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The Best Survival Lighter for 2024: Our Top 7 Picks

You’re out in the wilderness backpacking. You encounter an abnormally cold night. You have to light a fire. But how?

Or how about you live in a remote area, and your power goes out? There are two things you need, warmth and light. A fire in your fireplace can provide both, but you’re out of matches, and your normal lighter won’t start. What do you do?

You may be one of those people that knows a million ways to start a fire without any fire starters, but there’s a much easier way than trying to strike at a rock until you get a spark.

You prepare.

You make sure you’re ready for anything, and to do that, you need the best survival lighter.

We’ve listed our choices for the best survival lighters to prepare you for anything.

Survival Lighter

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
Black Beard Arc Survival Lighter and Fire Starter Kit

Best Budget:
Zippo Windproof Lighter

Best Waterproof:
Exotac titanLight Fuel Survival Lighter


Best Overall

Black Beard Arc Survival Lighter and Fire Starter Kit

Black Beard Pirate's Plunder Fire Starter Kit with Waterproof Plasma Arc Lighter, Ferro Rod & Fire Starter Rope | Fast Lighting Fire Starter Kit for Campfires in All-Weather Waterproof & Windproof

The Black Beard Arc Survival Lighter is the hottest thing out there right now… pun intended. It’s a lithium battery-powered dual arc plasma lighter. It’s windproof, waterproof, and cold-proof. It’s the ultimate machine to have in your pocket or emergency bag.

In any situation, it’s better to have several options for survival lighters just in case the first one either runs out of charge or fuel. I’d recommend having two or three different kinds of lighters readily available.

Fortunately, Black Beard has that covered. With this fire starter kit, you get a lighter, some fire starters, fire starter rope, a Ferro rod, and a bag to organize it all. You’ll have everything you need, just in case. Remember, you can’t be too prepared.

If you live off-grid or are going out on a long backpacking adventure, I recommend adding a solar charger to the mix, so you can recharge your Black Beard Arc Survival Lighter anywhere. I would go for the Powertraveller Falcon 21 Solar Panel.

Pros

  • The full kit includes 4 Black Beard Fire Starters, 1 Ferro Rod, 1 Plasma Arc Lighter, 1 Fire Kit Organizer, 1 Black Beard Velcro Patch
  • Battery-powered, so there’s no need to carry extra fuel
  • 300 ignites for a single charge
  • Waterproof, Windproof, and Cold-proof
  • Dual arc plasma beam

Cons

  • Needs to be recharged

Best Budget

Zippo Windproof Lighter

Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics. The Zippo lighter was invented in the 1930s, and still to this day, it’s one of the premier lighters on the market.

What makes the Zippo particularly useful in survival situations is that it’s windproof. Not very many lighters can handle a blast of wind like a Zippo lighter can. It also stays lit without you having to hold down a button. This allows you time to light wet tinder without needing to grip the lighter.

It’s also one of the only lighters on the market that uses the classic flint method to light a small fuel-covered wick. This means that if properly cared for, it’s extremely reliable.

Also, there’s nothing more satisfying than popping open a Zippo and lighting it up.

Unfortunately, Zippos aren’t waterproof, and without a proper case, they’re not great in cold weather. I recommend adding a waterproof and evaporation-proof case to your zippo lighter if you’re using it for survival situations.

The PyroVault 2.0 Lighter Case will allow you to use your Zippo in cold, wet weather without any issues.

Pros

  • Classic Design
  • Windproof
  • Flint method
  • With a case, it can withstand cold, wet conditions

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Best Waterproof

Exotac titanLight Fuel Survival Lighter

EXOTAC - titanLIGHT Evaporation-proof Fuel Lighter with Included Flint Starter for Emergency Kit, Hiking, Campfires, and Essential Supplies (Orange)

The titanLight from Exotac is exactly like a Zippo, but with some upgrades. It’s a butane lighter that uses the same classic flint and wick lighting method, and it has that same satisfying click as the flame lights up.

There are three main differences between the titanLight and the Zippo.

The first is that the titanLight has a screw-top lid with an o-ring, making it evaporation-proof and waterproof. That’s a win over Zippo.

The second, however, is that while it claims to be windproof, it’s not quite as wind-resistant as the Zippo.

The third is that the titanLight isn’t cheap.

If titanLight were a little more affordable and could promise that it would hold up in blustery winds, then I’d say it should be top on this list of survival lighters. As it stands, it’s a really great lighter to have with you.

Pros

  • Waterproof, Weatherproof, and Evaporation-proof
  • Flint method
  • Durable quality design

Cons

  • A little pricey

Soto Pocket Torch

The Soto Pocket Torch is an awesome trinket to have in your kit. It turns a regular lighter into a full-on welding machine. You simply place your small lighter into the Soto Pocket, then click the button, and boom, you’ve made a torch.

While torches are more associated with lighting cigars, they are also important lighters for survival situations. They are naturally windproof, and you can point them down without burning yourself.

The ability to point a flame down is severely underrated when it comes to lighting a fire.

The Soto Torch is easy to refill, but you can also buy more lighters to stick in there. Unfortunately, because of the size of the pocket, your average Bic lighter won’t fit. But apparently, Scripto Lighters work just fine.

The Soto Torch is not built for survival situations, so it’s not as durable as the titanLight or the Black Beard, but it’s a good one to have with you in case you need some extra heat.

