Hiking is a really fun activity preferred by many people in their spare time. While you may be tempted to just get some water and snacks and go for it, you need to have some essential items with you that can be highly beneficial in case of an emergency.
Being able to light up a fire in case you get lost is very important, so a backpacking lighter is one of the essential things that should always be found in your backpack. You need one that is small and light, yet powerful and resistant to water, wind and other tough conditions.
So we went ahead and tried a variety of backpacking lighters, and here are our top choices:
The UST TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter
This is definitely not your typical day-to-day cigarette lighter, and it’s one specifically designed for backpacking, hiking, and outdoor survival. It’s very easy to use and can light up a fire even on strong winds and rain. Each lighter comes with a ParaTinder utility cord wrist lanyard that you can use to start a fire, and it also has a flashlight included.
The paracord can also serve as a sewing thread, fishing line or it can be used for sutures. And last but not least, the UST TekFire also includes an emergency power bank to charge your phone if needed.
The SOTO Pocket Torch
This is a small accessory that can be added to any regular lighter in order to highly enhance its power and make it wind-resistant. Not only it makes the flame stronger, but it also requires less gas from the lighter. So a regular lighter can last for up to 60% more with the SOTO Pocket Torch added on top.
It’s easy to use and the flame it produces can reach temperatures up to 1,300o C (2,300o F). So instead of buying a torch lighter that constantly needs to be refilled, you can use this device on common disposable lighters.
The SunTime Dual Arc Waterproof Lighter
This is a multi-purpose device that also includes an LED flashlight that has 3 modes: low light, glare, and strobe. It is made of impact-resistant ABS zinc alloy which makes it highly durable. The flame can withstand winds of up to 80 mph (129 km/h), which is quite a lot!
It can be used in a wide variety of scenarios, including for backpacking and survival. It is small and portable and it can spark a flame even in wet conditions.
The Nobor Torch Triple Jet Flame
This very small and lightweight lighter produces 3 strong jets of flame to easily light up cigars, cigarettes or to start a fire. The height of the flame can be adjusted based on what you are trying to light up. It has a refillable tank and an interesting design available in 2 colors.
It comes with a 60-day hassle-free warranty and two elegant gift boxes in case you want to offer it to someone special.
The Zippo Matte Pocket Lighter
The biggest advantage of this lighter is that it’s super small and lightweight. It is all made of metal, with a windproof design that works in tough conditions. It’s made in the USA and comes with a lifetime guarantee so you can get it fixed for free in case anything happens.
It is available in a wide variety of colors, so you can even get it to match your backpack. But being so small you can also carry it in your pockets. Zippo is one of the oldest and most recognized brands when it comes to lighters and accessories, so you can’t go wrong with this one.
The Q&G Explorer Dual Arc Plasma Lighter
This one works with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which eliminates the need for liquid fuel and constant refueling. It can be charged via a USB port, so make sure to have it fully charged before going on a trip. It features a solid design made of ABS zinc alloy that allows it to withstand hits or falls.
It is also windproof (it can withstand winds up to 80 mph / 129 km/h), and waterproof in case it rains. It is very easy to use, has a blue indicator that lights up when in use, and it automatically turns off after 10 seconds in order to save power. It’s small and compact which makes it great for when traveling or going on hikes.
The Sipoe Electric Arc USB Lighter
This one has a really stylish look so you can use it at work after a successful meeting with your business partners or when lighting up a cigar. But it’s also windproof, allowing you to easily use it in nature. It works with the new plasma technology, allowing for ignition with no flames and no gas or butane.
It has a long battery life and a power indicator that shows how much it is left of it. The battery can last for more than 600 charges, which means that you will save a lot of money on the long term on disposable lighters or gas refills. It automatically shuts off after 7 seconds, making sure it doesn’t remain turned on when you put it in the backpack and also saving the battery life.
The Phone Skope PYRO Emergency Survival Fire Starter
Yet another modern and versatile lighter, it is waterproof and weather-resistant, making it great for hunters, survivalists, adventurers or just regular people that like to go hiking. It also comes with a fire starting gel that will allow you to easily start a fire even on very bad weather.
