10 Best Survival Lighters: Reliable Flame In An Emergency

By Will Brendza | Updated: 11/07/2023

Survival LightersToday I’ve got something really important to share…

A Complete Guide To Finding & Using A Survival Lighter

Because cheap lighters work most of the time…

But they’re a terrible choice for survival.

  • You can’t refill them
  • They’re not durable
  • Nor water & wind-resistant

So they’re NOT good enough for survival…

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Best Survival Lighter Features


Disposable lighters, by definition, are of the ‘use and toss’ variety.

The goal is to make a tiny profit on each sale.

And they compete by making their product so cheap you can’t resist.

But you CAN’T refill them by design.

Otherwise, you’d keep the lighter and refill it, right?

And the companies would lose money.

So while you can buy 10 cheap disposables to a single survival lighter, it’s not worth it in the long run.

  • You’re sacrificing quality and durability.
  • AND you’re wasting money over time.

The cheap nature of the disposable lighter means low-quality complements.

While a survival lighter, may never meet a trash bin.

You can top it off before every adventure.

Never worry about your lighter dying in the middle of a trip again!


The great outdoors is not kind to cheaply made tools.

In my younger years, I broke several cheapo lighters scrambling over rocks.

And since there are lots of durable lighters out there, there’s no reason to risk it.

You get what you pay for when it comes to lighters, especially when it comes to durability.


Water is fire’s ultimate enemy.

And the enemy of fire is the enemy of your lighter.

  • You’re out of luck if you drop a non-waterproof lighter in the snow.
  • Your left in the cold is your cheap BIC falls in a puddle.

And these lighters take a long time to dry out.

Wind Resistant

  • A direct flame is like a torch.
  • Where an indirect flame is like a match.

BIC lighters use indirect flames, which are a real pain in the wind.

The wind will puff your flame out like it’s nothing.

But a direct flame is less susceptible to blowouts.

Making it more reliable.

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Types Of Lighters For Survival

When you’re out there, battling Mother Nature’s wily ways, it pays to have a dependable flame-maker.

But with so many types out there, how do you choose?

Fear not, I’m here to shed some light on the matter!

Butane Lighters: The Reliable Classic

Let’s start with the good ol’ butane lighter.

This trusty companion has been lighting campfires, and cigarettes for years.

It’s compact, portable, and usually comes in a variety of eye-catching colors.

Just press the button, and presto!

You’ve got yourself a flame hotter than summer romance.

Windproof Lighters: When Nature Gets Blustery

Nature has a way of throwing curveballs.

And one of its favorite tricks is a gust of wind.

Ones that blows out your precious flame right before takeoff.

But fear not, windproof lighters are here to save the day!

Sealed combustion chamber or a strong, focused flame, these lighters laugh in the face of gales.

And make lighting a fire a breeze.

Refillable Lighters: Environmentally Friendly Flames

If you’re an eco-conscious survivalist, refillable lighters are your jam.

These environmentally friendly marvels allow you to replenish your lighter’s fuel supply.

Thus, reducing waste AND keeping the flames alive.

Plus, they often come with features like fuel level indicators.

Arc Lighters: The Electric Revolution

Enter the arc lighter

The flashy cousin of traditional lighters.

These futuristic beauties create an electric arc between two electrodes.

Thus producing a flame hotter than the sun (well, almost).

No butane required here, my friends.

Just a rechargeable lithium battery that keeps on giving.

Just press a button, and voilà!

Your inner caveman will be toasty warm in no time.

USB Rechargeable Lighters: Power Up Anywhere

Gone are the days of running out of lighter fluid.

With USB rechargeable lighters, all you need is a power source and a cable to keep the sparks flying.

Whether it’s a trusty power bank, or the dashboard of your survival vehicle.

You can keep these lighters juiced up and ready for action.

Dual Arc Lighters: Double the Fun

If one arc is good, two are even better!

Dual arc lighters feature two arcs that come together to form one intense flame.

It’s like having a mini welding torch in your pocket.

