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9 Best Survival Lighters for Fire Starting

Fire Starting

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Fire is one of our most important survival resources. Starting a fire enables you to keep warm, generate light, signal for help, boil water, cook food, keep predators away and more. For all these benefits here are three fire starting options –

  1. Stormproof Matches
  2. Cigarette Lighters
  3. Magnesium Firestarter

(Although you can get creative with a pair of reading glasses and sunlight or use a plastic bag with water in it as a magnifying agent!)

Lighters for Fire Starting – General Information

Lighters should have enough fuel to last for months and are a great barter item as well. Survival lighters are one of the most important survival tools you can ever own but you need a lighter you can depend on anytime and anywhere.

Cheap conventional lighters do work most of the time. Disposable lighters will make fire. But they are not the ideal choice for a survival kit because you cannot refill them; they are not durable or water / wind-resistant.

Disposable lighters serve their primary function, but they’re NOT good enough for serious survivalists.

Survival Lighters for Fire Starting

There are a few characteristics all survival lighters share: –


Disposable lighters, by definition, are of the use and toss variety. The cheap nature of the disposable lighter also means low quality components.

So while it’s true you can buy 5 or 10 cheap disposable lighters to a single survival lighter, it is not worth it in the long run.  Not only are you sacrificing quality and durability but you are 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 trip you make and always keep a near-full lighter on you. Never worry about your lighter dying on you in the middle of a trip again!

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


Knowing your survival lighter can handle outdoor abuse is reassuring and since there are lots of durable survival lighters out there, there is no reason to risk it.  You get what you pay for when it comes to lighters, and durability is a significant survival advantage.

Water Resistant

Water is fire’s ultimate enemy. If you drop a non-waterproof lighter in the snow, a puddle, or you are trying to use it in the rain, you are out of luck. And regular lighters take a long time to dry out and start working again once they are 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, and these can be a nuisance when you are in a windy area as the wind can puff your flame out.  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.

9 Best Survival Lighters for Fire Starting

There is an overwhelming number of survival lighters you can buy. Below are 9 top-notch survival lighters. They are all water-resistant and durable, and most of them are refillable and use direct flames. The bottom line is these lighters are dependable and will bring you peace of mind.

The Zippo

Zippo lighters are small, slick, made of metal (meaning durable).  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.

However, they are not waterproof although this flaw can be overcome and they do not use a direct flame, nor are they as lightweight as some of the following options…

>>Check Amazon for prices

UCO Stormproof Torch Windproof Lighter

The UCO Stormproof Torch Lighter “emergency survival accessory” has the following features:

  • refillable
  • has a triple jet windproof flame
  • waterproof
  • adjustable
  • built-in duct tape
  • It carries enough butane for 700 ignitions, and its striker is guaranteed for 30,000 uses.

But this lighter takes survival one step further, by including 3 feet of built-in survival tape. Making it a multi-tool!

>>Check prices on Amazon

Windmill Classic Stormproof Lighter

The Windmill Classic lighter is second to none when it comes to durability.

  • It comes with an elastomer armor outer covering for extra protection.
  • There is a window 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 is watertight and even floats!

>>Check prices on Amazon

Windmill AWL All Weather Lighter

This high-end lighter –

  • will light even in heavy winds and high elevations.
  • becomes, when closed, waterproof as the “O” ring gasket prevents any moisture or water from getting inside the burner.

>>Check prices on Amazon

Vertigo Cyclone Torch Lighter

  • durable triple flamed windproof torch lighter.
  • has a clear fuel tank so you can easily see how much fuel it has left.
  • very lightweight making it easy to stash in your pocket or your bug out bag.

>>Check prices on Amazon

Xikar Stratosphere II Lighter

  • for high performance in windy or wet conditions.
  • easy-grip rubber body and wind-proof flame
  • easy-grip case so it will not slip out of your hands even in the middle of a torrential downpour.
  • This survival companion also comes with a lanyard hole and a bit of rope to attach it to the outside of your pack.

>>Check prices on Amazon

Tesla Electric Lighter

  • instead of a flame, this Tesla Electric Lighter uses a battery and the power of electricity to start fires.
  • the key with this Tesla Lighter is to pair it with a solar charger.

NOTE: For survival, you should have a tool to generate some power so you can create your own fuel everywhere and anywhere you go.  Use a USB cord to connect your lighter to your solar charger, and you can power your lighter. 

>>Check prices on Amazon


A different view on using a lighter to start a campfire – see video below

>> Check prices on Amazon


Magnesium Firestarter

  • The magnesium flint striker will work even when soaked in water.
  • You use a knife or sharp edge to shave off a small pile of magnesium, and then you strike the striker with your knife to create a spark and get a fire going.

>>Check prices on Amazon

Basic Principles Of Fire Starting

You need to start with a dry, fibrous fuel source (tinder). Start with something like dried leaves, dried grass, cotton, or juniper bark, feather sticks (although these need some time and practice to make), 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.

Now put this tinder in a dry location as much out of the wind as possible. While survival lighters can produce a flame in wind and rain, catching flame to tinder under these conditions creates a whole other problem.

Before you light your tinder, you need some kindling ready. You want the kindling to be worked on by the tinder as soon as it has caught alight.

Now it is time to light the tinder. Hold the flame to the tinder until it has caught. Then move the flame to other parts of the tinder. The more places you can get the tinder lit the better chance of moving the flame from tinder to the kindling.

Finally, once the tinder is flaming, you want to gently blow some air into the base of the flame. This will provide an extra burst of heat and help get the kindling to catch fire.

If you have done this all right, you will now have your kindling starting to catch. Now it is a matter of adding more kindling and working in some larger logs over time.

If you are new to fire starting, it can be a challenge, especially in a stressful survival situation – so practice with your lighters and stormproof matches.


Consider getting more than one survival lighter. Keep one in your Bug Out Bag at all times, 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 for fire starting purposes!


Kate P

I have always had an urge to “be ready’ for emergency situations. To my delight, I discovered the term “prepping” and that there is a community out there willing to learn and share information on a subject close to my heart. I also discovered how entwined self-sufficiency and homesteading are with prepping!

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