The Best Windproof Lighters

Windproof Lighter
Top Fuel Pick: Zippo Chrome Lighter
Top Electronic Pick: Tesla Coil Lighters USB Rechargeable Windproof Arc Lighter
Best Value: GStar TorchZilla Butane Torch Lighter
Best Stormproof Lighter: UCO Stormproof Torch
Best Lightweight Option: Zippo Slim Matte Lighter

Whether you’re lighting a fire to roast marshmallows, firing up a camp stove, or you’ve found yourself in a true emergency situation, a windproof lighter is a helpful pieces of gear to have when you go camping.

While many pieces of gear can be considered a perk or a luxury, a reliable lighter is arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment you will carry. Making sure it is windproof is just the icing on your survival cake.

We’ve done the research to help you narrow down the choices when selecting a windproof lighter for your next outdoor adventure. We’ve chosen our favorites, and have named two Top Picks — one that uses fuel and one that uses electricity.

As always, if you don’t see the perfect lighter for your specific needs, check out our advice section at the end, where you’ll find information about the most important criteria to consider when deciding which windproof lighter to buy.

Note: Most fuel lighters ship empty for safety reasons. Make sure you have the necessary fuel to fill your lighter before use. Also, if you’re looking for a good backpacking lighter, check out our reviews of the top options.

Top Fuel Pick: Zippo Chrome Lighter

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Our favorite fuel-operated windproof lighter is the classic Zippo. The Zippo Manufacturing Company began making lighters in 1932, and they’ve been perfecting their windproof design ever since.

One nice feature of the Zippo is that it doesn’t require you to depress any buttons to keep it lit, and it won’t light spontaneously when the lid is closed.

This refillable lighter runs on Zippo Lighter Fluid and comes with the Zippo Lifetime Guarantee:

“It works or we fix it free.” Tough to beat that.

One downside to a Zippo is that the fluid will evaporate over time, even more rapidly in drier climates. So, make sure to refill it before setting out, and bring extra fuel for longer trips. The Zippo is water-resistant, but not waterproof.

Zippo lighters are available in a wide variety of finishes and colors, and the classic chrome version measures 1.50 x 0.5 x 2.25 inches, and weighs 2.0 ounces. If you’re not a fan of chrome, we recommend the Zippo Matte Lighter instead. It is the same size but has a matte finish.

Butane and Zippo lighter fluid

Don’t forget to pick up some lighter fluid (sold separately) to fill your Zippo with. Or some butane fuel if that’s what your windproof lighter calls for.

Top Electric Pick: Tesla Coil Lighters USB Rechargeable Windproof Arc Lighter

The Tesla Coil Lighter is a clever choice for a windproof lighter and it is our favorite of the electric lighters available. It is a rechargeable electric lighter, meaning it doesn’t require messy or smelly fuel to operate.

It comes with a USB charging cable, and once fully charged it will last approximately one week, or 100-300 lights. It is not the best choice for long-term backcountry trips, unless you carry a portable charger or have access to an outlet along the way.

The electric operation is naturally windproof, and is not affected by cold temperatures and higher altitudes the way a fuel lighter will be. Reviewers have provided mixed reports about using this in the rain, but being electric it obviously can’t handle being fully saturated or submerged.

When lit, it doesn’t have an open flame, but only a small arc of electricity, so you must have access to quality tinder to use this lighter to start a fire. When closed, the lid prevents it from activating, even when the button is depressed, which is a great safety feature that is not available on all electric lighters.

The Tesla Coil measures 3.0 x 1.75 x 0.5 inches, and weighs 3.0 ounces.

Given its features, we also think this is the best windproof lighter for high altitude and low temperature. It is also the most environmentally friendly lighter, as it is rechargeable and doesn’t require fuel, both of which cut down on packaging and waste.

Best Value: GStar TorchZilla Butane Torch Lighter

For those of you looking for an inexpensive, yet reliable, windproof lighter, we recommend the GStar Torchzilla Butane Torch Lighter. It’s a reliable torch lighter that retails for one-half to one-third the price of the other lighters on this list.