Perfect for those moments when you need to:

  • slice through some paracord
  • light a stubborn fire
  • or perform an impromptu magic trick

Plasma Lighters: The Hot New Kid on the Block

Now, the latest innovation in fire-starting technology is… the plasma lighter!

These babies use plasma (yes, the same stuff in neon signs).

Igniting your fire with an otherworldly blue flame.

No fuel, no butane, just pure electricity.

It’s like wielding the power of Thor’s lightning bolt in the palm of your hand.

Waterproof Lighters: A Flame for All Seasons

Nature is unpredictable, and sometimes survival situations call for waterproof gear.

Enter the waterproof plasma lighter, designed to keep your fire-starting game strong.

No matter how wet or wild things get.

Rain, snow, or a spontaneous dip in the river – these lighters laugh in the face of H2O.

Tactical Lighters: Built to Survive

When you’re in the thick of it, you need a lighter that can handle the heat.

Tactical plasma lighters are built tough with:

  • rugged exteriors
  • extra features like built-in tools or compasses
  • and durability that would make a tank blush

These bad boys are ready to survive the harshest environments.

Types Of Fuels For Your Lighter

Have you ever wondered what fuels these fiery heroes?

Well, gather ’round and let me illuminate you.

Butane: The Classic Companion

Ah, butane, the undisputed king of lighter fuels.

This hydrocarbon gas is the go-to choice for most lighters.

It’s highly flammable, odorless, and burns cleanly.

Butane provides a steady flame that can withstand a stiff breeze.

Thus making it a reliable partner when you’re battling the elements.

Propane: The Heavyweight Contender

If butane is the king, then propane is the heavyweight contender.

With a slightly higher heat output, propane is a force to be reckoned with.

It’s commonly used in torch lighters.

And a favorite among those who demand a fierce and powerful flame.

Just be prepared for a shorter burn time compared to butane.

Propane has a voracious appetite.

Naphtha: The Old-Timer

Now, let’s step into the time machine and journey back to the days of yore…

When lighters were more of a necessity than a luxury.

Naphtha is a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture.

It was the fuel of choice for antique lighters your grandfather stashed.

But it’s highly volatile.

And its distinctive odor can take you on a trip down memory lane.

However, naphtha’s popularity has waned in recent times.

There are safer and more convenient options stealing the spotlight.

Zippo Fluid: The Zippy Zest

Ahh, the Zippo lighter—is a timeless classic.

And what fuels this iconic piece of survival gear?

Zippo Fluid, of course!

This special blend is formulated to optimize the performance of Zippos.

It’s a refined naphtha-based fuel that boasts an improved odor profile.

And increased resistance to evaporation.

So, if you’re a proud owner of a Zippo, keep a bottle of Zippo Fluid close at hand.

Electric Ignition: The Clever Contraption

Now, I can hear some of you grumbling in the corner…

Claiming that electric ignition isn’t fuel.

And while you may be technically correct, electric ignition deserve an honorable mention.

These modern marvels use a built-in battery to generate a spark.

Eliminating the need for liquid fuel altogether.

They’re rechargeable, reliable, and perfect for those who prefer a flameless ignition method.

Best Survival Lighters On The Market Today

Today, the sheer number of lighters on the market is overwhelming.

But we’ve whittled it down to the best.

The ones that stand above the rest:

Zippo Logo Black Matte Pocket Lighter

Zippo lighters are iconic and have been dependable choices since their creation.

They're small, slick, and made of metal (which speaks to their durability).

Plus, Zippos come in tens of thousands of colors and designs - some options allow you to choose a personal design.

Their unique chimney design makes them particularly resilient lighters in windy conditions. And their adjustable wick allows users to control the size of the flame.

They also come with a rare lifetime warranty.

Zippos are a classic lighter and have been a great survival option since the 1930s.

And that's why they made the top of this list - seniority and experience.

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Now, the Zippo is not waterproof.

But you can overcome this flaw with this innovative solution:

↓ Waterproof Your Zippo Lighters

2 Pack Outdoor Waterproof Explorer Lighters

Why not get 2 survival lighters with one purchase?

This bundle inclues1 USB chargeable ARC lighter and a butane torch lighter.

