SURVIVAL

Best Waterproof Lighter: Top 5 Lighters to Consider for Your Survival Kit

Best lighter for survival
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

If you’re packing a lighter you can count on, then you up your survival chances in all sorts of situations. For instance, there are all sorts of emergencies in which fire is required, as it’s a significant aid in food preparation as well as staying warm.

So you basically need the best waterproof lighter for your survival kit, that you can trust it won’t get damaged, and it will provide you the flame you need despite the weather.

In this article, we’ll analyze some basic characteristics any good lighter should have, as well as some well-known models you’ve probably heard of by now. And to paint you a complete picture, we’ll also let you know which our top 5 choices are.

But Why Not Simply Buy A Disposable Lighter?

After all, it has advantages like:

  • It can be bought anywhere.
  • It’s cheap.
  • It’s easy to fit more in your survival kit.

The answer is that waterproof lighters are better for survival conditions because they:

  • Can be used under water.
  • Are much more durable.
  • Can be refueled.
  • Are dependable on the long-term.

What You Should Be Looking for

When you’re camping or hiking in bad weather, you need your equipment working flawlessly even more so than in perfect weather.

Look for this lighter for example

Lighting a fire when the wind is blowing at 100 mph and when there’s a raging storm is next to a miracle if you’re using the usual equipment. That’s why you need a lighter that can work its magic with the following characteristics:

Resistance to water

The best thing about waterproof lighters is that they work in various conditions, even when they’re under water. Of course, different models will withstand different depths and for various time spans, but the point is that if they can do that, then they surely work when it rains. Some interesting gizmos even float, so that’s a plus.

Resistance to the wind

Since a storm usually comes accompanied by large gusts of wind, you also need a type of lighter that can produce a flame then. Look for lighters with direct flames, those are the best items because they act on the same principles as torches, and can’t be blown out so easily.

Durability

Since you’re packing a waterproof lighter for survival conditions, you know that at this point you’re at the mercy of the elements. And you probably don’t have another fire source, which is why you should get one you can rely on, and which doesn’t get damaged too easily.

Durabile lighter

So since you’re looking at waterproof items, you probably should consider one with a sturdy exterior which isn’t prone to rust.

But what’s more, some lighters are stronger than you can imagine: they can even hold a few hundred pounds and still function properly. However, if you can’t refill this sort of lighter and need to buy a new one on a regular basis, it’s not much of an advantage. So get a refillable one that will last you for ages.

Portability

Depending on your needs, portability may or may not be a top priority. However, it’s still a good idea to choose something you can carry with ease in case everything goes south. At this point you have to consider your item’s:

  • Weight and dimensions. Portability is best achieved when you have a small lighter, like a capsule one.
  • A decisive factor in any situation, safety is better guaranteed with lighters protected by covers, since there’s less chance of them leaking or causing an unintentional fire.

Ability to use hands-free

Although this is just a perk, and not even a necessary one, some of the coolest gadgets in this category can work by themselves, after you’ve lit them.

Hands free lighter

Basically, they’re a tremendous help since they let you use both hands for other things, like getting more kindling for the fire if you haven’t enough around.

The models We Love

Since the lighter you’re considering should have as many of the characteristics above, we’ve thought we’d review some common models before actually giving you a list of products.

Zippo

There’s probably not a soul who hasn’t heard about Zippo by now, and the truth is that it’s a trustworthy brand that works amazingly in difficult situations because they’re:

  • Multi-functional: That means you can charge them with any sort of fuel that can actually catch fire and they still work. That’s great because it prevents overcrowding of your survival kit on the one hand, and on the other, it helps you manage by using what you find.
  • Besides, if you’re sure you can’t light them anymore, simply get their stuffing out. It’s made out of cotton and it can help you start a fire the traditional way.
  • Adjustable: The length of their wick can be set depending on your preferences: bigger length for bigger flame, smaller length for the smaller flame.
  • Comfortable: Remember the no-hands option? This is what a Zippo can do, allowing you a comfortable hands-free use. That means you can simply put them on a firm surface and let them burn until you get enough tinder or heat yourself some tea.

The cons are there too because Zippos are:

  • Quicker to evaporate.
  • Heavier.
  • Not that resistant to bad weather.

