When you’re out exploring nature, having a reliable camping lighter is essential. Whether you’re igniting a campfire to warm up on a chilly night or starting up a portable stove for a hot meal, a dependable lighter can make all the difference.Not all of the best camping lighters are created equal, though, expressing some differences in power, fuel type, and overall functionality. We’ll cover some of our favorites below, hitting on the features that we like to have the most, depending on the situation we find ourselves in.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best camping lighters:
- MK Outdoor Lighters – Best Overall
- Snow Peak Folding Torch – Most Powerful Lighter
- Turbo Blue Magnum Jet Flame Lighter – Best Regular Torch
- Urgrette Butane Torch Lighter – Best Pencil Torch
- ArcTorch Electric Lighter – Best Bang for Your Buck
- Power Practical Lighter – Best Electric Lighter
- Zippo Colored Lighters – Editor’s Choice
Best Camping Lighters – Reviewed
MK Outdoor lighters are what I keep in my pocket whenever I leave the house, for camping or otherwise. Compact and lightweight, they slide inside your pocket with ease, and they’re so small that you’ll probably forget that they’re there.These particular lighters run off butane, and they have an electric ignition system that lights up the gas when you push on the top panel. Though small, the fire comes out like a torch instead of a normal flame, which makes it impervious to wind. The flame itself is also a lot more powerful than your typical Bic lighter, so if you struggle to get your campfire going, this will help a lot.Durability is a little questionable, but I’ve used mine several dozen times without any issues so far. As long as you don’t try to flip it upside down after its been lit, you shouldn’t have any problems with things breaking or melting. I made that mistake once, and almost couldn’t get the lighter to work again, after fusing some of the components together.The beauty of all MK Outdoor lighters is that they’re refillable, letting you continue to reuse the unit as long as all the components are functional. MK Outdoor does sell butane refills, which you can buy for relatively cheap.Pros:– Portable- Refillable- Windproof flame- Easy to use- VersatileCons:– A little lacking in durability
Alright, maybe I’m cheating a little by including the Snow Peak Folding Torch in this review. It’s not what you’d initially think of when you’re looking for the best camping lighter, but at the same time, it gets the job done better than most.As far as the torch goes, you’ll still need to purchase fuel separately – in this case, you’ll want a canister of isobutane GigaPower fuel. The torch simply screws onto the top of the fuel canister, and from there, the whole unit is what you’ll carry around when you want to start a fire.I should warn you, the output on this thing is absolutely insane: 14,000 BTU insane. It’s not too much of a stretch to call it a mini flame thrower, which is completely over the top for any camping related task. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? Forget about cautiously lighting your tinder, babying the flame in the hopes that it won’t go out before you have a chance to stoke it into something larger. Now you can jump straight to the big logs and get the blaze roaring in no time.On the downside, it can be a little finicky, and may extinguish itself when you don’t want it to. From experience, I’d say it’s because of its tendency to flood, so you’ll need to keep it fairly upright… even though you’re supposed to be able to use it upside down. Pros:– Very powerful- Windproof- Works from a variety of angles- Skip the kindling- Easy to useCons:– Will sometimes go out unexpectedly
There’s nothing like a solid torch to enhance your camping experience. With the ability to produce a much stronger flame than a regular lighter, torches are often powerful enough to dry and ignite wet wood. Naturally, a flame this powerful is going to be water and wind resistant as well.The Turbo Blue Magnum Jet Flame lighter claims to be the hottest torch on the market, coming in at a staggering 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know if it’s actually the hottest torch out there, but at that temperature, does it really matter? Even soaking wet wood will ignite after you direct this flame at it long enough.Fairly affordable as far as torches go, I’m impressed with the overall quality of the Magnum. The construction is durable, it’s easy to use, and works every time you’re ready to light it up. Whether you want to create a roaring blaze at the campsite or you want to caramelize your Creme Brulle back home, this torch is one of the more versatile items that you can add to your collection.Pros:– Powerful flame- Wind and water resistant- Affordable- Easy to use- VersatileCons:– May be overkill for some