This gel has a burn time of 15 minutes and it also has a discreet UV glow so you can use it to mark a trail. A can allows for up to 30 dry fires or 12 wet fires, and will even burn while floating on water.
Add this package to your emergency kit and you will be prepared for any situation, whether it’s a natural disaster, a power outage or an outdoor survival situation.
The IcFun Camouflage Waterproof USB Lighter
This one looks great and you can tell by its design and colors that it was made for hiking and outdoor activities. It is built to not allow water to slip inside, so you can use it even when it’s raining. Just like some of the previous models, it also comes with a flashlight that has 3 modes: low light, highlight and flash mode.
It works with no flames thanks to the plasma technology, which also makes it windproof. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery, so you don’t need to spend extra money on gas or butane and then worry about refilling. This one also comes with a safety feature that shuts it off after 7 seconds of use, and it includes short circuit protection and leakage protection.
The Classic BIC Lighter
Sure, all of the fancy lighters presented above work great in tough conditions, but most of them have one flaw: they are rechargeable. This is no problem when hiking for a day or two, but in case you get lost and you are not found for days or even weeks, then you won’t be able to recharge them. So that’s why it is important to also have a simple and classic gas lighter with you at all times.
The BIC lighters are simple and cheap, yet effective. They might not work in tough weather conditions, but they will get the job done on a normal day.
How to buy the best backpacking lighter
As you can see, you will find a wide variety of hiking lighters on the market. Some are very fancy and modern, while others are classic. Let’s take a closer look at some aspects you need to take in consideration when buying one:
- Size – most of the lighters presented in this article are small and light, so you don’t really need to worry about this. If the space in your backpack is very limited, it’s better to have multiple small lighters instead of a single large one
- Waterproof – it’s important for the lighter to work if it’s raining outside, but also in case it has been dropped in water. So make sure to choose a waterproof product
- Windproof – flint lighters are not so good at this, so that’s why you might want to choose a plasma lighter or a piezo-electric one. If you’re planning for a long trip across multiple days or weeks, it’s better to have 1 lighter of each type
- Battery Life – as already mentioned, the plasma lighters have the advantage of not requiring gas or butane, but they do need to be recharged from an outlet or a laptop. And if you’re stuck in the mountains for days, this is not an option. So make sure to choose a lighter that has a long battery life and to have a spare flint lighter with you for when you run out of power
- Extra Features – if the lighter also comes with a flashlight, a utility cord or some fire starting gel, that’s more than welcomed and it saves you space and money. In case the lighter doesn’t have any, you will definitely need to buy them separately and have them with you when hiking
Frequently Asked Questions about Backpacking Ligthers
Should I get a flint lighter or an electric one?
Each of these types has its own advantages and disadvantages. Flint lighters can last for a longer time, even if you are on top of a mountain and you don’t have any electricity. But they do not work on windy conditions and when it’s raining.
On the other hand, electric lighters are windproof and waterproof, but they do require charging. So we recommend having at least one lighter of each type when you are hiking, just to be sure.
Will these lighters work on both cold and hot weather?
Electric and plasma lighters will work on hot weather. Flint ones work as well, just make sure to not leave them in the burning sun as the plastic can heat up and the lighter might explode. Also do not keep gas or butane lighters close to a fire.
How do I know when it’s fully charged?
This usually depends on the model, but all-electric or plasma lighters have some kind of an LED indicator that shows when it is fully charged or when the battery is running out.
I mixed up my cables. Can I use a different USB cord when charging the lighter?
Sure! As long as the type of cable fits the original one of the lighter (most of them are charged with a micro USB cable), you won’t have any problems.
For how long can you use it after it’s fully charged?
This also depends on the model of lighter that you have. But most of them will work for a few weeks of occasional use, or just a few hours of very heavy usage.
Does it come with pre-loaded fuel?
In case you are buying a gas or butane lighter from Amazon or any other online store, it will not come with fuel. This is for safety reasons, so that the lighter does not blow up when it’s transported. So you will then have to fill it up yourself or take it to a specialist for a refill.