This lighter uses butane fuel and is reusable and refillable. One drawback, though, is that butane is not the best for use at higher altitudes due to lower oxygen levels, and it must be warmed up to operate in lower temperatures. Accordingly, it’s not ideal for camping trips in these environments.

This lighter comes with a locking feature that allows you to flip a switch and maintain a continual flame without having to maintain pressure on a button. It also has a flame adjuster, too. Be sure to adjust the flame before use, not during.

Measuring 4.5 x 0.3 x 0.3 inches, and weighing 4.0 ounces, this lighter is larger and heavier than the other lighters we have listed, so it is best for people who aren’t worried about pack weight or size.

Best Stormproof Lighter: UCO Stormproof Torch

UCO Stormproof TorchIn the world of matches and lighters, “stormproof” means something is both windproof and waterproof.

So, if you need your windproof lighter to also be truly waterproof, not just water-resistant, then you need a stormproof lighter. And the UCO Stormproof Torch is the best one available.

This lighter is refillable and runs on butane fuel. It has a triple jet adjustable flame. It can be lit approximately 700 times before needing to be refilled, which is more than the other lighters we reviewed. According to UCO, the Stormproof Torch can be ignited up to 30,000 times before needing to be replaced.

As with other fuel lighters, it’s not the best choice for high altitude or colder temperatures.

The UCO Stormproof is available in two styles: one includes a three-foot stash of utility tape, and the other has an included bottle opener.

This lighter measures 1.87 x 1.25 x 4.12 inches, and weighs 3.4 ounces.

To be honest, when we tested this lighter alongside four other backpacking lighters it wasn’t as reliable as we’d hoped.

Because of that, our favorite stormproof fire starting gear is a good box of stormproof matches. They’re windproof and waterproof — even more waterproof than standard waterproof matches.

Best Lightweight Option: Zippo Slim Matte Lighter

Zippo Matte LighterIf you are looking to save every fraction of an ounce and square inch of space possible, then the Zippo Slim is your best choice. There are smaller and lighter windproof lighters on the market. However, none possess the reliability of the Zippo.

This slim profile lighter measures 0.4 x 1.4 x 2.2 inches and weighs only 1.5 ounces while still having all the traits of a standard Zippo. Plus, you get the lifetime guarantee we mentioned earlier.

Keep in mind the slimmer profile means less fuel capacity, so this lighter will require more frequent refilling. We recommend you take it on short camping trips where you won’t need to refuel. Carrying extra fuel would negate the benefit of it being so lightweight.

How to Choose the Best Windproof Lighter for Your Needs

Windproof lighters come with a variety of features designed for different uses. We’ve identified the most important criteria for you to consider when choosing a windproof lighter to meet your needs.

Fuel Type

The biggest factor to consider is fuel vs. electric operation. Fuel-powered lighters need to be refilled; electric lighters need to be recharged. Electric lighters are naturally windproof, but require better tinder.

If you want to avoid the hassle of fuel and all that comes with it, or you need a reliable lighter at high altitude or in colder temperatures, then an electric lighter is your best bet. If you don’t want to have to charge your lighter or you prefer an actual flame, then a fuel lighter is the better choice.

Waterproof?

Next you’ll want to consider whether or not you need your windproof lighter to also be waterproof.

Does your recreational activity of choice takes you out on open water or into a particularly wet or rainy environment? If so, it could be worth it to get a lighter that is both windproof and waterproof. Recall that these types of lighters are referred to as “stormproof lighters.”

If you don’t need a stormproof lighter, you could get one that is windproof and water-resistant or one that is simply windproof. Or a simple fire starter can also do the trick.

Fuel/Charge Capacity

How much fuel a lighter carries, or how long an electronic lighter holds a charge, is a final important feature to take into account. Consider how much you plan to use the lighter between refuels or recharges, if you plan to carry additional fuel, and whether you will have access to supply stations or electricity along the way.

Clearly, if you don’t have a way to refuel or recharge your lighter, you’ll need to buy one with enough fuel or charge capacity to last your entire trip into the backcountry.


This article was written by an infrequent contributor to the site