Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Best butane lighter?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Mini bic weight on 07/25/2006 22:41:06 MDT Print View

Weighed 3 mini bic's today (without warning stickers).

Average was 11.64g. No adjustable flame but that's what the <1g trick birthday candle is for if needed. At that weight I'm only going to have some matches in the emergency bag and use the lighter for almost everything else. It's just so much easier for me compared to matches.

Patrick Baker
(WildMan) - F
Re: Mini bic weight on 07/26/2006 01:52:43 MDT Print View

1x Mini Bic lighter
8X "Survival" matches & "scratch" pad
1x Sparklite & 4x Sparklite cotton pads

0.8 oz Total

Redundant ? Yes, to a degree.
But hey, fire is fire and this kit weighs less than one ounce.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
my calibri stormproof lighter on 07/26/2006 09:00:17 MDT Print View

(piezo type) FAILED at only 7000 ft. elevation. Just plain wouldn't work. Works great up to about 5000 ft.

That Helios is supposed to work at genuinely high elevations - if it indeed does, a stormproof piezo lighter that works at high elevation would be worth the price. I'd like to know if anyone has used one much at altitude & if it's good, it's on my short list of items to pick up over the next year.

Stephen Parmenter
(parmens) - F - MLife

Locale: OH
Re: piezo lighter caveat on 07/26/2006 09:35:53 MDT Print View

One caveat for piezo type lighters... don't use them to light your fireworks. There is a little glow wire at the top of the lighter and I have had the sparks thrown off from lighting fireworks 'burn' through that wire, making it useless.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Helios on 07/26/2006 09:45:45 MDT Print View

I got a Brunton Firelight in my stocking one year. Mine was a POS: YMMV.

It struck me as some cheap $2 asian knockoff that Brunton branded because they knew that they could make a killing from yuppies buying it. I live at sea level and it won't light half the time in my living room.

Won't light right after you fill it.

Won't light in a wind.

The flashlight feature relies on a gasket that was incredibly thin and frail and kept stretching out and falling out of its' groove. I bought a decent gasket for 10 cents. The flashlight is frail and finnicky like the lighter part...

And the worst part is that it seems to be machined from solid steel or lead or something. If I was a smoker I would probably have left it in a garbage can by now; as it is I've tried enlessly to get it to work and now just keep it around for the reason they sell: it looks neat!

Hopefully the Helios is different. Remember: branding doesn't always indicate quality.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
No lighter on 07/26/2006 11:20:32 MDT Print View

I know this thread is about the best butane lighter, but, I choose not to use a lighter. With a Spark-Lite and a little hand sanitizer I can easily light anything. Like Patrick, I also carry storm proof matches, but haven't had to use them yet. I also carry trick birthday candles and a Fresnel lens. The lens is more for seeing stuff than for fires. All of my stoves (white gas, canister and alcohol) light as easily with the Spark-Lite as they would with a lighter. Esbit needs a little help from the hand sanitizer. A lighter is too complicated.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
More butane lighter info on 07/26/2006 12:40:17 MDT Print View

I'm trying a Coleman (Colibri) Tempest at the moment. The lighters with the flip top have more weather resistance, but that lid also gets in the way. It does stay lit in the wind, I guess due to that glowing wire-- platinum maybe? The Tempest is a bit heavy, but it does have an LED flashlight built in. I got one on Ebay and it was old stock and the batteries were shot. I see Target has them on sale on their web site. I found some alkaline replacement batteries on Ebay cheap enough, but the originals are proably silver-oxide, which run $3.99 each at Radio Shack--- and it takes 4 (!!!!). Ouch.

Next batter up: Sierra Trading Post has a less weighty (1.6oz) model of Colibri, the Firebird Submersible, for $12.95: This looks more like a good tool and less gadget-like than the Tempest. It has the same windproof ignition system and a fuel level window. I'll report back when I get a look at this one.

At this point the latter Cricket model is cheap, lights well, has a good fuel capacity and adjustable flame. It is long enough to get a good grip on and I wrap some duct tape around to for storage. Another writer here came up wih the idea of taping a safety pin with the eye out to hand from a lanyard and I do that too.

The little safety pin trick could work with a lot of items: I'm thinking about epoxying one to my Lexan spork.

Edited by dwambaugh on 07/26/2006 12:42:25 MDT.

Dennis Horwitz
(dennishorwitz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Best lighter for high altitudes? on 07/26/2006 23:09:12 MDT Print View

I have had a lot of problems with lighters at high altitudes - 5000 ft or higher. The butane type seem to have pressurization problems. On the other hand, the liquid fuel Zippo always works. Opinions and experiences from others?

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Altitude on 07/26/2006 23:21:05 MDT Print View

I live at 5500 feet and commonly go to 8-9k. I can't remember ever having a Bic not work for me. I'll try out the regular Bic and minibic's this weekend at 14k+ when I make some breakfast tea on the summit of Gray's.