Another torch style lighter, the Urgrette torch is a little different than the one we just mentioned by Turbo Blue. As a “pencil lighter,” this one by Urgrette is much more compact than a traditional torch, allowing you to keep it in your pocket or a small compartment of your backpack. However, despite the smaller size, it isn’t lacking when it comes to heat production.Urgrette claims that their torch can reach temperatures up to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is one of the highest numbers in this review. Regardless of how accurate that description is, there’s no denying that this tiny torch packs a punch. And because of the long, narrow design, you can easily slide it into hard-to-reach places to light up tricky tinder and wily wicks.In terms of price, you’re not really going to find anything more affordable than these. Since they come in a pack of 10, each torch only costs a handful of bucks, and they all last a good amount of time before you need to replace or refill them. The flame size is also adjustable, allowing you to easily alter how powerful your flame is without needing any tools to get the job done.Pros:– Compact- Powerful- Refillable- Affordable- Adjustable flameCons:– A little lacking in durability
As I kid, I used to like cutting grapes in half and putting them in the microwave. Seeing the plasma arc between the two halves was mesmerizing, so you can imagine how happy I was when I got my first plasma lighter. And for a similar reason, I think you’ll really enjoy using the ArcTorch lighter.Not only is it cool to see the dancing electricity and hear the high pitch whine, you’ll also be amazed by the compact, rechargeable design. To ignite it, all you have to do is press the button on the front of the lighter. It’s literally that easy, and it works every time, giving you a consistent fire starter that’s simple and reliable. And since it’s electric, all you have to do is plug it in via USB to recharge it before heading out on your trip, and it should last you 300 starts before it runs out of juice. Say goodbye to disposable lighters and refill bottles of butane; in a matter of minutes, you’ll have enough charge in the ArcTorch to ignite almost anything.The downside is that the electric arc is rather small and hovers pretty close to the lighter. That being the case, it can be hard to get the ArcTorch into the proper position when you want to light something in a tight space. However, the flame is wind and waterproof, and it can be used in any angle, so the pros certainly outweigh the cons more often than not.Pros:– Recharges via USB- Wind and waterproof- Easy to use- Good battery life- No need for refillsCons:– Can be tricky getting it in the right position to light something
Capitalizing on the convenience and rechargeability of electric arcs, while building in the reach that you’d find on a traditional lighter, there’s little to dislike about the Power Practical lighter. Like all plasma lighters, this one is resistant to both wind and rain, allowing you to create a fire in any condition – as long as your fuel is dry. Unlike most plasma lighters, the Power Practical lighter comes with an extended wand that allows you to reach into tight nooks and crannies to light wicks, tinder, and other flammable objects.From empty, this camping lighter can be fully charged in about an hour. Just use the USB plugin like you would for your phone, tablet, or other device and you’ll be good to go. This simplicity helps keep the lighter portable and effective on long trips away from home, as long as you have a generator or portable power bank to refill the battery from time to time – or a wall outlet, if you happen to have access to one.Most plasma lighters turn on with the click of a button, and the Power Practical lighter is no different, apart from one minor difference: you have to click the button three times to turn it on. It’s a safety feature that was built in to make sure you don’t ignite it unintentionally, which I find to be smart and useful. I know it can be a little frustrating to click the button so many times just to light a candle, but I can understand and appreciate why it was made like that.Pros:– Rechargeable via USB- Wind and water resistant- Extended wand- Charges quickly- Built in safety featuresCons:– Needing to press the button three times to ignite it is somewhat frustrating
It just isn’t possible to have an article on the best camping lighters without mentioning a unit from Zippo. If you’re something of a lighter geek, you might even own a Zippo already, since they’re the brand to buy when you don’t want a Bic.Incredibly durable, a Zippo will practically last you a lifetime, depending on how well you take care of it. The metal surface is fairly scratch resistant, though you will start to notice very faint angel hair scratches after enough use. The construction feels pretty solid, but at the same time, it’s light and small enough to fit in your pocket with ease, allowing you to take it anywhere you go.If you’re not familiar with Zippo, you should be aware that these lighters don’t come with fuel inside of them. You’ll have to purchase Zippo’s lighter fluid separately, and while you’re doing that, I’d recommend purchasing a couple of flints as well. Certain components will need to be replaced on occasion, but it’s well worth the hassle of the quality of lighter that you’re getting. As one of the most versatile lighters on the market, a Zippo is a great option for anyone looking for a camping or EDC lighter.Pros:– Well designed- Solid construction- Easy to use- Refillable- VersatileCons:– Doesn’t come with fuel
