We have all been there at one time or another. Struggling to get a campfire started in a damp wood at the end of a long hike. Or struggling in a rainstorm to light a cigarette. Basically, wishing we had a waterproof lighter. These handy little items are not just a gimmicky tool to look good outside your local bar. They can literally be the difference between life and death if you find yourself in a cold weather survival situation.
The main thing to consider is performance. Not being able to light your pipe may be a minor frustration but every good emergency kit (even one in your own home) should contain a waterproof lighter. There are many different types on the market though, so let’s look at a few of the top products to find out which one is best suited to your needs.
After reviewing all the top waterproof lighters available, we’ve selected our top 7 picks in the comparison table below. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect model for your needs.
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What to look for in a waterproof lighter
A good, protective seal is the most important feature of a waterproof lighter. It needs to stay dry while retaining the fuel, and stop any interaction between the two that could lead to a loss of performance. It also needs to have a direct flame to stand up to wet and windy conditions and still act like a mini blow torch.
A waterproof lighter needs to be durable enough to be used in the great outdoors, while being resilient to normal wear and tear. It also needs to be portable. Your creme brulee blow torch may work just fine but it’s not the most comfortable thing to slide into your pocket during a hike or a hunt. Other features such as refillable capabilities and hands free use (that Zippo is famous for) should be considered when determining which waterproof lighter is best for you.
Benefits of owning a waterproof lighter
These are many reasons for owning a waterproof lighter. Quite simply, a good waterproof lighter should allow you to have a strong, steady heat source in any condition to be able to light everything from candles to fires. So let’s look at some of the best examples on the market today.
Top waterproof lighters
I think we have to start with the most famous and recognizable of the lot. The tried and tested, world famous Zippo. Whether you got your first one to impress the ladies in your teenage years, or you are a lifelong advocate of Zippo, there is no doubt this is an iconic lighter.
They are extremely versatile and can be filled with all sorts of flammable liquids. Plus, if you are really stuck the cotton insides soaked in fuel can be used as excellent tinder for starting fires in an emergency situation. The wick can be easily adjusted to change the size of the flame, and as they are self standing they can be used hands free. With a simple flint lighting operation you can set it down and work around it, maybe even heating your hands or a cup of coffee.
On the downside they are a little heavy. Evaporation can also be a problem when stored for a long time in hot weather. But with a lifetime guarantee and die hard fans, there is no doubt that Zippos will be around for years to come.
Telsa Coil Lighter USB Rechargeable Windproof Dual Arc
The Telsa Coil Lighter USB Rechargeable Windproof Dual Arc is one of the best on the market. These are great for lighting cigarettes if that is your main reason to buy a waterproof lighter.
They have no flame so aren’t great for survival purposes but are great for hunting or on the golf course. They are lightweight, portable and can be charged through any USB adaptor.
FireStash Miniature Waterproof Keychain Lighter
The FireStash Miniature Waterproof Keychain Lighter is a cute little number if ever there was one. It’s capsule shaped, can be fully submerged in water and comes with a keychain. They are as handy as they are practical. They will take up very little space in an emergency kit and can also be used for everyday.
They work in a similar way to their big brothers the Zippo, with a flint light and naphtha fuel which can be found at most grocery stores. On the downside, their small size does lead to a significant evaporation of fuel so you may want to keep some naphtha on hand or in the trunk of your car. They are also a little fiddly and less robust than Zippos but at a fraction of the size, weight and cost that is only to be expected.
Bic (Disposable) Lighter
The last one I will mention is the humble Bic (Disposable) Lighter. While you may say this is not a waterproof lighter, that kind of depends on how it is stored. Putting it in a waterproof case or just a few in different sandwich bags where you think you might need them (bottom of your rucksack, golf bag etc.), can be extremely helpful when in an emergency. The ubiquitous nature of the Bic and their cheap price means they should certainly be considered for a survival kit. Buy them by the dozen and you will never be caught out.
At the end of the day, any torch lighter you find in a gas station will do the job. However, for me Zippo is always going to come out on top when talking about waterproof lighters. People have used them in every war since they first came onto the market and if it’s good enough for soldiers in a wet warzone, I think they will be good enough on your next camping trip. Of course, you can still try to impress people by doing cool tricks, but please practice on your own first. No one wants to see that guy at the bar repeatedly saying, “No wait, I can do this.”
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Kronak