(RavenUL) - F
Re: Altitude on 07/26/2006 23:33:06 MDT Print View

I live at 6000ft, and regularly go several thousand feet higher.

One time at Barr Camp (10,200ft on the way to summit Pikes peak) the only lighter we could get to work was a Bic.

Of course, I have also had issues with Bic's not working at 8000ft, so it might depend on the manf batch.

Storm proof matches might not be the lightest option, but they always work.

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
higher altitudes on 07/27/2006 00:18:06 MDT Print View

I live at 9,300ft and regularly go to the 12s and 13s. I've never had a bic not work as long as it was warm enough for the butane/soaked. Altitude itself has no effect on flint/steel sparking or butane coming out. Temp/mouisture are the issue.

I've been told that piezo issues at altitude have to do with with the resistivity of air which goes up with altitude, preventing sparking. Moisture I think can complicate because you can get shorts. Lots of people have talked about autoignition stoves failing to spark at higher altitudes and humidtimes. This sometimes can be helped by bending the element close to grill so the gap distance is smaller. You might not be able to do that on a lighter, however the gap distance is generally much smaller though the piezo element may not create as much of a differential.

We had a jetboil ignition system fail at 11.8 but that appears to be unrelated to altitude. The ceramic insulator cracked and cause it to spark nowhere near where we wanted.

Niall Fritz
(nfritz1) - F
Most dependable on 07/27/2006 00:50:42 MDT Print View

Old tech wins. Zippo works in wind and at 10,000 to 12,000 feet; rain or snow. You can also use it as a quick hand warmer by heating the cap before closing it. You can keep it burning as long as you have fuel,and not get burnt holding it or by what you're lighting since you don't have to hold it near the flame.

The fancy butane model I once had wasn't dependable above 5K. Bic is the next best choice; I've found the flint models more dependable than piezos.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
any data on zippo weights on 07/27/2006 10:32:09 MDT Print View

other than the full size all titanium model that is pricey (1.6oz), I have'nt seen any weights for zippo models.

wondering how much a "slim" model weighs and if different finishes have significantly different weights.


David White
(davidw) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: any data on zippo weights on 07/27/2006 21:40:52 MDT Print View

According to the FAQ and Trivia section of the Zippo website; the regular Zippo weighs 2.05 oz. and the Slim Zippo weighs 1.50 oz. I assume thats without fuel.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Re: any data on zippo weights on 07/27/2006 22:21:50 MDT Print View

My Zippo standard brass weighs 2.0 oz. (on my postal scale) with full fuel. Other than running out of fuel, it has never failed me from sea-level to 13,000 ft.

I guess I will continue to use it, with matches and forget the newer butane gadgets.

David got the corporate answer in thread above.

Edited by mikes on 07/27/2006 22:34:38 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: More butane lighter info on 07/31/2006 21:11:11 MDT Print View

" Sierra Trading Post has a less weighty (1.6oz) model of Colibri, the Firebird Submersible, for $12.95: This looks more like a good tool and less gadget-like than the Tempest. It has the same windproof ignition system and a fuel level window. I'll report back when I get a look at this one."

Got it today and it is 1.4oz on my scale. It's a blowtorch too. The ignition is piezoelectric and is supplemented by a platinum catylist wire-- if you try to blow it out, the glowing hot wire keeps the flame going. It is refillable and has a fuel view port. Heavier, yes, but it makes a miniBic look like toy. More water resistant too. Definitely a bargain over the Helios at $13.

Colibri lighter

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
looks like my colibri on 07/31/2006 22:07:39 MDT Print View

love it if below 6000 feet elevation - above that it doesn't seem to work at all.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: looks like my colibri on 08/01/2006 00:03:14 MDT Print View

The flame adjustment screw has the black plastic cover/stop on it. You can pull it out with a pair of tweezers-- it just sits on top of the serrated brass end on the screw. With that out of the way, you can adjust the flame to suit your conditions. Once you find a good mid-point, the cover/stop just slides back on the end of the screw. I elected to keep it to prevent moisture and dirt from getting in there. Gross adjustments may be unsafe-- use your brains there.

Scott Toraason
Butane lighters and altitude on 08/06/2006 18:35:09 MDT Print View

I just tried my Windmill Stormproof Lighter 362-0001 after reading the comments on this thread. The lighter worked fine below 5,000 feet, had difficulty igniting at 6,100 feet, and would not ignite at a known elevation point of 7,555 feet. After my trip I carefully re-read the instructions regarding high and lower altitude operation and the recommendation of flame adjustment. I just very respectfully emailed the company and asked them with proper flame adjustment, I assume increase in flame for higher altitudes, was this lighter designed to be functional up to say 10,000 feet. It will be interesting to see if they reply.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Butane lighters and altitude on 08/06/2006 18:39:18 MDT Print View

I gave up using mine because of the problems with altitude.