Best Camping Lighter – Ignite Your Adventure
The best camping lighter lets you bring a blazing campfire to life, and can be used for a variety of tasks both in the wild and at home. If you want to find out what sort of lighters exist on the market, and what you should consider choosing, here are a few points to keep in mind:
When it comes to choosing the best camping lighter, one crucial factor to consider is the fuel type. There are a number of different fuel types, each with their own pros and cons depending on your environment and the features you value. Here’s a brief overview of the more common fuel sources:
Let’s start with one of the most popular choices for camping lighters – butane. Butane lighters are known for their convenience and ease of use, and they typically come in compact sizes, which makes them easy to carry in your pocket or backpack. Butane fuel is also readily available and offers a clean burn, producing a consistent flame that’s (usually) resistant to wind and water. This feature alone makes butane lighters a top contender for outdoor enthusiasts, especially since you can pick this fuel up at almost any outdoor retailer. Most of the lighters in our review run off butane, like the MK Outdoor lighter and the Urgrette torch lighter.
Overall, propane offers a higher energy density compared to butane, making it an excellent choice for igniting larger campfires or starting a grill. You’ll notice that propane lighters tend to have larger fuel tanks, which means you can run the flame for longer before needing to refill the fuel tank. However, keep in mind that propane is often bulkier and heavier than butane, so consider your portability needs before deciding on this one.
Other Liquid Fuel
Both propane and butane are technically liquid fuels, but they aren’t the only ones you have to choose from. While somewhat less common, there are lighters that utilize liquid fuels such as naphtha or white gas. Generally speaking, this variety is refillable, allowing you to carry extra fuel for extended camping trips. However, they require proper maintenance and may take some practice to master their operation.
Electric Arc/Plasma Lighters
A more recent development in the realm of camping lighters, electric arc lighters have been gaining popularity among outdoor enthusiasts. These innovative lighters use an electric arc/plasma to create a “flame”, eliminating the need for traditional fuel. They are rechargeable via USB and are windproof, making them suitable for various weather conditions. Electric arc lighters are eco-friendly and produce no harmful emissions, and if you care about sustainability, you’ll love how reusable they are. However, they may not be as effective in lighting larger fires or in windy environments due to the small size of the flame.
Not all camping lighters are created equal, and depending on the style and fuel type, you’ll either love or hate the type of flame that your lighter produces. Some, like the electric arc and plasma lighters, don’t even make use of a traditional “flame,” while others take fire to a whole new level. Here are some of the differences to look out for when deciding on the best camping lighter:Starting with butane, these lighters are popular among campers due to their ease of use and portability, as we’ve mentioned. By utilizing butane gas as fuel, they produce a steady flame that can withstand mild winds, though your traditional butane lighter isn’t going to hold up well in stronger winds or rain. They often feature a simple ignition system, such as a push-button or a thumbwheel, making them convenient to operate. Generally speaking, these lighters are great for covering the basics when you need to ignite campfires, stoves, and lanterns.Next, you have torch lighters, which also tend to run off butane. However, despite sharing the same fuel source, torch lighters produce a concentrated, high-temperature flame that is resistant to wind and rain. This makes them ideal for igniting stubborn firewood, starting a charcoal grill, or even soldering tasks. If you’re feeling really creative, you can even use them to brown some marshmallows and other desserts as well.Finally, there are electric/plasma lighters which (as the name implies) run off electricity. These lighters use an electric current to create a high-voltage arc that can ignite various flammable materials. One of the key advantages of electric arc lighters is that they are windproof since the flame is not produced by a traditional fuel source.
