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#220319 - 03/27/11 02:29 PM lighter safety
ScouterMan Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 08/19/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
If this has been covered before, I apologize.

I am upgrading my fire starting kits in both my "regular" hiking backpack and my BOB. I have never carried a lighter before, but was thinking of adding a simple BIC lighter to each kit.

I have read about leakage and inadvertent ignition in other forums and wanted to get the input of members here.

What is the safest way to carry a lighter for "long term" storage? Are there any tricks to preventing leakage or inadvertent ignition?

Thanks in advance.

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#220321 - 03/27/11 03:13 PM Re: lighter safety [Re: ScouterMan]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2241
mostly just wrap a rubber band under the thumb switch - keeps 'em from leaking

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#220322 - 03/27/11 03:34 PM Re: lighter safety [Re: ScouterMan]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2648
Loc: Alberta, Canada
In long-term storage, the other issue you might face is the flint starting to swell. It's probably a slow reaction with moisture in the air. Consider wrapping or sealing the lighter in a bag. Check operation once a year and before major trips.

If the flint does stick, you can usually dislodge it by whacking the lighter's base, hard, on a fixed surface. I've resurrected quite a few that way. I've also experimented with a teflon spray lube, which doesn't seem to interfere with sparking ability; but I haven't used it long enough to say if it works.

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#220327 - 03/27/11 05:16 PM Re: lighter safety [Re: dougwalkabout]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6233
Loc: southern Cal
I have sprinkled mini Bics throughout my packs for years and I have never noticed any leakage or had any problems. Matches in a waterproof container definitely do not leak and they are quite dependable. They have also always worked for me in tight situations.
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#220334 - 03/27/11 07:57 PM Re: lighter safety [Re: ScouterMan]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Given that they contain significant amounts of potentially explosive gas and a sparking device that produces highly reactive and hot sparks lighters butane lighters are remarkably safe.

My understanding is that when disposable butane lighter were first sold in the early 70s the airlines wouldn't allow them on flights for fear the pressure change might cause them to explode. There were also stories about unfortunate welder/s who suffered from an explosion when welding slag hit the pressurized lighter. Neither risk was demonstrated and are mostly considered urban myth.

That said there is some risk. Out of curiosity I tossed a full-size Bic into a campfire. I was expecting an explosion worthy of a TV movie. What I got was a pop and flare. I wouldn't want to get too close, burns are no fun, but it isn't really like you're carrying a grenade that might detonate and kill everyone close by.

It isn't a safety tip but I've experimented with spraying silicone on Bic lighters to keep the flint and striker wheel from getting wet with water, which makes striking more difficult until it dries, or corroding in storage. Seems to help. Coating the metal several times with spray silicone, allowing each coat to dry before respraying, makes water shake right off.

Corrected for spelling. One of these days I'll learn how to write and edit before I post.


Edited by Art_in_FL (03/28/11 01:35 AM)

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#220341 - 03/27/11 10:21 PM Re: lighter safety [Re: Art_in_FL]
Outdoor_Quest Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/17/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Central Oregon
I carry a BIC lighter in my kit.

But when the temperature drops below 30 I find the lighter more trouble than it's worth.

I appreciate Art's comment about throwing it in the fire. I've wondered about that.

Blake
www.outdoorquest.biz

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#220360 - 03/28/11 03:24 AM Re: lighter safety [Re: ScouterMan]
TimDex Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/13/10
Posts: 56
Loc: New York State
For what it's worth I've sometimes found that, with a Bic that won't work, holding down the button without hitting the spark wheel, for a few second, and letting go, and then holding down the button again and hitting the wheel for a spark starts it up. Not sure why, probably letting enough butane out that it could be ignited. Tim

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#220364 - 03/28/11 04:03 AM Re: lighter safety [Re: ScouterMan]
Mark_M Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 295
Loc: New Jersey
30 years and the only time I couldn't get a Bic lighter to work was above 12,500 ft in cool (maybe 40*F) breezy whether. FWIW, even a regular paper match wouldn't light under those conditions, it would just sputter and die-out. The only other things that's stopped them is running out of fuel or getting wet.

I've found mini-Bic lighters in boxes of old camping gear that hadn't been used for over 5 years that still worked fine every try. I've carried them in my pockets and in my gear, and have left them in my car in the sun with 120*F temperatures and never had one leak, melt or explode. I've used them out in single-digit temperatures (just keep them warm in your pocket). Sometimes the striker wheel will get stuck, but a few smacks followed by persuasion with a gloved-thumb will get it working in quick order.

In my FAK's and other kits I usually put them in a small pill-size zip-lock bag to keep them dry. Other than that, no special care required.
_________________________
2010 Jeep JKU Rubicon | 35" KM2 & 4" Lift | Skids | Winch | Recovery Gear | More ...
'13 Wheeling: 8 Camping: 6 | "The trail was rated 5+ and our rigs were -1" -Evan@LIORClub

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#220384 - 03/28/11 03:14 PM Re: lighter safety [Re: Art_in_FL]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 963
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL
There were also stories about unfortunate welder/s who suffered from an explosion when welding slag hit the pressurized lighter. Neither risk was demonstrated and are mostly considered urban myth.


The BIC does not explode. The slag can melt a hole in the plastic though. This makes the gas leak into your clothes where it can be ignited. You lose your lighter and depending on the amount of gas and your personal luck you may suffer first degree burns. Thatīs not lethal but it does not feel too well. I witnessed that once.
So play it save and do not carry that lighter in your pocket for such work.
_________________________
If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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#220385 - 03/28/11 03:47 PM Re: lighter safety [Re: ScouterMan]
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
Originally Posted By: ScouterMan
If this has been covered before, I apologize.

I am upgrading my fire starting kits in both my "regular" hiking backpack and my BOB. I have never carried a lighter before, but was thinking of adding a simple BIC lighter to each kit.

I have read about leakage and inadvertent ignition in other forums and wanted to get the input of members here.

What is the safest way to carry a lighter for "long term" storage? Are there any tricks to preventing leakage or inadvertent ignition?

Thanks in advance.


Potential leak & inadvertent ignition problem with BIC? I'd say infinitesimal. Especially with all the child proofing done on them today, most are a 3-stage ignition-saftey latch, roll flint wheel, hold fluid release tab down)

Long term just keep it as dry as you can manage. The fluid will evaporate in high heat over a factor of months, unlike zippos that will evap in a matter of days (though a made to be refilled).

Mini-Bics in bright colors are great. Put them in all your bags, your SO's bag/purses, in your vehicles. I even carry one in my running pack.
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Don't just survive. Thrive.

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