9 Best Survival Lighters If Lives Are On The Line

By Will Brendza | Last Updated: December 28, 2022

Survival LightersTaking A Look At The Best Survival Lighters On The Market Today

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

There’s no way they fully understood the revolutionary implications.

Because they didn’t know it at the time, but harnessing the power of fire changed us forever…

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

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

It’s put us in a different survival league.

Today, fire remains as essential to our survival as it ever has.

We harness fire throughout our modern lives, from heating our homes to powering our vehicles.

And fire still holds the keys to our survival.

So without a lighter (or some stormproof matches at the very least), no survival pack or camping bag is complete.

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

It’s become such a valuable resource; we’ve figured out how to put this mighty power in the palm of our hand.

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Survival Lighter Uses

Lighters are a simple yet incredible device that allows us to:

  • Stay warm
  • Cook food
  • Boil (and sterilize) water
  • Illuminate areas
  • Keep predators away

These powers all lie in the simplicity of lighters. Fire equals heat energy, and with a lighter, we can tap into this energy anytime, anywhere!

But you should invest in a survival lighter you can depend on.

Now, cheap conventional lighters do work most of the time. Disposable lighters will make fire. But they’re a terrible choice for survival.

You can’t refill them; they’re not durable or water / wind-resistant.

Disposable lighters serve their primary function, but they’re NOT good enough for serious survivalists – like you and me.

And, as with most cool survival gadgets, the market is now full of much better options. Thousands of new badass flame-makers claim to be “the best” or the “highest-rated” survival lighters…

So to cut through the smoke and get to the flame of this topic, Skilled Survival decided to find out once and for all which survival lighters are the best and why…

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Lighter In Fist 1

What Is A Survival Lighter Anyway?

No matter the exact style of lighter you prefer, there are a few common aspects all survival lighters share.


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

The goal for disposable lighter manufacturers is to make a tiny profit on each sale. And they compete by making their product so cheap you buy and toss, buy and toss, over and over again.

But you can’t refill them. Otherwise, you’d keep the lighter and refill it, and the companies would lose money.

So while it’s true you can buy 5 or 10 cheap disposable lighters to a single survival lighter, it’s not worth it in the long run.

Not only are you sacrificing quality and durability, but you’re wasting money over time.

With a survival lighter, you can ensure your lighter is never empty.

You can top it off before and after every adventure you go on and always keep a near-full lighter on you. Never having to worry about your lighter dying on you in the middle of a trip again!

Plus, you’ll save money over the long haul with refillable lighters. Using a refillable lighter means you’ll buy a can of fuel every few months instead of new lighters all the time.

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


The great outdoors is not kind to cheaply made tools – especially in survival situations. In my younger years, I broke several cheapo lighters scrambling over rocks or dropping them on the trail only to get crunched underfoot.

Knowing your survival lighter can handle outdoor abuse is a major comfort. And since there are lots of durable survival lighters out there, there’s no reason to risk it.

You get what you pay for when it comes to lighters, and durability is a significant survival advantage.


Water is fire’s ultimate enemy. And the enemy of fire is the enemy of your survival lighter.

If you drop a non-waterproof lighter in the snow or a puddle or try to use it in the rain, you’re out of luck. And regular lighters take a long time to dry out and start working once they’re soaking wet.

Wind Resistant

A direct flame is like a torch, whereas an indirect flame is more like a match. BIC lighters use indirect flames, which can be a real pain when in a windy area.

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

But a direct flame is less susceptible to blowouts. Making it more efficient to start a fire fast.

Direct flame windproof lighters make far superior survival lighters.

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9 Best Survival Lighters On The Market Today

The sheer number of survival lighters you can buy is overwhelming. But we’ve whittled the masses down to just nine top-notch survival lighters. Survival lighters, we feel, stand above the rest.

They’re all water-resistant and durable, most of which are refillable and use direct flames.

They’ll serve your survival needs well and will become one of your best companions in the wild.

The bottom line is these lighters are dependable and will bring you peace of mind.

1. The Zippozippo 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.

However, they are not waterproof, but this flaw can be overcome with a slight addition.

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.

However, they do not use a direct flame, nor are they as lightweight as some of the following options…

2. UCO Stormproof Torch Windproof Lighter

UCO Stormproof Torch LighterThe UCO Stormproof Torch Lighter “emergency survival accessory” has a lot going for it:

  • it’s refillable
  • has a triple jet windproof flame
  • waterproof
  • and adjustable
  • built-in duct tape

It carries enough butane for 700 ignitions, and its striker is guaranteed for 30,000 uses.

But this lighter take survival one step further by including 3 feet of built-in survival tape.

