As experienced campers already know, there are certain things you must have for winter camping that you can rely on any day and any time. One of those “must have” items is a lighter that works whenever it is needed. Having access to a reliable lighter ensures your ability to prepare food and stay warm and dry; each a necessity when camping during the winter season. We’ve rounded up the 6 best lighters for winter camping in this handy guide.
While you may be adept at starting a fire without the help of a lighter, it can take time to get the kindling to ignite for a variety of reasons. With a quality lighter in hand, you’re just a flick away from having what you need, when you need it. Whether it’s to start a fire for warmth or to prepare a meal, being confident you have the right tool to do the job eliminates what could be a stressful situation.
Guide to Must Have Lighter Features
There are several things about lighters to consider when researching the different brands/types.
- Sparking mechanism
You’ll want a reliable fuel source to ensure fire-making capability. The most common is butane, which does a quick job even in the cold. Arc lighters are also adept at working well in the cold. While they do not have the same lasting power as a fuel-based lighter, they can be recharged in a short time. Propane is also a reliable and powerful choice, but the fluid will have an odour to alert you of a leak.
Lighter power is something to consider. During winter camping, you want to start a fire sooner rather than later. An inexpensive lighter that produces a small flame, such as a basic cigarette lighter, is sufficient to get a campfire going. A larger lighter that produces a bigger flame provides additional ‘fire power’ to start the process quicker and easier.
A recommendation when doing research for a lighter is to choose one that is capable of being refilled with applicable fuel or one that is rechargeable. While “throw away” type lighters are less expensive, you won’t want to be left out in the cold because the lighter you choose has less power and little to no protection.
The sparking mechanism is an important part of a lighter and available as either flint or electrical to initiate the process. Flint lighters rely on a spark making contact with the lighter’s fuel source, which can be propane, butane, etc. The electrical option works consistently but may not have as long of a life span, over time, plus it is more expensive and the mechanism is subject to damage, making it inoperable.
Winter weather can bring on a host of issues that go along with the cold temperatures such as snow, sleep, melting ice, and wet and windy conditions. When selecting a lighter to use during winter camping, choose one that offers protection from the elements, such as the Zippo Emergency Waterproof Lighter, Green Vivid Waterproof Flameless Electric Lighter, Windmill Classic Stormproof All Weather Waterproof Lighter, and the Visol Camino Wind-Resistant Jet Flame Lighter.
There are pros and cons to the weight factor, which is an important consideration for backpackers. Since you will be carrying items in your pack, consider one with the lightest weight. If you settle for a larger lighter, you’ll have access to more heat for a longer period, but it will also have added more weight to your backpack. Choosing a compact lighter can do the job but it does not last as long as the larger lighter.
Best Lighters for Winter Camping
When looking for a top camping lighter, the following short list provides a few examples of a variety of lighter types and fire-starting processes to consider.
Stay warm and toasty with the Green Vivid Waterproof Flameless Electric Lighter-Dual Arc Plasma Bean Lighter. The durable design features a cover and clasp fitted with a metal ring to ensure the lighter is waterproof. Its flameless design also makes it wind-proof. Whether it is rainy or windy, this lighter will not let you down while camping. The lighter can be used as a fire starter as well as for use to ignite a barbecue or gas stove. The lighter is USB rechargeable and holds a charge for around one week or up to 300 strikes.
The affordably priced Icfun Arc lighter comes fitted with excellent weatherproofing capabilities. The packaging keeps it protected from the elements, which results in consistent usage. The lighter is powerful and stays charged for at least two hours. It is rechargeable via a USB device. For convenience, the lighter is fitted with a detachable multi-functional lanyard and an emergency whistle. Overall, the Icfun Arc provides good heat and weather protection at a cost-friendly price.
The Turbine Torcher Lighter is a dual tool that combines the use of either a lighter or a torch. The zinc-alloy device is lighter in weight while maintaining a high level of durability, which results in a longer life span. Its design includes a rubber casing that is easy to grab/grip, a spring-assisted lid that provides protection during windy conditions, and a thumb-activated ignition. The lighter has three settings, so you can choose the intensity level based on weather conditions, plus the option to adjust the flame from small to large with a single click. Safety-wise, the Turbine Torch eliminates the risk of being injured because there is no open flame.
This compact and lightweight dual-arc electric lighter offers several advantages you will want to have access to when camping. These include its reliability in a variety of conditions such as wind, high-altitude camping, and extreme cold. The lighter has a simple and consistent starting process, quick recharge ability using a USB interface, inclusion of fire starter putty and a charge that lasts an estimated 200 to 300 strikes before it needs to be recharged. Its one negative attribute is it has less of a charge when compared to a single-arc lighter. This lighter is in the medium to high price range.
