You can try and rub two sticks to make a fire during camping, and it works, but for practical reasons, you want to keep a good lighter nearby during camping. In the outdoors, you need a fire starter that is reliable, especially when it’s cold and windy. In almost all camping guides the Zippos comes highly recommended. This begs the question…
Are Zippos good for camping? Zippo lighters work great for camping, as they are designed to last in the outdoors and comes with a metallic casing that can handle the physical impact. Zippo lighters have a replaceable and long-lasting wick, that will work in all weather conditions because of the wind-resistant flame.
In this article, I have compiled everything that makes Zippos good for camping. I have also highlighted the kind of service you should expect from your Zippo as well as how to ensure that it works at its best. How much do you know about Zippos? I have included interesting Zippo facts and some other Zippo products you might want to check out.
What Makes Zippos Good for Camping?
When it comes to camping, you want a lighter that not only produces a reliable flame, but one that’s easy to use, and lasts long. So, are Zippos good for camping? Yes, and here’s why:
1. Zippo Lighters are Refillable
Unlike the disposable types, Zippos come with a mechanism for refilling fuel. Why is this important?
With a refillable lighter, you only have to buy a can of lighter fuel and reuse the same lighter over and over. That said, while a disposable lighter is cheap to buy, a Zippo will outlast it over 10 times on a single can of fuel!
2. Zippo Lighters are Durable
Being in the outdoors means bumping on rocks, trees, and hard ground. What about stepping on your lighter if you end up dropping it? If it is made of low-quality material, chances are that it will break.
Zippos are made of a metallic casing that can withstand rough handling during camping. Also, it can burn when full until empty without exploding or melting – an advantage not seen with plastic-cased lighters.
3. Zippos Have an Adjustable and Replaceable Wick
What if the flame becomes weak, or you have a problem igniting? With a Zippo, you can easily adjust, trim, and replace the wick.
As it happens, Zippos not only have a replaceable wick but its also surprisingly long-lasting. There are reports of a single wick lasting for over 6 years. How many camping trips are those? Also, the flint is replaceable, adding to the durability of the lighter.
4. Zippos are Windproof
If a lighter can’t burn in windy conditions then it might not do you any good outdoors. Zippos pride in a wind-resistant dual-flame technology that produces a flame that withstands strong and stiff wind.
5. Zippo Lighters comes with a Lifetime Guarantee
Yes, these lighters are made to outlive you.
All Zippo Windproof Lighters come with a lifetime guarantee. As such, if yours become defective, no matter how long ago you bought it, the company will fix or replace it for free.
All you have to do is send it to the nearest Zippo repair clinic. What’s more, the company operates in over 160 countries around the globe.
How Long Does a Full Zippo Last?
Like everything else that uses fuel, how long a Zippo lasts depends on how frequently and for how long you use it. Another thing that affects how long a Zippo lasts is how well you take care of it.
With frequent use, a full Zippo should give you at least a week. Other users have reported up to 2 weeks of service. On the other hand, it can dry out in 3-4 days if it’s leaking; more about this on the do’s and don’ts below.
Remember, with proper use, the lighter will last forever!
Taking Care of Zippos
- The wick on your lighter turns black over time, which reduces performance. To trim, pull the wick gently with tweezers or needle-nose pliers to expose the clean wick. Then cut the charred ends with scissors. You only need to do this 1 to times a year.
- If the lighting process becomes difficult after 2-3 trimmings, then it is time to replace the wick.
- Heat increases the evaporation rate of the lighter fluid in Zippos causing it not to last long. This may result from leaving it out in the sun, next to a fire, or in any place with high temperatures. Notably, even putting the lighter in your pocket can easily raise the temperatures because of the body heat.
- If the lighter fluid leaks, then your zippo will definitely not serve you for long. A simple solution is to not over-fill it.
OBS! I have found that filling it just a little below the recommended level reduces the chances of the fuel drying out.
- Always keep your lighter free of dirt. If you keep your lighter dirty, any particles trapped in the casing can lead to leakage. As such, clean it after every camping trip and store it in an airtight and dirt-free place, when not in use.
- Your lighter’s flint needs to be replaced every few weeks for an average user. You can tell it is time to replace the flint when your lighter fails to spark and ignite when lighting.
- After refilling your Zippo, wipe off any spilled fuel as it may harm the finishes on some Zippos, such as antique-finish lighters (finishes used on Zippo casings).
- Do not use other lighter fuels on Zippos. While the fuels will work, most of the complaints against the brand are associated with using the wrong and cheap alternative fuels. Furthermore, a 4 oz (118ml) Zippo Lighter Fluid only goes for about a dollar.
Some Interesting Facts about Zippos
- The first Zippo lighter was produced by George G. Blasdell back in 1933. He was an American inventor. The design was borrowed from a bulkier Australian-made lighter.
- The name ‘Zippo’ was inspired by the word ‘zipper’.
- Zippos became popular during the second world war. The company solely produced Zippos for the US military, making the brand an American icon. By the time the Vietnam War was on, basically every US soldier carried a Zippo.
- In 1960 a fisherman discovered a Zippo inside the stomach of an 18-pound fish. The lighter lit just like a new one- in the first try!
- If you hold a lit Zippo near a fan, it will not go out – this is known as ‘the fan test’.
- According to Time Magazine a Zippo is among the 100 greatest gadgets of all time.
- Zippos is a collector’s item. Records show that there are about 14 Zippo-collecting clubs spread from America to China.
- By 2012, Zippo had produced over 500 million lighters. Currently, the company produces 10-12 million Zippos every year.
- The lighter has appeared in more than 1,500 TV shows and films including Supernatural and Apocalypse Now.
- The famous American singer and actor Frank Sinatra was buried with a Zippo, plus a bottle of Jack Daniels and Camel cigarettes.
- A Zippo can stop a bullet. So far, this has been recorded twice: In the Vietnam War and recently in 2010 during a burglary.
- There is a Zippo car. This is a promotional vehicle fitted with a giant lighter at the top. The first model was so heavy, that the car’s tires kept blowing up! The new model is much lighter.
- The most popular museum in northern Pennsylvania is the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford.
Other Zippo Products at a Glance
Here are other products by Zippo, that can be handy during your outdoor camping trip:
Zippos Hand Warmers – This is another camping-friendly product from Zippo that uses lighter fluid. Don’t worry about the flame though. Unlike lighters, the hand warmer produces heat without an open fire. There is also a rechargeable version that stays warm to up 900 F, for about six hours.
Zippo Tinder Shreds – These are water-resistant pine tinder shreds that come in a pack of 15. Each shred burns for up to 8 minutes.
Zippo Typhon Match Kit – The kit contains 15 water and wind-proof matches in a stylish case. The product is made with camping in mind, including a hooking extension for backpacks or belts.
Zippo Emergency Fire Kit – This is a great alternative to matches or a lighter when you want to start a fire in the wild (a backup fire starter).
Zippo Mag Strike – A rod and striker set for starting a fire. This is a handy tool but it requires very dry kindling (twigs and sticks) for the spark to produce a flame.
Zippo Fragrance – You can now smell like a Zippo’s flame. Zippo Fragrances is a perfume brand for both men and women. While this perfume isn’t practical when camping, it can be handy when sweaty.
One of the most important things to carry for a camping adventure is a reliable lighter. While newer lighters are being developed from time time, it is hard to talk about camping lighters without mentioning the popular Zippos. So, are Zippos good for camping? Yes! Everything I have highlighted above tells you why they are.