Camping lighters must perform regardless of the weather. Ideally, they should be waterproof, windproof, and lightweight. It’s even better if you can use them while wearing gloves, so you don’t have to expose your hands to the cold in winter.
While I always encourage using simple kit for your camping trips, I don’t think disposable lighters are up to the job. They can easily blow out in the wind, and they will stop working if they get wet.
If you’re camping in rubbish weather, a hot meal will be even more critical. You don’t want to get stuck eating cold beans from the tin!
This article will give you 10 suggestions of lighters that are great for camping. I hope one of them is perfect for you.
In a hurry? Here Are My Top 3 Picks
Quick view: My top 3 picks of the best camping lighters.
10 Best Lighters for Camping Review
Zippo Outdoors Lighter
I love Zippo lighters. I’ve been using a Zippo outdoor lighter for years, and it always gets a conversation started around the campfire. I received it as a gift, and I was thrilled! It weighs 19 grams and has a windproof design, which is fantastic in the great outdoors.
I did notice that a couple of user reviews said the quality wasn’t very good but most people’s experiences seem to be as positive as mine.
I love the starry night design, and the lighter is easy to refill when it has run out of lighter fluid.
The great thing about this lighter is that Zippo will fix it for you if it breaks. You just have to send it in for repairs following the instructions on their website and their team will get on it.
To be honest, this brass lighter isn’t the top choice for practicality because lighter and more reliable options are on the market.
But if you want a beautiful piece of kit that reminds you of many happy adventures, this is the best choice.
If you want something completely reliable that you can drop in puddles, you will want to choose one of the other lighters in this article!
Urgette 2 Pack Butane Lighters
It’s a good idea to go camping with two lighters in case one of them breaks or runs out of fuel. I’ve been stuck without a way to light my gas stove before, and nothing is more infuriating than a rumbling tummy when you have a rucksack full of food that you can’t cook!
This two-pack of butane lighters is very well priced. The six-inch handle will keep your hands safely away from the gas, and it also allows you to more easily light the center of a campfire.
You can easily adjust the power of the torch, and the button is safe and simple to use with or without gloves.
This is larger than your classic lighter but I can’t imagine a situation in which it would be too big for your pack. Torch lighters are the best windproof lighters, so they are great for outdoor use.
But this lighter isn’t waterproof, so don’t go too crazy with it!
For the price, you can’t expect something better than this. It’s made of aluminum alloy and copper, and it’s easy to refill.
Two ounces is significantly heavier than some of the other choices on this list, so it may not be the best choice for ultralight thru-hiking. All in all, though, this is a great-value piece of kit.
Note: To refill this with lighter fuel, you need to use a long nozzle, not the shorter kind.
IRODA Jet Tool Multipack
At 6.7 ounces, this is not the most sensible choice for ultralight backpacking. But if you’re car camping, the IRODA Jet Tool will be your best choice.
The powerful butane lighters are easy to refill, and the built-in safety lock will ensure that you don’t set fire to your kit in your bag!
You get two lighters with your order. One of them is more compact, while the other has an extra-long nozzle for safety. It’s up to you as to which one you use, or if you want to pack both in case of an emergency.
These lighters are robust and reliable, and they’ll last for far longer than one of the cheapo lighters you can pick up at a gas station. The design is simple and the user reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
Some people mentioned that the trigger isn’t the most comfortable. But so long as you aren’t using this lighter all day for welding, it really isn’t a problem. (Yes, these lighters get hot enough for that!) I think these heavy-duty lighters are a great choice for your gas stove, bonfire, or BBQ.
Explorer Plasma Lighter
Depending on your plans, the Explorer Plasma Lighter is another excellent option for camping. Unlike the other choices I’ve mentioned, this one comes in a waterproof case, which makes it great for wet weather camping or a kayaking trip during which your kit might get damp.
Plasma lighters aren’t safe for lighting gas stoves directly but you can use them to light a twig and then the stove. At 1.7 ounces, they are lightweight, windproof, and rechargeable.
Be careful not to touch the arc, as it will give you a small electric shock. (To be fair, you’re not supposed to touch a gas flame, either!) This lighter will charge up in just two hours, and it’s nice and compact.
Texas Bushcraft Fire Starter
A flint lighter is a terrific option for starting campfires. You don’t have to worry about it running out of fuel or battery power, and it is pretty indestructible! It doesn’t matter if you get it wet or drop it off a cliff; your Ferro rod will still be up for starting a fire.