Torch lighters

These sort of lighters have many of the above-discussed characteristics, seeing as they’re:

  • Waterproof: They are packed with a sealant that can’t be dissolved in water, which doesn’t let any water or air get into the combustion chamber. That means they work well under water too.
  • Durable: These lighters are able to withstand any sort of bad weather, like rainstorms and snowstorms with massive precipitations and lots of wind.
  • Torch-like: That means they produce a direct flame, that doesn’t get blown out easily.
  • Portable:They’re easy to carry because they don’t take up much room, nor are they too hefty, which means they fit perfectly in any bug out bag. The cons are still there, though because these lighters are:
    • Not cold-resistant because they work on butane, which evaporates at an accelerated pace when temperatures drop too much.
    • Quite expensive.
    • High-maintenance, because they need constant refueling.

Capsule lighters

Count on these babies to do the job they were intended for at optimal levels because they’re:

  • Waterproof: Easily submerge them into the water and they can still make a flame.
  • Light: In fact, these are the smallest and lightest models on the market, and they can be worn comfortably around your keychain.
  • Durable: The capsule lighters have a long lifespan, seeing as they don’t get damaged easily, but if that happens you can repair them in a jiffy. Besides, the naphtha fuel they work on can be bought literally everywhere.
  • Multi-functional: These gizmos can replace a candle anytime, freeing up both your hands. The cons regard:
    • High-maintenance. Since they evaporate their fuel quite rapidly, they need to be refueled on a constant basis.
    • Transportation issues. They might not be fitted perfectly, so you might have some problems when carrying them around, especially if they’re handed by your keychain or backpack.
    • Not an easy use. Having hermetic properties, their wicks are jammed in pretty hard, which renders them harder to light.

Floating Lighters

These are the sort of lighters that don’t submerge if you drop them in water. They’re:

  • Waterproof: Thanks to an O-ring seal and a system of wires that keeps it in place securely, water won’t penetrate the combustion chamber. Besides, this means that fuel can’t get out that easily either, which entails less evaporation and less maintenance required.
  • Adjustable:Since you can choose the length of the wick, you can pick how big the flame will be. Basically, that leads to more fuel rationing and economizing in drastic conditions.
  • Windproof: Most models work well in windy conditions, but some of the best can even produce a flame when the wind reaches close to 100 mph.

These lighters are indeed grade A since we could only find one flaw: they’re not that good when it’s freezing cold, seeing as butane evaporates at an exponential rate at frost temperatures.

The Best Items on The Market

After reviewing all the characteristics that a waterproof lighter should have, as well as the most trustworthy models you can find, it’s time to give you our selection.

UST Stormproof Floating Lighter

UST Stormproof Floating Lighter

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 2.6 x 1.6 x 0.6 inches

Specifications: butane fuel; windproof; floating; waterproof; stainless steel wire closure

Best Use: during storms

Description: This 4.1 stars UST Stormproof Floating Lighter is definitely one that you can count on in raging storms, seeing as the flame produced is windproof, meaning that it can hold its ground even at gusts reaching 80 mph. That makes it very durable overall, complementing its water resistant abilities.

Seeing as it has an O-ring design, the whole thing is sealed shut and water can’t penetrate inside it. Moreover, it has a great ability to float, which is something you need to take into account especially if you’re going on a fishing trip.

But the whole thing is very resistant because it has a case made from ABS plastic. That material can withstand different sort of shocks, just like the fuel tank which is also made from sturdy plastic. Plus, seeing as this UST item can light up 30,000 times, it’s safe to say it have a long lifespan.

The weight and dimensions are quite convenient when it comes to carrying it around with ease, and there’s also an indicator that shows you when it’s ignited, so it’s quite safe to carry.

The refueling doesn’t pose many problems either. It works with butane and has an adjustable flame which means you choose how much fuel you use up. However, butane makes it less good for use when the temperature is very low, so that’s a downside.

Windmill Delta Stormproof Lighter

Windmill Delta Stormproof Lighter

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 2 inches

Specifications: field tested; windproof up to 80 mph; piezo-electric ignition; elastomer outer case; stainless steel wires; O-ring seal; 2-year warranty

Best Use: during storms

Description:This 2.9 stars and $38.14 Windmill Delta Stormproof Lighter is produced by a trustworthy brand when it comes to survival, which is important when it comes to assessing its overall dependability.

