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Discussion Starter #1
I am constantly amazed by the number of seemingly intelligent people who insist on touting the usefulness of things like firesteel, piston fire-starters, "waterproof" matches (chuckle), and the like to the exclusion of the cheapest, most effective, and most reliable of firestarters: the disposable lighter.
There is a significant distinction between bushcraft and survival. Bushcraft is almost a sport. It challenges the practitioner to emulate the craft, wit, and wisdom of technologically primitive people. Almost a form of reinactment. Bushcrafters all have a line which, when crossed, constitutes "cheating".
It is an excellent hobby, and for some lifestyle, and puts one leagues ahead of the average person in a survival situation.
Survival, on the other hand, is a situation that is thrust upon you (mostly) unwanted. Along with being raised in a familywith a long tradition in the outdoors, I was also a Boy Scout. The bulk of the material on this site is predicated on the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared
If you are putting together a kit to have handy in case of an emergency, you want items which are reliable, cheap (as it is likely going to sit in a bag and not see regular use), and easy to operate under adverse conditions.
I have started literally thousands of fires in my life in all kinds of conditions and using several, if not all, of the methods you'll find in a survival resource, discussion, or situation. I also smoke. Yes yes, I know, I should quit. Switching to a pipe soon .. the reason I mention this is to illustrate that I have quite a bit of experience with lighters and an addict's need to make fire happen RIGHT NOW! Hahahahaha :p
What is a Bic lighter? It's a flint and steel with a fuel source. So, it makes the spark AND the flame. I am smoking as I write this and I am using a Bic lighter I found in a backpack in a trunk in my cabin that I seem to have left there about 3 years ago, and which I carried before stowing there.
Many people say that one of the drawbacks to a bic lighter is that they have a finite supply of fuel. That is true. I am too busy to do a proper scientific test, but I know that I have been using this lighter now for over 3 months, so we'll just call it 3. I smoke, on average, 20 cigarrettes a day. That means that I have created a flame with this particular 79 cent lighter at LEAST 1800 times and that's AFTER it sat for several years. I smoke outside mostly, so that means many of those 1800+ flics of my bic have been in wind ( like on a boat on the Atlantic). I can see through this lighter and note that it's a little under half full. Do the math. If you plan to abandon "civilization" for years, buy a handful (unless you smoke AND intend to grow your own tobacco, then buy about 40)
I just realized that my wordcount is rather high, so I'm going to do this in chunks. WAKE UP! This part's continued in the next post.... you can go back to sleep half-way through that one :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Bic Lighter- Part 2
The reason I'm being so wordy is so that I can get my point across fully rather than have a long, drawn-out debate with a million incomplete-sentence replies, rereplies, and rerereplies. Bear with me.
They don't last long/are unreliable? Myth Busted as they say.
Let's look at the bic vs. the standard $8-$14 firesteel.
The bic, as I said above, creates both spark and fire. All you have to do is provide that fire a place to live. The firesteel on the other hand only makes sparks. I know most of you carry some sort of dry tinder. Great. While you're sparking away, hoping that the sparks that fly in all directions land on your tinder and set it alight, I have 2 or 3 little piles of tinder going, and have likely lit a cigarrette (or pipe if it isn't raining). Yes the firesteel works, but I challenge you to start a fire FASTER with a firesteel than with a bic. I have 2 firesteels, just for fun, but I never take them with me unless I'm just using them for fun.
In adverse conditions, i.e. injury, extreme cold (numb hands), etc. the bic is so simple to use that in the late 80s they made them babyproof. That means that a toddler can start a fire with a bic. A guy with half-frozen hands, half conscious from hunger or injury, in the pitch-black dark can start a fire one-handed with a bic.
Most folks building a BOB or other survival kit will go out and get the most space-aged bag, made of polymer-fibers, fancy high-tech tactical flashlights, and let's not mention the most definitely NOT primitively manufactured knives, so why do people insist that the only reliable way to start a fire is with quasi-primitive, expensive, moderately reliable manufactured moneywasters?
You're trying to survive. That means not die. You obviously have far more important long-term things to worry about than showing off your arcane firemaking skills. Spend 2 bucks on a 3-pack of bics and leave the firesteel crap at home.
Even when your bic runs out of gas, it will make sparks. And yes, I've started several fires with empty lighters.
Discuss.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hahaha. No, I don't work for bic. I just say bic because a)they have the patent and b) bic is easier to type repeatedly than "disposable lighter"
 

