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The Best Lighters and Fire Starters for Everyday Carry

Ed Jelley
The Best Lighters and Fire Starters for Everyday Carry

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When putting together your EDC, you'll want a kit that covers all the bases. For most of you, that means something to cut with, a way to light things up, and a multitool for everything else. But to be truly prepared, especially in some emergency or survival situations, you can't forget about having access to a flame. Fire is one of those primitive tools that even your state-of-the-art smartphone can't replace. And you don't have to start a full-on fire out in the woods to find a lighter useful. It can come in handy during your day-to-day for things like melting paracord or firing up the grill. In this guide, we're highlighting a ten of our favorite tools for starting a fire.

Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter 

The Survival Spark fire starter has everything you need to get a fire going. It's a magnesium-based rod that you strike with the included scraper. The resulting sparks are white-hot, enough to get your kindling lit. This tool also includes a compass and emergency whistle, making it great for survival situations. It's compact, convenient, and weatherproof so you can use it and store it in a variety of conditions.

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Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0

Originally developed for the Swedish Military, this compact fire starter won't take up much room in your kit. The special alloy fire rod can start fires at high altitudes and low temperatures, ideal if you find yourself hiking and camping in the mountains. The rod will work for over 12,000 strikes in both wet and dry conditions.

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Exotac nanoSTRIKER Ferrocerium Fire Starter

Exotac's nanoSTRIKER is a fully contained ferrocerium (commonly referred to as “ferro”) rod starter. The rod unscrews from the anodized 6061 aluminum body. The result is a fire starter with plenty of grip, making it both comfortable to hold and easy to use. Exotac makes their products in the USA with high quality control standards—exactly what you'd want in the gear you depend on most.

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Sahara Sailor 2 in 1 Magnesium Fire Starter Survival Kit

You can carry this fire-starting multitool on your keychain or hooked to the outside of your bag. Not only do you get a fire rod, but you also have a tungsten window breaker, a sturdy scraper, and an internal compartment for keeping some kindling (a cotton ball works great). This all-in-one tool is great for both EDC and emergency use.

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Zippo Matte Orange

The classic Zippo is carried by hundreds of readers on our site, whether they smoke or not. It's windproof, easy to fill, and produces a large flame at a moment's notice. The Zippo is great for working with paracord, or any other task where you need both of your hands, as it can stay lit without keeping your finger on the gas button. We like this scratch-resistant, high-vis matte orange because it's both tough and easy to spot in the bottom of a bag.

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Bic Mini Lighters

Don't overlook the damn near iconic Bic lighter. It's small, simple, and most importantly, reliable. The mini version is small enough to keep in your coin pocket or bag while taking up hardly any space. They come with enough fuel for plenty of uses, too. At just over a dollar a piece, it won't break the bank to get one for carrying, keeping in your bag, glove compartment, and tool drawer at home.

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Soto Pocket Torch

Soto's Pocket Torch is an interesting take on a fire starter. It puts out a high temperature (1300ºC to be exact) flame that gets kindling lit up in mere seconds. The Pocket Torch is conveniently powered by the fuel from a standard lighter too. Simply pop a rectangular Bic-style lighter into the head, and you're good to go. It features an electronic ignition that emits a highly wind-resistant flame.

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Exotac Firesleeve Floating Case for Bic Classic

Spruce up your standard lighter with the Exotac Firesleeve. This resin case packs in a few useful features that provide a welcomed upgrade. The case is fully waterproof, and even floats - ensuring that your lighter will always work. There's also a “gas lock” that allows the flame to stay lit completely hands-free.

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Peanut Lighter

The Peanut Lighter is one of the smallest ways you can carry a full-on lighter. At just over 1.5” long, it's great for attaching to your keychain. We like this kit that comes with additional flints, wicks, and o-rings. It's powered by standard liquid lighter fuel that you can even get a container to carry some extra with you.

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UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit

Stormproof matches are a great option for emergency fire starting because there's no fuel to worry about. This kit by UCO includes 12 matches that will light in high winds and wet conditions. They'll even stay lit underwater. This all-inclusive kit has everything you need in case of an emergency - a waterproof case, extra strikers, room for tinder, and enough matches to get several fires going.  

