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The over use of lighters
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C King
(rimmini) - F
The over use of lighters on 06/06/2011 19:31:07 MDT Print View

I read these lists and everyone seems to prefer mini-bics amd bic lighters. Now I am all for technology on the trail but I have seen enough of these disgarded by campfire rings. I have seen the bic ruined by water on the spark wheel. I've seen them crushed or vented by items in the pack. So I guess my question is.. what is the facination with this unrealiable fire source?

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Performance on 06/06/2011 19:36:02 MDT Print View

My mini bic use is based on performance. It has NEVER failed. Well treated gear lasts, plain and simple. Effective, light, and when coupled with a sealed pack of matches, totally dependable for fire. Stick with what works. When there's a fascination with something, especially with this skilled group, it's because its proven, light and often the best thing going........ Always plan for the what if however with a fire redundancy..... even if it's a little coctail matches in a baggie. Even wet, the mini bic will dry fast and re-ignite.


Proof's in the pudding.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Performance on 06/06/2011 19:39:39 MDT Print View

Nevertheless, a mini-BIC can be helped by transporting it inside your cook pot so that it can't be accidentally activated. Also, if the weather is very cold, the butane might not vaporize easily unless you keep it in your pants pocket for warmth.


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
BIC reliablity on 06/06/2011 20:09:07 MDT Print View

I have to say that a BIC has proven to be reliable for me as well.

I usually pack one as well as a firesteel. The firesteel.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Options on 06/06/2011 20:14:44 MDT Print View

There are better (more reliable) options than BIC at not much more money. Scripto comes to mind, with a protected valve lever.

P.S. discarded lighters at campsites are not the problem. The people that discarded them are.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/06/2011 20:16:19 MDT.

lighter on 06/06/2011 20:15:17 MDT Print View

the bic lighter IS a flint and steel. You dont need it to have any fuel or a flame to work. If you are lighting a stove with volatile fuel (alcohol or propane) sparks alone will work. If you want wood fire, you will need firestarter of sort. But alcohol works for that too.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: The over use of lighters on 06/06/2011 20:15:55 MDT Print View

Cricket lighters rule!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: The over use of lighters on 06/06/2011 20:27:11 MDT Print View

"I read these lists and everyone seems to prefer mini-bics amd bic lighters. Now I am all for technology on the trail but I have seen enough of these disgarded by campfire rings. I have seen the bic ruined by water on the spark wheel. I've seen them crushed or vented by items in the pack. So I guess my question is.. what is the facination with this unrealiable fire source?"

I've been using them for as long as I can remember and never experienced any of the problems you mention. It's a matter of knowing your gear, its limitations and benefits, then choosing and using accordingly. As for discarding them at campsites, that's not a defect in the BIC.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: The over use of lighters on 06/06/2011 20:46:39 MDT Print View

I decided to nurse my inner bush craft and use the sweedish fire steel to light my alcohol stove.
It worked well at home. I could not get it to light in the morning because it was in the low 30s at night. I did bring a Bic. I suppose I should have slept with the fuel bottle.

Ryan Nakahara
(kife42) - F

Locale: Hawaii
torch lighters on 06/06/2011 20:47:27 MDT Print View

i did a little test just now. i took my torch lighter, submerged it in cold water and shook it around for a minute, then tried to light it. no flame. kept trying and dried it off for a minute, and it worked.

honestly i don't know why more people don't use torch lighters. they cost less than 3 bucks, are much easier to light things hard to reach, work better in wind, refillable with butane, and last for years. if my alcohol stove needs more priming, i just torch the side of the can for a bit. i have a mini bic and mini firesteel as backup but have never used them.

people still use matches? =)

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: The over use of lighters on 06/06/2011 21:16:29 MDT Print View