Pros

  • Turns a regular lighter into a torch
  • Can use upside down
  • Easy refills
  • Reaches high heat
  • Windproof

Cons

  • Not very durable

Castelar Torch Light

Castelar 2 Pack Torch Lighter Butane Lighter Refillable Windproof Lighter Adjustable 6

Speaking of torch lights, the Castelar makes these cool pen-sized lighters that produce extremely high heat. Again, the benefits of having a torch lighter as a survival lighter are that they’re windproof and can be used upside down.

Unfortunately, like the Soto, the Castelar is not made for survival situations. It’s not waterproof or cold-proof. However, as far as torch lights go, Castelar is one of the best and most reliable. I would place it above other torch lights that are waterproof for that reason alone.

You can adjust the flame, see how much fuel you’ve used through a window, and it’s very durable.

Pros

  • You can flip this upside down comfortably
  • Sturdy, durable design
  • Windproof
  • Refill window so you can see how much fuel you’ve used
  • Adjustable flame size

Cons

  • Not made of the highest quality materials

Bic Classic Lighter

BIC Classic Lighter, Assorted Colors, 12-Pack (packaging may vary)

Not much really holds up against the originals, am I right? Everybody has a Bic lighter. They’re cheap, easy, and relatively reliable. For that reason alone, I can’t have a list of best survival lighters and not include Bic.

You can get a pack of Bic lighters for half the price of one high-quality survival lighter. That means you’ll always have spares in case one stops working.

But Bic lighters are cheap for a reason. They die easily and don’t handle cold or wet at all. The latter can be solved by getting a FlameNest Waterproof Lighter Case, which I highly recommend.

However, no matter how much you armor your Bic, it won’t be windproof, and that can mean the difference between a fire and no fire in a storm or blizzard. So, buy some Bics as backups, but make sure you have more reliable sources of sparks in your packs.

Pros

  • Classic
  • Easy
  • Cheap
  • With the FlameNest Case, it’s waterproof

Cons

  • Not windproof
  • You have to hold the button down

Zippo Mag Strike

While it isn’t technically a lighter, I’ve included the Zippo Mag Strike on this list of best survival lighters because Ferro rods are a must-have in any survival kit.

The best part about Ferro rods is that they do not require any fuel or charge. You just drag the striker blade down the rod to get some firework-style sparks.

A lighter can always die on you, whether it’s because you are out of fuel or some mechanism in the internal structure is just slightly off. A Zippo Mag Stripe, on the other hand, is ready whenever you need it.

I recommend carrying some fire starter with you if you get one of these because it’s sometimes difficult to find good tinder to get a fire going, whether you use a lighter or not.

Get yourself a Zippo Mag Strike. It will put your mind at ease that no matter what happens, you’ll be able to stay warm by a fire.

Pros

  • 5/16 inch Ferrocerium Rod with striker blade
  • No mechanisms
  • Locks together for convenient handling
  • Use anywhere

Cons

  • Not a lighter

Best Survival Lighters’ Buyer’s Guide

As you can see from the list above, not all survival lighters are created equal. They all have their plusses and minuses, their wins and their quirks. To buy the best survival lighter, think about the following.

What Makes a Lighter a Survival Lighter?

Lighters are everywhere. You can go to a gas station and choose from a dozen different lighters at the checkout counter. And they all work just fine.

But when your life is on the line, you want a lighter that is dependable, reliable, and strong.

Certain characteristics of survival lighters separate them from your everyday, run-of-the-mill checkout lighters: durability and water, weather, and wind resistance.

Using a Survival Lighter

Unfortunately, very few lighters out there check all of these boxes. That’s why I cannot recommend enough that you put two or three different kinds of lighters in your survival pack. You need to be sure at least one of them will hold up.

Durability

You want your lighter that will take a beating and will last over time. Read the reviews on each lighter and see if multiple people have had problems with their survival lighters holding up over time. A durable lighter is a life-saving lighter.

Wind, Water, and Weather Resistance

This is probably the most important aspect of a survival lighter if you’re planning on using yours on camping, backpacking, or wilderness adventures. You’ll want to be able to light a fire on a cold, rainy day or if you’re like me and have accidentally dropped your pack in the lake.

A survival lighter needs to hold its own in the wet because, a lot of times, life-or-death situations aren’t very dry. Also, most lighters won’t work in the cold, and that’s exactly when you need a fire the most. A survival lighter should be cold-proof.

And, if you can’t light a cigarette when it’s breezy out, how will you light a fire in the middle of a hurricane?

So if you’re out and about in the cold, wet wild often, make sure you get yourself a wind, weather, and water-resistant survival lighter. Some lighters can be made cold and water-resistant if you purchase the right case.

Type of Lighter

There are different methods of lighting a flame, and not all lighters work the same. The one commonality between all lighters is that they require fuel, whether it be butane or an electric charge.

Think about the situations in which you’ll be using your survival lighter. Are you able to carry extra fuel with you? If so, how much?

Price

Some lighters are expensive, some are cheap, and a lot of times, you get what you pay for. I recommend buying the best you can afford. It will make a difference.


Light Your Fire With the Best Survival Lighter

If you find yourself in a situation where you need a fire, and you need it now, you want to have one of the most reliable and best survival lighters on the market, the Black Beard Arc Survival Lighter.

But remember, carry two or three lighters with you just in case. It’s always better to be prepared than it is to be scared.

If you want to learn more about getting a survival fire going, check out this guide to Camping and Survival Fires.