The package also includes 1 USB cable and 2 Lanyards.

The USB chargeable lighter is a perfect outdoor adventure tool.

The refillable butane torch lighter is better when you need to burn thicker branches or wood.

Both lighters also include a metal-ring sealed cover and locking clasp making them waterproof.

You also get a 1-year warrantee for both lighters.

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SURVIVE Permanent Match, Pack of 5

This compact and rugged device is a true lifesaver in emergencies.

With its weather-resistant construction and durable design, the SURVIVE Permanent Match is built to withstand the toughest conditions Mother Nature throws your way.

Say goodbye to wet matches and unreliable lighters.

Fill the fuel chamber with lighter fluid, strike the flint, and voila!

You'll have a reliable flame that can ignite fires, and light stoves and keep you warm when it matters most.

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↓ The Permanent Match By SURVIVE

EXOTAC - titanLIGHT Evaporation-proof Fuel Lighter

The titanLIGHT is built to withstand the harshest conditions, featuring a weatherproof design that keeps fuel from evaporating even under extreme heat or altitude.

Its rugged construction ensures durability and reliability, making it an essential companion for any survivalist or adventurer.

The innovative design allows for one-handed operation, providing quick and effortless fire ignition when needed.

And with its refillable fuel chamber, you can count on the titanLIGHT to prepare you for countless fire-starting situations.

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↓ TitanLIGHT Review

Xikar Stratosphere II High Altitude Lighter

You can count on the XIKAR Stratosphere II for high performance in windy or wet conditions.

Easy-grip rubber body and wind-proof flame.

It also has an easy-grip case that won't slip out of your hands even in a torrential downpour.

The Xikar 9660BK also has a lanyard hole and some rope to attach to your pack's outside if needed.

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↓ Xikar Stratosphere Lighter

Torch Lighters, 2 Pack, Butane Lighters

With the TOPKAY Adjustable Butane Lighters, you'll have the power to ignite fires easily, even in the harshest conditions.

Whether you're camping, hiking, or need a reliable source of fire, these lighters have got you covered.

Featuring an adjustable flame control, you can effortlessly adjust the intensity to suit your needs, making them perfect for starting campfires, lighting stoves, or emergencies.

These lighters are built to last, thanks to their durable construction and high-quality materials.

The ergonomic design ensures a comfortable grip, allowing easy and precise handling.

Compact and lightweight, they easily fit into your pocket or backpack, making them portable and convenient to carry wherever you go.

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↓ TOPKAY Torch Review

Urgrette 2 Pack Torch Lighter Triple 3 Jet Flame

The Urgrette 2 Pack Torch Lighter, is the ultimate companion for any survivalist or adventurer.

Its triple 3-jet flame is perfect for starting fires, lighting stoves, or even signaling for help in emergencies.

Crafted with high-quality materials, this butane gas lighter is built to withstand the toughest conditions. Its ergonomic design ensures a comfortable grip, while the refillable feature ensures you never run out of fuel when needed.

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Scotte Plasma Windproof arc Lighter Electric Lighter and LED Flashlight

This sleek, compact device boasts a windproof plasma arc lighter that can ignite anything from tinder to stoves with a simple click.

No more struggling with flimsy matches or unreliable lighters.

But that's not all!

The built-in LED flashlight illuminates your path in the darkest corners of the wilderness.

It's the ultimate combo, ensuring you're always ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

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↓ Waterproof | Windproof Dual Arc Lighter

GUEVARA Butane Torch Lighter

The GUEVARA Butane Torch Lighter features an integrated punch cutter, allowing you to prepare cigars or create emergency holes in various materials conveniently.

Its sturdy construction and ergonomic design guarantee a comfortable grip, even in challenging environments.

With its refillable butane tank, this lighter offers long-lasting functionality, while the transparent fuel window lets you monitor the fuel level effortlessly.

Whether camping, hiking, or tackling survival situations, the GUEVARA Butane Torch Lighter is an essential companion for any prepared individual.

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↓ Guevara Double Torch Lighter Review

Tough Tesla Lighter By Survival Frog

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of windproof lighters and found them all to be more “wind-resistant” than anything.