But even though Windmill Delta is a renowned producer of different outdoor products intended for survival purposes, you don’t have to rely only on that detail. This little gizmo has been tested on the field, to ensure maximum reliability and performance.

As such, it’s been proven to resist during high winds and nasty storms, even if the wind gusts reach 70 to 80 mph. It burns a direct flame, meaning that it has the same physical properties of a mini-torch, which explains why it’s so resistant during high winds.

The materials from which it was constructed render it very durable. As such, the ignition system used allows you to light it up to 30,000 times, and since it’s a piezo-electric ignition that means you can easily activate it with a push.

Furthermore, the casing is manufactured from a resistant type of polymer called elastomer, which is great when it comes to dealing with shocks and impacts.

Plus, the wires and stainless steel, making them less prone to rusting when submerged into water. That, along with the O-ring seal is what renders the Windmill Delta lighter waterproof.

However, don’t keep the button pressed too much because you might burn your finger. This item is great for lighting a fire, but not that amazing when it comes to giving out a continuous flame, which explains the rating.

UST Trekker Stormproof Lighter

UST Trekker Stormproof Lighter

Weight: 3.2 ounces

Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 1.5 inches

Specifications: orange; field tested; windproof up til 80 mph; direct flame; 0.14 ounces of fuel; lights 1,000 times; piezo-electric ignition; rubber case; stainless steel wires; O-ring; butane gas

Best Use: during storms

Description:This 2.8 stars and $32.09 UST Trekker Stormproof Lighter comes in a bright orange color, but if you prefer darker hues, you can also acquire it in black for a $35.99 retail price. It’s basically the same item, just with a different nuance.

As all the UST products, this lighter is backed by the brand’s reputation, but it has also been tested on the field in order to prove its abilities.

As such, it can do quite well in a storm and it’s very durable because the wind can’t extinguish its flame unless it blows with a speed over 80 mph. The direct flame increases its lifespan, making it easier to use and quite durable. In fact, seeing as you can fill it with 0.14 ounces of fuel, it’s safe to say that you’ll be able to light it up about 1,000 times.

The piezo-electric ignition is another thing that prolongs its life, seeing as it’s a system that works well for more than 30,000 times. The high durability of this item is ensured by an outer case made from rubber which apart from allowing you a comfortable grip is very resistant to falls and impacts.

The stainless steel from which the wires are made can’t rust, which is great when it comes to water resistance. But the fact that it’s sealed with an O-ring further ensures its waterproof abilities.

However, take into account that this lighter works with butane gas, which renders it ineffective at very high altitudes when the temperatures drop considerably. So if you don’t want to be one of the people who has given it a 1-star review, only use it when the temperatures are above freezing.

True Utility TU262 FireStash Miniature Key Ring Lighter

True Utility TU262 FireStash Miniature Key Ring Lighter

Weight: 0.42 ounces

Dimensions: 1.77 x 0.59 x 0.59 inches

Specifications: fits on keychain; petrol based; refillable; neoprene O-ring

Best Use: camping

Description: This 3.9 stars and $11.34 True Utility TU262 FireStash Miniature Key Ring Lighter is one of the capsule type lighters we’ve previously discussed. That means it’s small enough to fit on your keychain, or anywhere else you want to carry it for maximum convenience.

However, be advised that it’s a capsule-like construction which means its portability is also influenced by the possibility of it falling off your keychain. Some people have given it a lower review because of this: after a few uses the cap can’t be securely closed anymore, so the lighter may fall off your cap.

To prevent that from happening, don’t put it on your keychain anymore if you see the cap loosening too much. Also, don’t screw it too tight to begin with, because that will make it loosen faster.

On the other hand, this lighter is perfect for its intended purpose: camping and lighting cigarettes. Plus you can easily fill it up with naphtha fuel that is very accessible.

It’s made from high-quality chrome and zinc alloy, so the outer case doesn’t rust when you submerge it in water.