Wind and Water Resistance
Of course, there are factors that try to prevent you from having a cozy, warm fire. Strong winds and any amount of rain can really dampen your camping experience, making it exceedingly difficult to create a campfire to use and enjoy. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy a camping lighter that has some measure of resistance to these elements, allowing you to ignite your fuel with minimal difficulty.For example, windproof lighters are specifically designed to withstand strong gusts of wind, ensuring that your flame stays lit even in challenging conditions. They achieve this through innovative engineering, which includes protective mechanisms like a flame guard, double or triple flames, and high-quality seals. Likewise, if your camping trips often involve water activities like kayaking, fishing, or hiking near rivers, a waterproof lighter is an essential companion. They usually feature a durable construction, such as a sealed O-ring or a waterproof case, keeping the flame safe and dry. Whether you accidentally drop it in a puddle or face unexpected rain showers, a waterproof lighter will continue to serve you reliably.
If you’ve ever owned one of those standard Bic lighters, you probably know what it’s like to run out of fuel, suddenly finding yourself in a position where you need to buy a whole new lighter. It’s never a fun place to find yourself, especially if you’re gearing up to light a campfire only to have your hopes dashed.Many of the camping lighters mentioned in this review are refillable, as long as you have the proper fuel and a way to pour it into the lighter. Of course, if you’ve purchased an electric or plasma lighter, “refilling” it is as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet or generator. These are the types of lighters I would recommend getting – not only are they cheaper and more convenient than buying a whole new lighter every time your current one runs out of fuel, but they also help with sustainability, which we’ll talk about next.
In recent years, more and more brands have been shifting their focus toward sustainability. And in the world of disposable lighters, you can understand how this would be a pretty hot topic…pun intended.Companies like MK Outdoor are starting to specialize in refillable lighters, in the hopes that it will keep more units out of landfills. So, next time you decide to invest in one of the best camping lighters, consider going for one that you can reuse for years to come. It really is the best option for everyone involved.
At the end of the day, camping lighters can be pretty fickle. While most are fairly reliable, my experiences have proven that they’ll often fail you when you need them the most.So, to get the most out of your lighter, there are a few tips that I’ve found helpful over the years. First, it’s important to keep your lighter clean and dry. I know it probably sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised by how many people store their lighter in a location prone to getting wet and dirty. I’d recommend storing it in a waterproof case or a Ziploc bag when you’re not using it.My next tip is to top off the fuel before every trip. You never really know how many times you’re going to need to use your lighter, and it’s inconvenient to carry extra canisters of fuel everywhere you go. By filling your lighter all the way up (or fully recharging it, if it’s a plasma lighter), you’ll get more life out of it on the trail.Finally, use your lighter sparingly. Fuel isn’t a limitless resource, and it’s amazing how quickly you can run a lighter dry if you aren’t careful.
At Untamed Space, we’re passionate about helping you have the best camping experience possible. Our team of experts have experience camping and backpacking all over the world, allowing them to provide insightful and relevant content to guide you in your outdoor pursuits.All of our reviews are based on a combination of firsthand experience, extensive research, and an analysis of customer feedback. We are an independent website and do not receive payments or incentives from manufacturers to promote their products, and we continuously update our content to provide new information based on product availability. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever gear you’re searching for, you can be sure to find unbiased and up-to-date reviews for all of your needs.
When searching for the best camping lighter, it’s important to prioritize durability, windproof design, and ease of use. You want a lighter that can withstand the rigors of outdoor use, while remaining comfortable and easy to use at the campsite and at home.One standout option in the market is the MK Outdoor lighter. With its robust flame, windproof design, and user-friendly features, the MK Outdoor lighter offers reliable performance for camping enthusiasts. While there are other contenders available, I’d say the MK Outdoor lighter deserves consideration for its versatility, affordability, and reliability.
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