For versatility, the Zippo Flex Neck Utility Lighter is an ideal accessory for any camping trip. Its metal construction makes it a durable tool that can withstand the elements and last for years. The Zippo Flex Neck lighter is fitted with dual-flame wind-resistant technology that includes an adjustable flame dial. It is lightweight, has a child-resistant safety button, which is patented, and the flex neck allows it to be adjusted so it can fit in tight places, upside down, or at any angle. The lighter is fuelled by Zippo butane.
The VEHHE Plasma Lighter has been designed for easy use whether you are camping or find yourself in a survival situation. The lighter is ideal for winter camping conditions as it is waterproof and windproof. It has no flame, so there is no chance of injury, and it can be conveniently activated by pressing a button. The VEHHE Plasma device is fuelled by a lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable using a USB device. The lighter holds a charge for approximately 2.5 hours. Safety is also covered. The lighter has a child lock to prevent accidents whether you’re out camping with children, or you have it stored at home. It also has a cut off process when the lighter has been in use for an extended time in the event of internal issues.
There are more lighters on the market that can be used for winter camping that have assorted features, fuel options, and technology specific to weather conditions.
Additional windproof electric arc lighters to consider include:
- Tesla Coil Windproof Arc Lighter
- Sabertlight Plasma Beam Lighter
- Saberlight Sparq Plasma Beam Lighter
- Worthington Trigger Start Propane Torch
- SUPRUS Waterproof Lighter
- RONXS Waterproof Lighter
- TOMOLO Waterproof Plasma Lighter
- Extremus Waterproof Electric Lighter
- REM FACIO Waterproof Lighter
Additional windproof fuel-based lighters include:
- Zippo Chrome Lighter
- Zippo Matte Pocket Lighter
- Cobber Quad Flame Windproof Lighter
- Xikar Stratosphere II Torch Lighter
- UCO Stormproof Torch Survival Lighter
- Ultimate Survival Technologies Floating Lighter
- Scorch Torch Skyline Triple Jet Flame Lighter
- Worthington Trigger Start Propane Torch
- Delta Stormproof Butane Lighter
Tips for Selecting a Quality Windproof Lighter for Winter Camping
As noted, winter weather can be fraught with conditions that can have an affect on starting a fire. One of those conditions is windy weather, which means needing a lighter that won’t extinguish as the wind blasts through your camp site.
When choosing a lighter, selecting one that can hold and maintain a flame or a charge throughout the duration of your camping trip is at the top of the list. Other factors are also important to consider for windproof lighters. These include the type of lighter, the way it is built, its size and weight, and its fuel tank capacity for lighters that are fuel-based.
Windproof Lighter Categories
Windproof lighter types fall into three categories – flame lighters, jet lights, and electric arc lighters. In general, windproof lighters can withstand winds ranging from 80 to 90 miles per hour.
The lighter’s construction should be made of material that is sturdy, durable, and able to withstand the elements of winter camping, which may include exposure to rough environments that could lead to the lighter being dropped.
Size and Weight of Lighters
If your camping adventure includes backpacking, the size and weight of the lighter can be significant. While many are compact and lightweight, others may need you to carry a USB charging device or extra fuel sources. Any extra weight can weigh down your pack and any extra devices can take up much needed space in your backpack or camping gear.
Fuel and Charge Capacity
How long a fuel-based lighter will last or hold a charge should be considered, so you know you’ll have enough fuel or charge to last throughout your camping trip. Some fuel tanks for fuel-based lighters can last for up to a week with moderate use. A rechargeable electric arc lighter may hold a charge for more than 150 strikes.
Additional Features to Consider
Other features to explore for windproof lighters are the price (value) of the lighter compared to the features it provides and whether it is waterproof. Some lighter brands offer a floating design, while other brands are impact resistant. Colour also plays an important role, as the more vibrant and colourful (orange, yellow, red, etc.) the lighter is, the easier it will be to see it in low light or if it is accidently dropped in the brush. Since the lighter is an investment for current and future winter camping excursions, check what type of warranty is being provided by the manufacturer. Consider what type of after-sales support is available should you run into any problems with the lighter as well as the number of years the lighter is covered by a warranty plus the return, repair, or replace policy, if applicable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Like others, you may have a question or two about lighters and winter camping. The following questions and answers may help when making your selection.
How does freezing affect a lighter?
When camping during cold weather, it is possible the brisk temperature can affect the fluid’s ability to ignite quickly. Take a moment to warm up the lighter before using it for better ignition results.
Will cold weather have any effect on lighters?
This will depend on the type of lighter. For a traditional simple and inexpensive lighter that uses lighter fluid, the cold temperature may result in inconsistent ignition. Lighters operated by propane, butane, or electric arcs are not affected.
Is it possible to refill an inexpensive lighter?
Yes. Refilling lighters is easy and inexpensive.
A lighter for camping is an essential tool whether you are camping, backpacking, or hiking. Whether using an electric, arc, or fuel-based system, a reliable lighter can turn a cold camp site into a warm and inviting space while preparing a meal over an open flame.