It’s waterproof, so you can easily get a flame even when it’s raining. The O-ring that makes it resistant to water is manufactured from neoprene, which is another good material. However, don’t try to light it up

Coleman Refillable Windproof Butane Lighter for Outdoors

Coleman Refillable Windproof Butane Lighter for Outdoors, Gun Metal

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 1.8 x 0.2 x 2.8 inches

Specifications: butane fuelled; water resistant; locking cap; windproof; Quantum system ignition; adjustable; refillable; window for seeing the fuel level

Best Use: camping during warm weather

Description: This 2 stars and $9.99 Coleman Refillable Windproof Butane Lighter for Outdoors, Gun Metal is definitely one to consider, seeing as it has a low price for a survival lighter. However, if you don’t want to be among the people who’ve rated it very low, keep in mind that it doesn’t work under all weather conditions.

For instance, it’s fueled by butane gas, that evaporates quickly if there’s a significant temperature drop below the freezing point. That can happen at high altitudes, so don’t take it with you in the mountains without a backup plan in check.

Furthermore, it’s not fully waterproof, but only water resistant when it’s closed, which is something specified in the official product description. That’s the whole purpose of its locking cap.

Once you know these minuses, you can focus on its positives, like the fact that it has a reliable design which renders it resistant to high winds, thanks to its Quantum system. Besides, this ignition system also helps you light objects that are further away from you, at a maximum 1-inch distance.

As opposed to other butane-fueled lighters, this one actually conserves the butane levels, which makes it low-maintenance. That’s if you use the adjustment wheel in order to adjust how high your flame is. Plus, it’s pretty safe since it has a window that allows you to see the fuel level inside and refill it as needed.

What We’ve Learned

Reviewing these products, it’s easy to get confused by the name. If the package promises a stormproof lighter, that doesn’t mean it will light up under 30 feet of water, at 11,000 feet of altitude or when the temperatures are just right for Santa at the North Pole.

Many people misunderstand the product description and specifications, which makes them give very low ratings.

Best water and wind proof lighters

So ensure you do your research very thoroughly and decide which sort of waterproof lighter you need depending on your precise destination and purposes. Survival has different significations for different people.

That being said, tell us more about your experience. Have you bought a survival lighter and been let down? Or were you satisfied with your purchase? When do you plan to use this sort of gizmo? Is there a product you really love? Let us know that, plus whatever else you want to talk about, in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Jenny Simpson Smith

    I bought a Windmill Delta Stormproof Lighter about two years ago, and I’ve never looked back.

    In the past, I used Zippos, but I have to say, the Windmill has proven itself to be more dependable, consistent, and trouble-free.

    Its jet flame is incredibly versatile, allowing you to light in any position, which is great for lighting candles or lighting a grill.

    It is unphased by the wind or rain, I’ve had no problem lighting a damp kindling or a campfire in 40 mph winds. I believe this is thanks to its combustion chamber and catalyst coil which generate a concentrated flame which is hotter than many other jet lighters on the market.

    It holds enough for approximately 20 minutes of burn (at medium height), which is more than enough for a week of hiking or camping.

    Overall, it has proven to be a reliable, sturdy lighter than is sure to produce a flame first time, every time.

    • Dennis Owens

      Zippos can only do so much as a camping or backpacking lighter. It is not suitable for extreme weather conditions and while it is a durable lighter, most of the Zippo lighters cannot withstand high humidity and drizzled situations.

  • Tom Grainger

    As an avid fisherman, I often find myself in waist high waters or soaked from head to foot and I’ve often struggled to find a lighter capable of surviving longer than a few weeks in my pocket. A friend of mine recommended the UST Floating Lighter and for the price, I figured it can’t hurt to try it.

    I won’t deny, this lighter isn’t perfect but in the 2 years I have now owned one, there has only been one minor issue. After around 3 weeks of owning the lighter the metal latch that keeps the cover closed, had broken off. It was, however, easily fixed with a small piece of string and doesn’t affect the water tight seal.

    It has never failed to light, even after wading through waist high waters and at some rather high altitudes.

    • Dennis Owens

      The reliability of a waterproof lighter should be unquestionable because it must be ready and working when you need it regardless of the external elements that surrounds its use. The UST Floating Lighter is one of the more popular waterproof lighter used by my friends, and it is also the lighter of choice as Christmas gift last year. Overall, durable and very reliable.

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