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i really think your preaching to the quire. EVERYONE knows how useful a lighter can be :rolleyes:

have you been reading any of our past posts?? or are you just talking about ppl outside of this forum?? because you really have miss the mark so far if your talking about ppl here.


side note: i dont smoke but i have had bic's go dry/empty just setting in a drawer.they can and do leak (it may take years so buying 40 to stockpile may be a waste)so they arnt good for LONG term. i would also suggest in BoB's to get lighters that are child proof so it doesnt get the button held down and empty your lighter out :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Cryptkeeper-
I know most people are practical, but more and more I see videos, TV shows, forum posts, etc. where people give a run-down of their gear and it's amazing how many DON'T have a lighter. Their primary source of fire is some nonsense like waterproof matches. I'm confused as to why they even make those crappy things anymore. I'm just trying to inform the younger and inexperienced people out there who buy into gear-hype, which is one my biggest pet peeves.
 

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Cryptkeeper-
I know most people are practical, but more and more I see videos, TV shows, forum posts, etc. where people give a run-down of their gear and it's amazing how many DON'T have a lighter. Their primary source of fire is some nonsense like waterproof matches. I'm confused as to why they even make those crappy things anymore. I'm just trying to inform the younger and inexperienced people out there who buy into gear-hype, which is one my biggest pet peeves.

lol i have to agree there are ALOT of idiots out there lol :eek:

but if a bic gets wet you can not get it to spark and if your REALLY needing a fire within a couple of hours then you need an alternative means of starting a fire.hence water proof matches :thumb:
 

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Actually, I'd guess most of us keep both a lighter and some type of sparking (?) method for fire starting.
I like the magnesium blocks, as a back up to the lighters.
 

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stick it in a freezer over night then try to light it.. I had a bic fail to light just because it was in my car over night and was cold..

lol there you go.. theres a good one... all your bics get wet and freeze by the time you get to your camp site :eek: what are you going to do :eek: you need to get warm NOW!!not 2 days from now when the sun comes out and melts and drys your bic's out
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As to getting wet/freezing... I have both successfully and unsuccessfully ignited bics under both conditions. I don't try anymore. Now, when I'm going out into the wilderness, I throw my spare lighter into a ziploc (no, I don't work for Ziploc) bag with my dry tinder. As to the freezing... most of the time they work just fine in the extreme cold (and I mean extreme). I have a suspicion as to why a freezer specifically would cause issues and I'm going to test that out tonight and post later, but I've been in extremely cold situations and had almost no problems. When the lighter doesn't work as a lighter, I usually just make a bow drill anyway. NOTHING is 100% reliable, but again, as a primary source for fire, the lighter can't be beaten.
 

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side note: i dont smoke but i have had bic's go dry/empty just setting in a drawer.they can and do leak (it may take years so buying 40 to stockpile may be a waste)so they arnt good for LONG term. i would also suggest in BoB's to get lighters that are child proof so it doesnt get the button held down and empty your lighter out :thumb:
fire is one of the most important skills you can carry so why put all your eggs in one basket, i have a storm proof lighter in my pocket at all times and a fire steel in my base kit but spread through all my other bags and vehicals i have "bic" lighters, when i store them i tend to put a zip tie around the top that sits under the lip of the button which stops it from being pressed accidently, i do this as they are cheap very light and easy to fit into just about anywhere and may well save my life one day,

but feel free to disagree with the guy from across the pond
 

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Agreed!!!!!!!

I'll use my "disposable" lighters for ever!!! so to speak.

Any other means is a last resort as far as i'm concerned. Don't get get me wrong, alternative means of fire starting is a great skill and one that i am working on. But... hell i'll always keep a chit load of "Bics" to last me a long, long, time....
 

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I don't trust a bic as my only source for fire. I carry a bic, strike anywhere matches, magnesium bar, flint,ferro rod, fresnel lens as well as some steel wool and a 9 volt battery. Figure that covers all my bases.
 

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What about butane. Those are the best for fire starting. Also I agree, taking all these high tech gadgets with you camping/backpacking and you take a Flint with you. I don't buy or use anything other than a lighter. I think people use them because its primitive, but it really is not primitive at all.
 

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Maximus
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Most folks building a BOB or other survival kit will go out and get the most space-aged bag, made of polymer-fibers, fancy high-tech tactical flashlights, and let's not mention the most definitely NOT primitively manufactured knives, so why do people insist that the only reliable way to start a fire is with quasi-primitive, expensive, moderately reliable manufactured moneywasters?
I have to disagree with this. I think most folks with a bob/survival kits will say a lighter is better but carry both just in case.
 
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