I wouldn’t use this for starting a gas stove, but I would bring it in my pack in case of emergencies. You might want to bring a more conventional fire starter too but it’s great to have such a reliable lighter in case you get into a tight spot.
The lighter doesn’t take up much space and it looks fantastic! If you cut into the attached paracord, you’ll find three threads for emergency use.
One of them is a fire starter, one of them is a fishing line, and one is for sewing. While you’ll probably never use these, I think it’s pretty cool that they are braided into the design.
The so-called multitool attachment doesn’t do much more than open bottles but it’s still pretty helpful to have on hand after a hike!
Extremus Weatherproof Outdoor Lighter
The Extremus Weatherproof Lighter is another plasma lighter like the Explorer model that I already mentioned. It has some subtle differences, though, particularly when it comes to the arc.
This lighter is more convenient for starting campfires directly because the high-temperature arc is the highest point of the lighter. This will help you keep your hands out of the way.
I still would never use a plasma lighter for directly lighting a gas stove. Maybe I’m just stuck in my ways but I’d worry about burning my hands when I’d have to get the lighter so close to the gas. You can create a makeshift match from a twig in seconds, so there’s no need to tempt fate!
The Extremus Outdoor Lighter is rainproof and windproof. It fully charges in around two hours, and you should have enough battery for a week’s use.
The rubber seal and waterproof case will keep your lighter safe in most conditions, and an emergency whistle is threaded into the paracord.
You also have a few extra tools, like wrenches. But if you were to get lost in the woods, I doubt a screwdriver will be what saves you!
This robust piece of kit weighs around 150 grams. Users rate it highly but I’d personally detach the “survival tools” and leave them at home. Better to bring a survival kit that really has what you need!
Bic Multi-Purpose Lighter
Sometimes a bigger price tag gets put on kit just because the word “camping” appears on the label. But the simplest options can work just fine.
I didn’t include these Bic Multi-Purpose Lighters as the best value option, as they are more likely to blow out in the wind. But to be honest, they’ll do the job in most situations.
They are lightweight and affordable, and the long neck will keep your hands safely out of harm’s way.
The flame isn’t adjustable, and the button needs a good hard press because it can be a bit stiff. But you don’t need an adjustable flame to light your campfire or gas stove.
These lighters aren’t the fanciest but they’ll be fine if you’re on a budget. I’d chuck a couple of them in my bag in case something went wrong with the first one.
I probably wouldn’t choose these guys for camping in extreme weather. But for a summer camping trip, they would do what you need them to do, at a fraction of the price.
JiaDa Lighter Flashlight
The JiaDa lighter is a handy piece of kit. On one end is a plasma arc lighter, while on the other end is a flashlight. You can charge this up in just a couple of hours, and it’s safe to use in heavy rain.
I would use this light and compact lighter as an emergency backup in my survival kit when backpacking. I would already have my trusty head torch, and I prefer a butane lighter for my gas stove and campfire.
But it’s essential to have a second lighter and torch in case something goes wrong. This is a convenient way to get both in one piece of kit.
Some arc lighters make an intrusive high-pitched noise when they’re on but this lighter is much less noisy than most of them. The battery doesn’t last for a terribly long time, which is a drawback, but the lighter weighs only 60 grams.
RONX 2 Pack Jet Flame Lighter
I researched a lot of similar lighters before deciding to recommend the RONX Jet Flame model. These seem to be more powerful and reliable than their competitors, and they are also reasonably priced.
You can tap the ignition button lightly to open the lid, then press down harder to start the jet flame. The lighter is surprisingly powerful, and you can light your gas stove or campfire from several inches away.
The flame is adjustable, so you don’t have to waste fuel, and there are cooling air holes to stop it from overheating. The leakproof design will prevent your kit from getting smelly, and it’s a good choice for windy weather.
The fuel canister is visible, so you will know when you’re running low on butane and need a refill. Some people seemed to struggle to get the lighter fully lit.
To make this easier, my dad swears by putting his empty lighter in the freezer for a few minutes before filling it up. (I’m not sure if that’s an old wives’ tale but you might want to try it if you’re having problems.)
Zippo Typhoon Match Kit
The Zippo Typhoon Match Kit is pretty different from your typical camping lighter. But I think it’s a brilliant piece of kit!
The outer case is completely waterproof and it floats! The lighter comes with 15 Typhoon Matches, which will still work after being submerged in water.