UCO Stormproof Torch is more than just an excellent survival lighter; it’s a survival multi-tool.

4. Windmill Classic Stormproof Lighter

The Windmill Classic Lighter is built for rugged survival. This lighter is second to none when it comes to durability.

It comes with an elastomer armor outer covering for extra protection.

A window is built into its center so you can track fuel levels. And because it uses a steel wire closure system fitted with an o-ring, it’s watertight and even floats!

The best part, though, is the two-year warranty that comes with buying one of these. So even if you do manage to break this tough little lighter in the first 730 days of using it, you can get it replaced.

5. Everstryk Matchpro Lighter

Everstryke Match Pro LighterThis minimalistic butane lighter has a replaceable striker and a replaceable wick. So it can last you indefinitely!

It’s a very simple design – fill the reservoir with lighter fluid, replace the starter, and go.

The lighter case is watertight with a small O-ring as well.

It’s extremely small, a tiny silver tube that fits in the palm of your hand, and comes with a keychain clip.

6. AWL All-Weather Lighter

The AWL All Weather Lighter will light even in heavy winds and high elevations.

When closed, the lighter becomes waterproof as the “O” ring gasket prevents any moisture or water from getting inside the burner.

This is an excellent genuine Windmill lighter worth buying.

7. Vertigo Cyclone Torch Lighter

Vertigo Cyclone Torch LighterThis is a durable triple-flamed windproof torch lighter.

It has a clear fuel tank, so you can easily see how much fuel it has left.

It’s also very lightweight, making it easy to stash in your pocket or your bug-out bag.

A highly rated torch lighter at a price point.

8. Xikar 9660BK Stratosphere II Lighter

Xikar LighterYou 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 so that it won’t slip out of your hands even in the middle of a torrential downpour.

The Xikar 9660BK also comes with a lanyard hole and a bit of rope to attach it to your pack’s outside if needed.

9. Tough Tesla Electric Lighter

Tough Tesla Lighter For Car Kit in EmergencyWelcome to the future, where flames have been replaced with electric plasma bolts.

That’s right; this Tesla Electric Lighter uses a battery and the power of electricity to start fires instead of a flame.

The key with this Tesla Lighter is to pair it with a Solar Power Bank.

Skilled Survival highly recommends the Anytime Charge Solar Power Bank.

Why? Because it’s one of the most durable, compact, and cost-effective portable solar chargers on the market today. But don’t let its compact size fool you; it’s also got a massive battery capacity!

The massive battery storage is enough to charge any of your devices multiple times. Plus, with dual charging outputs, you can power multiple devices simultaneously!

Simply plug in your devices via the supplied USB cable (you can use any USB cable) and press the power button.  Your device will begin to take power from the Anytime Charge right away.

Recharging the Anytime Solar Bank couldn’t be easier – leave it in the sun, and it will automatically fill the large battery bank back up ANYWHERE.

Plus, it’s splash resistant and comes with an emergency flashlight with a strobe function.

NOTE: When this article was published, you could snag some bonus Tactical Flashlights For FREE when you buy multiple Anytime Solar Chargers. Click here now to see if this deal is still available!

Man Starting A Fire In The Woods 1

The Concept of Fire Starting

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 that’s 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 of fire starting.

Here’s a rough and dirty guide:

  1. You need to start with a dry, fibrous fuel source called tinder (start with something like dried leaves, dried grass, cotton, or juniper bark, feather sticks, or just tiny branches). You never want to try and light large chunks of wood to start – you have to work your way up to that.
  2. Now put this tinder in a dry location as much out of the wind as possible. While these survival lighters can produce a flame in wind and rain, catching flame to tinder is another problem in these conditions.
  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 burst of heat and help get your kindling to catch fire.
  6. If you’ve done this all right, you’ll now have your kindling starting to catch. Now it’s just a matter of adding more kindling and working in larger logs over time.

Easy enough, right? If you experience this, it’s a no-brainer.

However, 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 fire starter, it can be a challenge, especially in a stressful survival situation.

So practice with your lighters, stormproof matchesFerro Rods, sticks, and rocks.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

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 survival lighter at your side!

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

Even if you can make sparks without one, your chances of survival go up when you pack a survival lighter in your bag.

I would recommend getting more than one. Keep one in your Bug Out Bag at all times, keep another in your car, and a third on your person.

That way, no matter where you get stuck in a survival situation, you have got a survival lighter.

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Fire is one of our most important survival resources, making survival lighters one of the most important survival tools you can ever own. Do not take fire starting lightly.

Did we miss one of your favorite survival lighters? Let us know in the comments below, and maybe it’ll get added to the list.

Will Brendza

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