The Tesla Lighter is a different breed - a flame-free, smoke-free, fuel-less lighter.

Try as hard as you want; you can’t blow out the twin plasma arcs.

Instead, they produce easy fire starts for all types of natural kindling.

The compact Tesla Lighter is an excellent addition to your everyday carry tools.

And a single charge (via USB) is enough to start hundreds of campfires!

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↓ Tesla Lighter Review

You should pair this Tesla Lighter with a Solar Power Bank.

I like the Anytime Charger.

Why? Because it’s one of the most durable, compact, and cost-effective chargers on the market.

But don’t let its compact size fool you; it’s got massive battery capacity!

Enough storage to charge most devices multiple times.

Plus, with dual charging, you can power multiple devices simultaneously!

Simply plug in your devices with a USB cabl and press the power button.

Your device will take power right away.

And recharging couldn’t be easier.

Just leave it in the sun, and it will automatically fill the battery bank.

Plus, it’s splash resistant.

NOTE: When this article was published, you could get a bonus Tactical Flashlights For FREE when you buy multiple Anytime Solar Chargers.

Click here now to see if this deal is still available!

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Man Starting A Fire In The Woods 1

How To Start A Fire With A Lighter

I can’t imagine what it was like for the first human to harness fire.

There’s no way they fully understood the implications.

Because fire changed us forever…

Without fire, there’s no telling where humans would be today.

But it’s undeniable that fire has set us ahead of the pack.

It’s put us in a different league.

And fire remains as essential to our survival as ever.

We use it in our modern lives, from heating homes to powering vehicles.

It’s a staple of outdoor living and emergency survival.

Yes, lighters are simple tools.

They all use the same fundamental principles: heat and fuel.

The idea of creating a spark as a flame heat source and fuel to sustain it is an ancient one still harnessed today in modern lighters.

Take the Zippo lighter as an example; it has a canister full of butane and a wick that sticks out of the top.

When the striker sparks, the wick ignites.

Voila! Fire.

The same idea is achievable even without a lighter.

Of course, having a lighter on you makes it much easier to produce a flame.

But only if you know what you’re doing.

Holding a large hot flame against a water-soaked log is futile.

So you still need to understand the basic principles:

Here’s a rough and dirty guide:

  1. You need to start with a dry, fibrous fuel source called tinder (start with dried leaves, grass, cotton, juniper bark, feather sticks, or just tiny branches). You never want to try and light large chunks of wood to start – you must work up to that.
  2. Now put this tinder in a dry location out of the wind. While these survival lighters can produce a flame in wind and rain, catching flame to tinder is another problem.
  3. Now before you light your tinder, you need some kindling ready. If you light your tinder and try to find kindling, you’ll likely return to expired tinder. Then you’ll have to start over. You want tinder to start working on the kindling immediately as soon as it’s lit.
  4. Now it’s time to light the tinder. Hold the flame to the tinder until it’s lit. Then move the flame to other parts of the tinder to get another section of it lit. The more places you can get the tinder lite, the better chance of moving the flame from the tinder to the kindling.
  5. Finally, once the tinder is flaming, you may want to gently blow some fresh air into the base of the flame. This will provide some extra heat and help your kindling catch fire.
  6. If you’ve done this all right, you’ll now have your kindling starting to catch. Now it’s just adding more kindling and working in larger logs over time.

Easy enough, right?

If you experience this, it’s a no-brainer.

You’ve likely learned this from your father, grandfather, or mentor.

This isn’t something we know how to do when we’re born.

So if you’re a novice, it can be challenging.

Especially in a stressful survival situation.

So practice with your lighters, stormproof matchesFerro Rods, or sticks.

The Final Word

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” – Dylan Thomas

Do not go unprepared into the night.

Ensure you’ve got a trusty lighter at your side!

Going into an emergency or the wilderness without one is dangerous.

I would recommend getting more than one.

Keep one in your Bug Out Bag, in your Survival Kit, another in your car, and one on your person.

That way, you have a lighter no matter where you get stuck.

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