The subject of Bug Out Kits, Survival, and general Preparedness keeps coming back and I’ve noticed that all the damn time people are including “Fire Starting Kits”.
These kits are generally a Magnesium chunk, and Flint and Steel affair.  So you can make little sparks to catch some magnesium shaving and tender to start a flame. Yeah, that’s all fine and well.  But let me put it this way.  If I’m in a Survival Situation, and I need a Flame, I want a damn Flame not some Sparks.


I used to always – Always – have a Zippo lighter with me.  I wasn’t a smoker or anything, but the Zippo was a part of my EDC kit.  It was nothing fancy, just a classic “Windproof” in plain stainless with “INFANTRY” scratched into it.   Had it for years and years.  It was one of the two things that I got at Ft. Benning… the other was a Timex watch that I still have.    I would still have that Zippo if it wasn’t for TSA.  Zippo, knife, a flashlight, wallet and watch.  Those were always on me.

So if you already have those items on you all the time… all you need to add to your kit is a little can of fluid to refill the Zippo.  Maybe some replacement flint if your are all that worried… But that’s your kit.  Forget scratching for sparks… Make some FIRE.

The Zippo Handwarmer is very nice too.


20 thoughts on “Zippo”

  1. Yeah, I’ve seen people often include some sort of difficult fire starting method (like flint & steel, or some sort of gadget) while leaving out a basic lighter and/or matches. I also like to keep a lighter on me (and don’t smoke). My BOBs have lighter, waterproof matches, flint & steel, and some home made fire starters (lint balls mixed with candle wax). Some people get way to focused on primitive when they look at this stuff.

  2. I keep knives, fire steels, flash lights and containers stashed in cars and drawers and all over the place. But I have lighters too and I start my grill with a propane torch.

    Fire steels the AR-7 of the fire starting world. There are many better options, unless that is all you have.

  3. The zippo hand warmer is garbage. Only works a few times before the wool is frazzled. Zippo don’t sell the wool. Don’t waste your money. Even a heated rock works better than the zippo hand warmer.

    1. Nice to see you here, for the moment, in my experience comments that to not agree with the ogre are soon deleted no matter how true they may be. I am sure that I will be banned again, as so will you soon if you keep it up.

  4. Solkoa fastfire tablets. Come in a packet that looks like a candy. Makes starting and doing things a whole lot easier. Picked some up last year at SHOT, bought a few packs since. Looks like they will have a booth near ours again. Check them out and try not to let your jaw drop when he puts out a 1300 degree fire with his bare hands and picks up a completely room temperature tablet.


  5. I use a Bic most of the time as my firestarting device, but in subzero temps it’s very hard to beat a Zippo or other liquid fuel lighter. Bics and other butane lighters don’t work worth a damn when it’s really cold out. I just bought two new Zippos to add to my survival kits, actually. If the Zippo is for survival purposes you should use a rubber band or section of inner tube or whatever to seal the crack between the lid and the body, to slow down the fluid evaporation.

    I could start a fire with just a lighter and whatever I could gather, but I have real firestarters for that. I make my own: rolled up corrugated cardboard with some matches, dipped in paraffin wax. They cost a few cents each, they’re waterproof, and they burn for a long time (depends on the size, my little ones last 5 minutes at least). Worst case I can light them without a lighter, but I include a waxed twine wick for easy starting.

    We’ll see about the Zippo handwarmers, as I just bought two of them. Zippo does sell the replacement burner for them, but it’s an 8 dollar part which is ridiculously expensive for what it is. I’m sure it can be found cheaper elsewhere on the web. They say the burner should last about 70 uses, and if it does, that’s a significant savings over using chemical warmers.

  6. Yeah, but what if the heat from it attracts the attention of a Spectre Gunship? As an anti-gun friend of mine tells me, the government has tanks, and missiles, and spectre gunships. What would we meager citizens do against such hardware with our puny AR’s? Thus, he argues, we should not have AR’s.

    Just kidding…..this was the single best piece of survival info I’ve gotten in years. Thanks.

  7. The only disagreement between us is I would recommend an Imco lighter over a Zippo. The Zippo keychain fuel canister is pretty good.

  8. Yup. Zippo rocks and the spare fuel canister is a must. That said, a dozen lifeboat matches in a matchsafe is a pretty good alternative. I just enjoy farting around with all the gadgets, gizmos and paleolithic tech we have available. The updated version of the magnesium firestarter is called Misch metal – which when scraped with a steel produces red hot little molten balls that burn longer than just a spark. Living in the desert southwest I can usually start a fire in about 30 seconds with a credit card sized plastic pocket magnifier ( Fresnel lens ).

  9. I always have a lighter on me and in my emergency kit, but I still like keeping some waterproof matches in a match safe and a magnesium fire starter as backups.

  10. I own a few Zippos, and regularly carry the one my grandfather got back around WWII. It fit’s perfect in that little coin pocket of a pair of jeans. The older ones seem to be much better in regard to fuel leakage and wick/batting life. That said, my car/truck bag and camping/G.O.O.D. bags all have fire steels, waterproof matches, Bic lighters and blast matches in them. I can’t rely 100% on the Zippo always working. I’ve had them freeze up on winter camping trips and flint springs lose enough tension that I couldn’t get a spark. The warranty is great, they replaced the hinge on my 1940’s model for free and repacked it, and they are classic but they are not infallible. Always remember, 2 is 1 and 1 is none.

  11. I like my Zippo but keep its limitations in mind. While in SE asia on a US gov tour I saw asian soldiers dipping their Zippos into vehicle gas tanks to fill them. Point? Keeping them ready with regular fuel is a loosing prop. There are screw together lighters that use the same fuel and work the same that look like a giant pill that screw together with an o ring to seal. The ads say they can sit for years and still work when opened. I purchased two of different sizes at the last gun show and after 6 months of pocket carry still lite first time I spin the flint wheel.

  12. Read Cody Lundin’s book(one of them) on survival, and one of his rules is to always have THREE independent methods of starting a fire if at all possible. Say, one of the magnesium blocks, and a lighter, and some waterproofed matches.

  13. In my go bag – 3oz of lighter fluid – soak something flamable in it and it becomes easymode fire.

  14. Its always good to be prepare! Has anybody seen those Zippo Keyrings/Chains which is in the shape of a Zippo flint holder and can hold up to six real flints. I mean you always have your keys on you so with these you will also have spear flints as-well.

  15. Its always good to be prepared! Has anybody seen those Zippo Keyrings/Chains which is in the shape of a Zippo flint holder and can hold up to six real flints. I mean you always have your keys on you so with these you will also have spear flints as-well.

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