Survival Matches vs Bic Lighter

If you have a choice between a Bic lighter or a couple of survival matches, which one would you choose?

A single Bic Lighter

In almost every commercial survival kit, survival matches often take the place of a good old fashion lighter….. But why?

Unfortunately, a lot of these so called “Survival Kits” are designed to look cool and sell rather than being designed to save lives. If given the option between a kit that has survival matches, and a kit that has a lighter, I’ll choose the kit with the lighter every time.

In a survival situation, a lighter will start a lot more fires than the few matches you’ll find in most commercial kits. It’s also a lot easier to use a lighter when starting a fire.

  • Lighters are easy to use
  • They can start thousands of fires
  • And even if they get wet, you can usually get them to work by blowing on the top of the lighter to dry it out.

In my opinion, when it comes to fire starting devices, the good old reliable Bic Lighter’s the way to go.

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  1. I have used everything from simple friction, to a butane stove to light a fire. The Bic ( real Bic, not imitation brand ), is by far the winner here. Many have gone on about the Bic leaking, not striking when wet, and that it doesn’t work when cold, which all of
    those are true. But a few common sense approaches will make your Bic outlast even the most dire of survival scenarios. The first is the Bic leaking. Keeping the Bic in a specialized pocket will reduce this dramatically, as nothing can depress the
    valve ( mine is on the hip belt of my pack ). Lighting it when wet is also quite simple. Take a dry piece of fabric ( I’ve also used dry foliage for this ) and run it across the striker in a slow and methodical manner as if you were trying to strike it. The fabric or whatever you are using will soak up the moisture impeding the striker wheel from making sparks with the ferrocidium rod. ( ziploc bag also works for keeping a lighter dry ) If your lighter is frozen, try and stick it in your armpit or groin for a few minutes. The heat given off in these areas is tremendous, and will thaw even the most frozen lighters in minutes. Also you can alternatively carry one strapped with duct tape to your rib cage just beneath your armpit. Keeps it dry, warm, no valve depression, and you can also use the duct tape to help with fire building.

  2. I carry three methods in three places. I love Bics but I have a bunch that have failed after 5 year storage. When you check your gear every six months, make sure you flick your Bic to make sure it works and to keep the wheel from seizing up.

  3. A BIC lighter hands down! My kits have both though, a BIC lighter and a small box of waterproof matches for two reasons — For those who want to play Survivor Man and…they make good, dry tinder for the lighter.

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