Author Topic: why bic lighters are a bad idea for survival  (Read 6537 times)

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Offline taiga

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why bic lighters are a bad idea for survival
« on: April 06, 2020, 06:56:27 PM »
Have some free time on my hands as of late, decided to hit the woods with my wife and kids, lucky we have some state game lands not far from home where we can get away from people. Packed enough food and gear for a day out in the forest, grabbed a bic lighter i keep in the cabinet above the fridge for fire starting duties and tossed it in my pack. After hiking around for about an hour found a great spot for out day camp and got set up, gathered fire wood and grabbed the bic from my pack, gave it flick of the wheel and it just spun free? tried tapping it on a rock nothing, finally i pried the guard off and removed the striker wheel, the ferro rod and completely corroded and was frozen in the lighter, i tried scraping and poking with the tip of my knife but it was shot. lucky thing i had a cheap full size ferro rod in my emergency supplies in my pack and we had a fire in no time. i have stashed bic lighters is survival kits for years thinking they were the best way to start a fire in an emergency, from now on i will pack full size ferro rods in my kits, they may not be as simple to use but will allways work even after long term storage.     

Offline xj35s

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Re: why bic lighters are a bad idea for survival
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2020, 07:16:29 PM »
Yup. I really like the harbor freight magnesium blocks too. Nothing burns hotter than magnesium.

It's funny, everyone talks about them going empty or not working when wet. I picked up a flint wheel and tinder tabs in a plastic match case for a few bucks at our local army navy surplus store. I think I prefer it full of matches though. LOL.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: why bic lighters are a bad idea for survival
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2020, 10:47:35 PM »
You had that backup rod and that is the way it goes sometimes.  In a way it is a good thing that it failed as it will reinforce for the rest of us that things don't work sometimes. 

Bic failure aside it sounds like you had a good time in a good place. 
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline crashdive123

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Re: why bic lighters are a bad idea for survival
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2020, 11:48:40 AM »
I disagree.  A Bic lighter is not a bad idea. 

What is a bad idea is not making sure it works before needing to rely on it.

What is a bad idea is not having a back-up when are out in the woods.

Glad you had a back-up.

Offline Marta34

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Re: why bic lighters are a bad idea for survival
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2020, 06:23:17 AM »
A survival kit is really needed in an uncertain scenario like that. But, in case you don't have a kit, survival techniques are another option. I was reading this article it talks about techniques to survive and one of the highlights is starting the fire. It might help you, too.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: why bic lighters are a bad idea for survival
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2020, 09:43:18 AM »
 I have to respectfully disagree with the OP's suggestion that Bic lighters are a bad idea for survival preparedness,  It's been my experience with Bic lighters that they are extremely reliable (not so much for the cheap imitations found on the market).
 Having been a smoker for too many years I used Zippo lighters and kept Bic lighters as a back up, as far as the flint that comes in Bic lighters I've never seen one wear out before the lighter runs out of fuel, in fact I used to pick up discarded Bic lighters that had run out of fuel and saved the flint (ferro rod) that was left in them, usually the used flint that remained was longer and sparked much better than the commercial replacement flints that come in the five packs at the grocery store or smoke shop,  and they fit in Zippo lighters like they were made for it.
 Some of the usual complaints about Bic lighters by outdoors people are that they don't work when wet or that they don't work well when the temps dip below freezing,  This is the first I've heard about a flint (ferro rod) in one corroding to the point that it was rendered useless, IMHO Bic lighters are regarded with the same respect and on an equal par by bush crafters right along side of Mora knives.
 All that said,  anyone that wonders around in the wild places where there's a chance of being thrust into a survival situation, or that has to count on making a fire for warmth, to purify water, or to prepare food, should never rely one only one means to effect fire, if they do they well deserve the discomfort and inconvenience that they have earned.
 I have through years of experience learned that the most unreliable means of making fire are common matches, I carry several Bic lighters in my pack's various pouches such as the fire kit, first aid kit, and cordage bag, as well as a ferro rod or two in my pack and one on my belt knife sheath,  and often carry a small flint and steel kit in a small tin in my fire kit.
 I'm a practicing minimalist and carry very little in the way of redundant gear,  but the means to make fire is not one of them. 
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.