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Do you carry a fire starter in your EDC? Let us know your favorite in the comments below!

#firestarters #lighters #survival #buying-guides #edc-lighter #best-edc-lighter #best-edc-lighters #round-lighters-with-pocket-clip #best-keychain-lighters #honest-fire-starter-fuel see all

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Discussion (25 total)

Max ·
I dont get why people love bic lighters so much... i would class them as garbage compared to clipper... clipper: refillable, reflintable, made of nylon and everythings interchangeable... bics you cant refill... cant reflint and they have the retard guard... plus they are made of flammable plastic... its an obvious choice to me...
Mike ·
Max some of us are retired and don't have a lot of disposable income. Bic lighters are nice for two reasons, they are cheap and they work. When done simply toss 'em and get a new one. I buy 'em in packs of 5 at my local smoke shop at cost less than a butane refill cylinder. The only issue I have with them is the damn child safety retard guard and I pop these guards off with a small screwdriver in a second.
Max ·
Bics and clippers are the same price... im just saying im the kinda guy who'd prefer to maintain something rather than just, buy a new one...
Jed Edwards ·
yeah clippers are the lighter of choice for me. Not quite disposable, but priced as if they are.
Alex ·
I find my Zippo isn't as reliable as it's all hyped up to be. Sure it'll light in the wind and stay lit, but the fuel evaporates from the reservoir way too fast and I find myself having to refill every so number of days. I've resorted to carrying a mini-Bic with me now; cheap, reliable, and compact.
James ·
Zippo with a Thunderbird torch insert is the best, IMO, but nothing beats the cost effectiveness of a Bic.
Sakamoto Mio ·
¬ I have a Zippo and I've been pondering the insert, so my query is:
~ I heard ranging reviews concerning the Thunderbird, some have issues, like leaks, that it's finicky and such, so I am curious as to what (or) which does everyone use?
~ Any assist (and) of course to a link would be much appreciated!

~ Respects!
James ·
I had two of them, one with a soft flame (like a Big lighter) and one with a torch flame. Each was about $12 shipped from Amazon. Neither one "leaks," per se, but the soft flame variant WILL dispense gas as long as the lighter's lid is open, because the hinge spring opens the valve. So it won't go venting anything while it's in your pocket, but if you like to play with your lighter a lot, that one's not going to be suitable. The torch lighter only uses fuel if you depress the button, which made it better for my needs despite the slightly smaller capacity.

The soft flame insert I bought also had a dimensional flaw that caused the lid of the case not to close quite right; it tended toward one side. It was functionally fine, but irritating. I believe the company that sells them by Amazon will take care of you if you get a bad one, though. For $12 there's no reason not to try, especially since they're refillable with any aftermarket butane.
Ben ·
Exactly the same here. As an EDC a zippo is extremely maintenance heavy, the non evaporating inserts have pretty bad reviews and I just ended up popping a mini bic in my pocket. Never notice it's there till I need it.
Mike ·
Looking at this selection i see a host of wonderful products. The various ferro rod fire starters are cool but one thing, these are not for the inexperienced. If you get one of these then you really should practice, practice, practice. I've carried a light my fire FireSteel and after some practice in the backyard I felt comfortable with is. Later I graduated to a Exotac nanoSTRIKER. It too is easy to use as long as you take the time to practice. Personally I found the nanoSTRIKER a little small to use but that's just me.

If you are going to buy a Sahara Sailor fire starter have a ball but if you think you may encounter a situation where you may have to bust glass with it, have some sort of protection for your hand. There's nothing like being in an emergency situation and needing a good firm grip on something when your hands are slick with blood from using the glass breaker. Oh and don't forget to look away when you hit the window. You think dealing with an emergency with blood slick hands is tough? Try to deal with the situation when you're blind from shards of glass.

As for me I'm a simple guy. For a while I was the cool kid on the block and carried a Zippo. The Zippo lighters are great as is the peanut lighter. The only issue is you need to be diligent in refilling them. Even if you don't use them a lot the fuel will evaporate and just when you really need it the most...

