lighter can also be closed securely, preventing harsh elements, including water from penetrating inside.

It is also easy and quick to start a fire regardless of the weather when you have this lighter around because it has convenient push-button operation. It is compact plus it comes with a user-friendly blue indicator, which tends to light up when you are using it. Furthermore, it features a time-out safety function, which operates for up to 10 seconds.

90.72 grams 2.7 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches No fuel required Arc Plasma Windproof and Waterproof


6)  Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

The Zippo Emergency Fire Kit is your ultimate solution if you want to be able to start a fire quickly while you are in the great outdoors. Note that the ability to start a fire during that scenario can make a difference in your survival. This emergency fire kit is water-resistant. This is made possible by its O-ring, which can produce a waterproof seal, ensuring that the sparks stay dry and making them fully protected from moisture.

It features a US-made flint wheel, which can produce a max of 1,700 dependable sparks regardless of the weather. Built with ABS plastic material and combined with a textured grip, you will not have problems holding it no matter how tough the condition or environment is.

The portability of this emergency fire kit from Zippo is also one of its positive traits. It even has a molded lanyard hole, which you can use to keep it close to you by attaching it to your survival backpack or a clip or lanyard.

68.4 grams 1.2 x 1.2 x 4 inches No fuel required Flint spark wheel Water Resistant


7) Zippo Outdoor Lighter

This Zippo outdoor lighter is also another of the lighters from the trusted brand designed for safe and convenient use outdoors. This lighter is created in such a way that it utilizes two of the trusted brand’s imprint techniques – color image and engraving. It also integrates its unique styles on its five cases, namely the white matte, brushed chrome, neon orange matte, black ice, and high-polish chrome.

With its all-metal structure, this outdoor lighter is guaranteed to be durable, allowing it to last long. It also takes pride in its windproof design, making it possible for it to operate almost anywhere. The combination of elastic lanyard and metal loop also ensures that you can securely keep it close to you regardless of your activity.

You can use the lanyard to attach this lighter to key rings, backpacks, and belts, among many others. Moreover, it has a standard case shape, which is equipped with rounded corners. There is also a 5-barrel hinge, which attaches the bottom and top parts of the case.

14.17 grams 0.5 x 1.5 x 2.2 inches Lighter Fluid flint wheel windproof


8) Phone Skope PYRO Putty Dual ARC Lighter Kit

The Phone Skope PYRO Putty Dual ARC Lighter Kit is also built to give as much satisfaction to its users as possible. This lighter kit should form part of your survival backpack as it is the ultimate source of fire whenever you need to start one. It is modernly and sturdily designed, replacing those old and traditional lighters made of flimsy plastic material.

It is convenient to use and operate, too, as it does not require the use of fuel to work. Another great advantage of this plasma-based dual-arch lighter kit is that it has a waterproof casing, which makes it truly durable and capable of withstanding cold, wind, snow, rain, and any other harsh conditions.

The fact that this lighter kit is rechargeable is also a big advantage. One full charge is enough for it to deliver a max of 300 lights. It suits all outdoor activities, including but not limited to camping, hunting, trekking, traveling, and barbecuing. Moreover, the windproof and waterproof structure of this lighter kit also ensures that it will deliver consistent flaming while remaining moisture-free.

56.70 grams 2.5 x 2.8 x 5.8 inches No Fuel Required Arc Plasma Windproof and Waterproof

D. Conclusion

By now you should have a clear idea of the different factors in play and the type of survival lighter you’ll need for specific survival scenarios. Keep in mind that it will pay dividends to have more than one survival lighter at any given time. Stash waterproof matches and other sources for starting a fire to have a well-rounded survival pack. Heed the survival mantra, “always be prepared”. Your favorite survival lighter should be with you at all times while reinforcing its weakness with a second unit. Prepare for any and all potential survival and emergency scenarios wisely!

2 thoughts on “8 Best & Most Durable Survival Lighters for 2023”

  1. Since it’s introduction the Bic Classic is still America’s mainstay for camping. Many carry two in a watertight container – a repurposed pill bottle – and for about $4 it does most of the chores around a campsite.

    A lot of backpacker stoves now include a piezo starter, and they are staking their reputation on them – which is something to consider for us. One of the reasons is the push for “no open flame” cooking on public lands, don’t expect this to diminish with the recent increase in arson. Those stoves still need a backup, which everyone acknowledges. As a final resort, a spark flint wheel or ferro rod with tinder (including flame cubes) is a good long term companion as they don’t off gas the fuel. Old school can be the best school.

    For the best bang for the buck, dig into your final choices to see which has the most “ignites” in their rating. A Zippo butane insert at 100 vs a Bic Classic at 3,000 is a serious tradeoff. Electrics aren’t rated highly in the numbers, either. Adding a waterproof container for a petro fueled fire starter is important but don’t throw out the bucks for an expensive sleeve or tactical cover. Unless it’s tied to your neck, they seem to rapidly disappear at a campsite never to be seen again. Face it, those are sold for social status and looks, not their performance for the buck.


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