Have a question for my fellow preppers. My wife and I went snow-shoeing/backpacking today and stopped to boil water to make coffee. I use solid fuel tabs to heat and had a hard time with both 'BIC' lighters igniting and staying lit. It was around 20 degrees and I had this happen last time I went backpacking in the cold. Do colder temps influence the function of butane lighters?...And if so, what would you recommend for a Lighter that would be more dependable?...Thank you ahead of time!
...but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend...J. R. R. Tolkien
High elevation and low temperatures will effect the butane vaporizing.
A liquid fuel lighter like a Zippo will work in situations where a butane lighter like a Bic will not.
The down side is that the fuel will evaporate. Make sure it works before you go somewhere and depend on it.
If you are carrying a butane lighter in the cold and it won't light simply warm it up in your clothes for a few minutes. Rubbing it between your palms will warm it as well. Also a cottonball saturated with vaseline should light with just the sparks from the flint of a Bic.
...Might have to go test that one right now to make sure I'm correct.
[Last Edit: 3/3/2013 3:53:14 PM EST by sandboxmedic]
At least one means of starting a fire should always be on your person, not in your pack. Butane lighters need to be carried in your pocket near your body to keep them warm but be aware that the fuel button can be depressed in your pockets, front pockets seem to be worse about this.
Always carry a backup and in cold weather always carry a backup to your backup. Matches are lightweight and easy to pack as is a striker style fire starter. Lifeboat matches are always a good bet but you can also waterproof strike anywhere matches with a little melted wax; carry them in a waterproof container. Cotton balls or dryer lint mixed with Vaseline make good fire starters as does charcloth. You can also get a magnesium block that you shave or spend money on stuff like Maya Dust from Light My Fire. With disposable lighters, you may have to remove the metal shield on the front to get a good spray of sparks. Having a couple of candle stubs with you can also help get a fire going.
On a side note, when I go paddling in cold weather I also carry a small road flare for emergencies. If you've ever inadvertently gone swimming in freezing conditions you know fine motors skills are the first thing to go and trying to strike a match is almost impossible; with the flare you can pile up whatever wood you find and shove it in the pile to start a fire quickly and easily.