As for the Zippo fire starter... not for me. It looks like a cool solution in search of a problem.

The soto pocket torch is a cool idea but really I can't see myself carrying one. I just don't get into the "I've go to solder this together right now" situation. I just don't live that glamorous lifestyle. With my luck I would use it to melt a frozen car door lock and end up fusing the lock mechanism.

The boat matches are cool but if you use these have a plan for discarding lite ones when the fire you want started is started. Remember only you can prevent Forrest fires.

The two items here that I really like are the simple bic lighter but when I carry one I always remove the child proof safety. I figure at 62 I am capable of looking after myself. The other item that interests me is the Exotac FireSleeve for starting camp fires with my trusty Bic. When I get the chance I'm going to pick one up. I figure they will really help when I'm using the Bic on heat shrink tubing or lighting a camp fire.

Well that's my two cents on this subject.
0880 ·
I appreciate the comment Mike, I agree with all of your points.

Have you tried the nanoSTRIKER XL? It's just a larger version of the original, sounds like it would be ideal for you. The polySTRIKER XL is also pretty good. It has a larger striker than the nanoSTRIKER and it stores in the handle making it a little more compact. I have the FireSleeve and overall it works well, it's just a little large. I really wish Exotac came out with a version for the BIC mini. The only downside is the gas lock, it's a little hard to get into place on my 2 FireSleeves.
James ·
The XL variant is the only one in production now. The regular NanoStriker was discontinued.
Omega ·
Speaking of best lighters for these kinds of situations, i recently came upon this Exotac nanoSPARK lighter. very interesting and certainly useful as well, similar to the other Exotac but still different
Mr Spock ·
I've carried the same zippo I bought at a yard sale nearly 20 years ago. A 1958 model ingraved with a name. It's only been lost twice, once in a move to a new location and once in a car accident. I found it in the aftermath resting under the clutch pedal. Since I live really close to Bradford PA I take it once a year to be serviced.
Justin ·
Protip reagarding disposable lighters; Figure out a way to prevent the fuel button from being accidentally depressed in your pocket. Even the amount lost when retrieving it from a tight pocket once a day will add up quickly. I use a mouldable plastic (InstaMorph) to make a simple removable plug that fits under the button and part way around to sides.
Ron ·
Classic Zippo and my Fire Steel is all I ever need. Either one will not let you down.
That's a quite impressing review, we would to send you some of Newport Zero butane lighters to review it, and if you like it, you can add it to this list.
Check them out: NewportButane.com/lighters
Jed Edwards ·
Lighting a fire is one thing, building and maintaining one is another, and takes a lot more skill/effort. There's another article waiting to be written on the carrying of tinder and accellerants (Law Industries Lifesaver Tinder is a great option, SOLKOA FastFire is another).
Good list though. For my money a brightly coloured Clipper lighter and the Light My Fire steels are a perfectly adequate combination.
Mert Ardıçlı ·
I personally really like Clipper lighters, too. I have a metal flint, shiny silver one and I love EDCing it, never failed me, not even once.
I used to carry a basic ferro rod, just in case. Then I realized it was quite a lot of weight to carry around for hypothetical situations only. I have since ditched the ferro rod and gone with something different. I have cut a few matches and the striking strip off of a paper matchbook and wrapped in some thin cellophane and tape to waterproof. They are tucked away inside my wallet. This setup could also be stashed behind a cellphone case, or in a boot. It is super thin and light and I have a way to start a fire on my person at all times if I ever need it.

I always have a better way to start a fire whenever planning for a situation that calls for it, like heading into the field, grilling out, or smoking a cigar. Not to mention my vehicle has several types of fire starters in it. I just keep the matches on me as a minimalist emergency backup since typically I have no other reason to tote around a lighter everyday.
Pascal Pairon ·
I do carry my titanium zippo with gas insert, which can come handy anytime I like it(and doesn't evaporate at all)
and a nanostriker (ti version) on my keyring
James ·
I've tried to no avail to find a decent titanium Zippo case. Evidently Zippo themselves only made a few, and they're horrifically overpriced on the secondary market.
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