Cold Weather Lighter

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by newknife, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. newknife


    Jul 6, 2008
    Can anyone recommend a lighter that works well in COLD weather? I have a firesteel and all that but honestly I prefer just to press a button and have a flame come out. I've noticed though that bic lighters don't work well in below freezing weather. It produces a very small flame even when it's full of fluid. So does anyone have a lighter that works well in below freezing weather? What about the lighters that are like mini blow torches? Do these work well in the cold?

  2. Any Cal.

    Any Cal. Banned BANNED

    Jan 1, 2006
    Keep them in your pants pocket. I've used a Bic in -20F, it just has to be warm. If it is too cold, hold it in your bare hand for a minute, and it will be fine. If it is really cold, keep it in an inside coat pocket, as your outer pants may still be too cold for it.
    Hard Knocks and BBW like this.
  3. ndeezl

    ndeezl Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Some butane (torch) lighters do not work above a certain elevation. Can't really go wrong with a Zippo IMO.
    Mongo likes this.
  4. raylaconico


    Jan 30, 2004
    Keep them warm in your pocket and they should work. I've used Bic type lighters at 12,000+ ft. elevation. I've never been in really, really cold camping but they work fine at about 30 degrees for me.
  5. revolverman357


    Jan 30, 2007
    Zippo, here.
    Mongo likes this.
  6. CWL


    Sep 15, 2002
    Torch lighters work fine in cold, especially if you keep it in a pants pocket where it will stay warm. They do not work well above the timberline, which is about 11,000 above sea level. I doubt that most people spend much time there.

    Look into the line of Windmill lighters. Either the polycarbonate or trekker versions.
  7. newknife


    Jul 6, 2008
    I'll check those out. Thanks...l
  8. jw2n


    Sep 22, 2009
    I am a smoker and therefore always carry lighters. I have not had the problems with lighters that others have described here. I used Zippos and Bics while on the Yukon River in winter. We had temps as low as -65 and my lighters were carried in the pocket of my outermost pair of pants. How much body heat they got must have been diminushed by the fact that two layers were worn underneath. As for elevation, I have used them up to 12,000 ft, and did not have a problem, or maybe I just didnt notice a reduction in the flame.
  9. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Zippo... just keep it in a pocket next to your long johns in cold weather...
  10. Any Cal.

    Any Cal. Banned BANNED

    Jan 1, 2006
  11. never too sharp

    never too sharp

    Mar 7, 2007
    I prefer Bics and strike anywhere matches, but this guy is on my radar.


    Nov 24, 2008
    I pack a zippo every day..........
    Mongo likes this.
  13. Skimo


    Mar 28, 2009
    Bics just work, keep 'em close to your skin.

    Butane compresses, that's always going to be the issue in the cold.
  14. fujita yuji

    fujita yuji

    Jul 12, 2008
    +1 for Bic, kept in a shirt pocket next to my body.
    It worked fine down to -25C (-12F) for me.

    Use it quickly, before the lighter gets chilled.

    Layered gloves are better, as it is quite tricky to handle it with clumsy gloves/mittens.
    For the same reason, regular sized Bic is preferable than the smaller one.
  15. molly's survival

    molly's survival Banned BANNED

    Aug 28, 2009
    I'm a zippo guy but with any lighter I've used you need to keep them warm....
  16. GWashington1732


    Jun 20, 2009
    I used my zippo to start a fire in the snow today. They're windproof but remember the fires they start are not. Zippo is generally a good choice but you may want to use a butane torch unless you're at a high altitude.
  17. newknife


    Jul 6, 2008
    I'll try keeping the lighter in my pocket. I had it in my backpack and it was cold. I'm also at about 7,800 feet above sea level.


    Apr 14, 2006
    Zippo! :thumbup: You can light it with gloves on by running it across your pant leg, to open the lid. You can light it the same way. This is important for 2 reasons - eliminates the need to remove your gloves when it's really cold, and makes it doable, when your fine motor skills are down the toilet.

    Glamour shot (top left):


    You can also set it down, lit, and it will keep burning (mine is a little bit more problematic in this regard :rolleyes: )

    To offset the only criticism I ever hear about Zippos, carry a small can of fuel in your pack. IT WEIGHS NOTHING!!!!! Also a Ranger band helps prevent evaporation of fuel and doubles as a flame enhancer.

  19. TheRiverJustKnows


    Mar 3, 2009
    I have that lighter and it failed on me last winter in the sierras. I was at about 10000 ft. and -5 F. Although I didn't even think about keeping on me so it was cold and I just used a match instead of trying to warm it up.
  20. tholiver


    Feb 22, 2003
    Doc have you tried the Butane inserts for Zippos?
    I bought one on Ebay recently and have been carrying my brass Zippo lighter again. The insert seems to work pretty good so far.
    Actually i bought two units and a new Zippo, one of the units and the new Zippo are a Christmas gift for a relative.
    She always used a Zippo but switched to Bics because she got tired of them running dry. She didn't know about the ranger band trick,lol!

Share This Page