The Original Survival Lighter: The Zippo

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    Preppers everywhere are no stranger to the need to plan for fire when the SHTF. We talk about it all the time along with the various ways to make fire happen. No matter what fire starting method you choose, there is one thing that will come in extremely handy in a survival situation. That item is a good old fashioned lighter, but not just any lighter will do.

    Photo: GSanders

    It may be tempting to pick up a cheap multipack of disposable lighters to split up, throwing some in your BOB, car, and various other locations, but before you do this, you must remember that you get what you pay for and cheaper is not always better. Disposable lighters are not made to last any longer than the time it takes for the fluid inside of them to burn away. That means there are several failure points on those lighters. They break easily, become difficult if not impossible to strike, and are quick to let you down when you need them most. Because of this you need a lighter that means business, such as the traditional, reliable Zippo.

    Photo: Good Kit

    Most everyone has had a Zippo at one time or another, whether it was for practical purposes or cool points. In addition to being functional, Zippo lighters have always been diverse in design with something to accommodate every taste. Born in the United States back in 1933, these lighters are simple yet sturdy, and in the event that you do run into a problem, Zippo will fix it for free--for life. Should your Zippo have issues post TEOTWAWKI at a time when you can't send it back in for repair, it is possible to repurpose components of a cheaper lighter to jumpstart your Zippo back to life. If all else fails, you can gut your Zippo and use its innards as tinder. There is also the bonus benefit of somewhere to store extra flints inside of the lighter itself to give yourself one more survival advantage.

    Photo: GSanders

    More interestingly, however, is the plethora of fuels on which your Zippo lighter will run. While some of the items listed below, such as cologne, might not be a survival supply you thought necessary to stock, surely you will have some of these other solutions to power your Zippo when the fluid is exhausted. Some alternative Zippo fuels are listed below. Other solutions will work as well, but at your own risk. Lighter fluid of all kinds, not just Zippo brand.
    • Everclear, grain alcohol, or moonshine.
    • Kerosene
    • Cologne
    • Camp fuel
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Paint thinner
    • Diesel fuel
    The benefits of a Zippo also include an adjustable wick to give you varying flame heights depending on the flame height you need. It also frees up your hands after striking so the flame will burn while you use your hands for other things. Another advantage is that it can stand up on its own, which comes in quite handy if you are warming something over the flame. Then, even if your Zippo does fall over, it is unlikely to break due to the hard case encompassing its greatness. Depending on the style you pick, you could even have a handy signal mirror in your pocket at all times, just waiting to be used when you need it.

    Photo: Pinterest

    Zippo lighters may be pricier than other brands as well as disposable, but you have to consider what piece of mind and reliability are worth to you. Is a Zippo a part of your survival plan? Or is there another lighter you swear by instead? Let us know in the comments.

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