The extra-thick matches are four inches long and burn for a good 30 seconds, so they are great for starting a campfire in damp conditions. They are also safe to use with your gas stove or barbeque.
Users recommend these highly. The lighters can easily be attached to the outside of your bag, so they are always at hand.
They would be great for backpacking as well as car camping. They will stay lit in the rain, and the strike pad is well protected inside the case, so they won’t let you down!
Even though these aren’t technically lighters, I had to recommend them because they are just so good!
Once you’ve run out, you can buy match refills without the plastic case. This is cheaper than buying the whole kit every time but they are still pricier than a normal lighter. (Totally worth it, in my opinion!)
Camping Lighters Buying Guide
I’ve mentioned quite a few camping lighters in this article. I’m going to quickly clarify the pros and cons of each kind. Hopefully, this will help you make the best decision for you!
Butane lighters are my top choice for camping. They are safer to use with gas stoves than plasma lighters because you don’t have to stick your hand so close to what you are trying to light!
The downside of butane lighters is that they are more likely to blow out in the wind, which can be annoying if you’re trying to sort out your dinner on a mountainside.
You can get torch lighters that are more windproof than classic butane lighters. (Jet lighters are another variation of windproof torch lighters—both of which run on butane!)
Some butane lighters are tricky to refill, so look for what the reviews are saying. A longer nozzle is typically safer but this means your lighter will take up more space in your bag.
Butane lighters will arrive empty. This isn’t because the companies are being cheap; it’s the law! For safety reasons, prefilled lighters can’t be shipped, so you’ll have to get lighter gas separately and fill your lighters when they arrive.
Disposable lighters are the regular lighters you can get at most gas stations and stores. They are powered by butane too but they’re not the best for camping. They can blow out easily, and they don’t do well if they get damp.
I often pick up lighters that I find scattered on the floor, so they are fine for a freebie! But I probably wouldn’t waste my money on them because they won’t last long.
Plasma lighters use electricity to make a high-temperature arc. (They are also known as electric lighters.) They are typically rechargeable using a USB cable, which is much less messy and time-consuming than refilling a butane lighter.
Plasma lighters are windproof, so they can be convenient in bad weather. The downside of plasma lighters is that they aren’t the safest for lighting a gas stove.
They can also be a little inconvenient, as you must get your hand close to what you’re lighting.
It can be easier and safer to light a piece of kindling or a thin twig using your plasma lighter, then use the makeshift match to light your fire or stove. Plasma lighters are usually quick to charge, and they can come in waterproof covers.
Note: Don’t touch the arc or you’ll get an electric shock!
Flint Steel Lighters
Flint steel lighters are reliable and durable. They are great in emergencies because they never run out of fuel. But they aren’t suitable for lighting a gas stove, so they might not be the best choice for everyday camping duties.
(Don’t worry, as they are much easier to use than an actual piece of flint!)
Flint lighters would be good at high altitudes, as would electric lighters and matches. Butane lighters don’t always do well in the mountains.
Outdoor matches like the Zippo Typhoons that I mentioned are brilliant. I think they are the most reliable because you don’t have to worry about them breaking or having a technical issue.
Plus, they are easier to use than flint steel lighters. They are waterproof and lightweight but they are also typically more expensive than other choices.
Avoid reusable matches! Don’t get me wrong; they look really cool. You have a chamber filled with fuel and a metal “match” that you dip in the fluid and strike against the outside. But they aren’t very reliable.
I’ve found that they light only once every four or five times you strike them. Plus, it’s easy to spill fuel in your bag or even on your hands. That makes them too dangerous, in my opinion.
They’re a cool conversation starter but that’s pretty much all they are good for!
A Note on Safety
Ideally, your lighter will have a safety feature like a lock to prevent it from turning on inside your pack.
You don’t want to set your tent on fire before you even make it to your campsite!
I think the best camping lighters are those powered by butane but plasma lighters can also be handy in a tight spot. My personal favorites are the beautiful outdoor Zippo lighters but the Urgette long lighters will give you the best bang for your buck.
If you’re car camping, the best overall choice would be the IRODA Jet lighters. There are some pretty cool alternatives like flint lighters and outdoor matches, too!
I hope you found this article helpful, and I wish you many happy camping adventures!
More to Read:
Rachel is a freelance adventure writer and founder of Highly Sensitive Nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found wild camping in the mountains and swimming in the lakes of Europe.