Mini-bics are cheap and light(0.4 oz.)and they work. I've never had one crushed or vented in the pack. A backup fire source is a good idea, though. In my case, it's a firesteel (0.3 oz.). Both work well in igniting either a canister or alcohol stove. Alcohol is harder to light when it's cold, so I just warm it up for a few minutes in an inside pocket. Presumably, none of us here discards used up lighters or any other trash in the wilderness.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
voice of dissent on 06/06/2011 21:52:55 MDT Print View

Personally, I hate Bic lighters. The child-proofing thing they put on the wheel makes them impossible to operate with cold hands. Even if you yank the child-proofing thing off, the wheel is still hard on your fingers in the cold. The fuel must also be kept above a certain temperature to operate as designed, and it's not always easy to do that in cold weather. A lighter as a flint is always going to be inferior to a good flint and steel because it makes a relatively small spark and the wheel will destroy your finger tips if you actually strike it as much as you'd need to start a fire with that little spark.

I bring a flint and steel, plus a film canister full of vaseline-soaked cotton, and a 30-count box of matches in a plastic ziploc. It's a little heavier, but completely waterproof, I can get hundreds of fires out of a single film canister of this material, and I can often substitute the cotton with natural materials. The matches are for lighting stoves and just in case. I haven't carried a lighter in years.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Hooked on the mini-BIC. on 06/06/2011 21:55:03 MDT Print View

I don't see the problem with them. More lights than the same volume/weight of matches. Easier to use in wind. And I've never even heard of one being crushed in a pack. I've had them leak down when packed tightly in with a bunch of other stuff, but now I just pack it marginally more carefully.

As for finding them in fires... I've found everything from food packaging to clothing in fire pits, but I'm not going to carry the granola in the bottom of the pack, and I'm not going naked.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: The over use of lighters on 06/06/2011 21:59:30 MDT Print View

BICs aren't as good as they used to be but matches have become even worse--they're awful. Piezo lighters fail to light at altitude.

Department of redundancy department has me packing two or three BICs in various places, and this system has never let me down. They DO break, though, while some soldier on for several seasons. It's BIC Darwinism in action.



Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
The over use of lighters on 06/06/2011 22:05:06 MDT Print View

I've been using the same firesteel for upwards of 4 years now...

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Hate the mini Bic on 06/07/2011 08:55:16 MDT Print View

I use to love the mini Bic then Bic put that dam# child proof guard on it. It like doing a contortion act with your fingers and thumb. I removed the guard on one mini Bic but it did not work after that I think the guard has a metal piece that will not allow the gas flow to work with out it on the lighter. So I use the regular size Bic and mini piezo Bic lighters instead I rather have something that works than save a few tenth of ounces .

Ps: I was censored by the board before I could post on the board since when did the word "Dam#" become profanity. So I had to use a number sign in place of the letter"N".

Mark Ryan

Locale: Somewhere. Probably lost.
Bics on 06/07/2011 09:35:01 MDT Print View

I use the non thumb destroying button-starter Bics. Dropped them in muddy puddles and after two/three clicks they started right up. I always carry stormproof matches as well.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
Fascination? on 06/07/2011 09:55:23 MDT Print View

I bring 2 mini bic lighters on every trip I take. I bring them because they are, in my experience, reliable and easy to use. I bring them because they are an icon in our culture and I try to be as conscious of my consuming as possible. I bring them because, as mentioned above, they can still function as a flint and steel when empty. That's brilliant design, akin to the escalator...a broken escalator still functions as stairs...

I've never experience them getting punctured, or in some way discharged, in my pack. I bring a spare in case I lose the first one...

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
Also... on 06/07/2011 10:03:46 MDT Print View

On the odd chance that I do lose a lighter on my trips, I take solace in the fact that whomever might find it is receiving a trail gift worthy of the gods. Seriously, the mini bic is a marvel of fire-starting engineering...If I found a working mini bic on a hike, that would be a good day!

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
Re: The over use of lighters on 06/07/2011 10:19:16 MDT Print View

I don't know what gargantuan forces you are applying to your lighters but unless I'm actually trying to break it, it won't break. Itd be like saying "whats up with relying on water filters that break if you drop em off a cliff?"