I haven’t smoked for over a decade but I still carry a lighter as part of my EDC every day. It has so many uses that I think I’d be lost if I didn’t keep one around.
A lighter is great for all of these reasons:
- You can start a fire.
- Seal the ends of 550 cord.
- Burn strings off your clothes.
- Light a propane stove.
- Light a candle in a power outage.
- Open a bottle.
- Offer it to a friend (or stranger).
Does Carrying a Lighter Every Day Make Sense?
Most people assume that it only makes sense to carry a lighter if you smoke. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The people that carry a lighter every day tend to be focused on being prepared and usually carry them as part of a larger collection of EDC items.
What Can You Use a Lighter for?
1. Start a Fire: This is the most obvious use of a lighter. In a survival situation, being able to start a fire can often mean the difference between life and death.
Fire allows you to stay warm, cook food, and boil water to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. For this reason alone it makes sense to have a lighter with you on a regular basis.
If you didn’t have a lighter, you would be forced to rely on things like a ferrocerium rod or some kind of primitive fire making skill. Even if you know how to make a fire that way, a lighter makes it much easier.
Read this post to find out how you can make a homemade lighter.
2. Seal the End of Nylon Cordage: Any nylon cordage (like 550 cord) can be burnt to keep it from fraying.
To seal the end of 550 cord, just hold the end in the flame for a few seconds until it catches on fire, blow it out then carefully pinch it with your fingers (it’ll be hot) or use the bottom of the lighter to gently press it on the ground.
The melted ends will harden as soon as the 550 cord is cooled and it will keep it from fraying and hold the inner cords in place.
3. Burn Strings off Your Clothes: Anyone who has been in the military knows that a lighter is one of the best ways to get those loose strings off of your clothes.
Just light any strings on fire and let them burn for a second or two until the string is gone. Be sure to smother the flame before it gets to your clothes.
This is great because it gets rid of the string and it keeps you from pulling and pulling and pulling on a string that may otherwise ruin your clothes.
4. Light a Propane Stove: This tip takes us back to the outdoors/camping side of keeping a lighter around.
Many hiking stoves don’t have built-in igniters so a lighter is a must. Even for larger stoves with a built-in igniter, it’s useful since they are often the first thing to go when things start breaking.
5. Light a Candle in a Power Outage: The last thing that you want to do is have to search for lighter when you lose power at night. Having a lighter around will also let you use it as an emergency light source.
6. Open a Bottle: This old trick is a great way to open bottles that don’t have a twist-off cap.
Grip the bottle in one hand close to the bottle cap. Then, just put the base of the lighter under the bottle cap using your index finger as a fulcrum and push down on the top of the lighter.
You’ll probably have to try a few times to get the hang of it, but eventually, you’ll be able to do it every time.
7. Offer it to a Friend (or Stranger): This is kind of a sad way to wrap up the article but you can always offer your lighter to someone else that needs one.
If it happens to be a survival situation, they’re going to be thankful that you decided to carry a lighter with you.
What type of lighter should I use? I always carry a mini bic lighter with me, but what you decide to carry with you is really going to depend on what you prefer. I’d suggest a bic lighter (since they’re cheap and effective) or a zippo if you’re into them.
Can you keep a lighter in your car? You can normally leave a lighter in your car, just make sure that it isn’t left in direct sunlight. There are several stories of disposable lighters causing car fires when they were left on the dashboard in direct sunlight.
Lighters are one of the best items you can have as part of your EDC. Fire is a basic part of survival and there are a whole host of things that pop up during the day where a lighter is beneficial. That’s why you should always carry a lighter with you.