When it comes to backpacking gear, lighter is always preferable.The lighters we tested ranged from 0.39-3.21 oz. That isn’t terribly heavy in the grand scheme of things, but relatively speaking the heaviest lighter weighs over 8 times as much as the lightest. Read more about usb lighter.
Unless you want to go with our top option for adverse weather, the UCO Stormproof Torch, a lighter shouldn’t cost you more than an ounce in pack weight.
If you’ll be backpacking for an extended amount of time you might want to consider bringing a back-up lighter or, if your lighter is refillable, extra fuel.
Flint vs. Piezo-Electric Ignition
Flint lighters — like the BIC, Clipper, and Zippo — use a flint to generate sparks.
Piezo-electric lighters — like the UCO and UST — use a spring-loaded hammer to hit a piezo-electric crystal and create an electrical charge.
I found the flint lighters to be much more reliable over the long-term than the piezo-electric lighters.
Unless you need a highly weather-resistant lighter such as the UCO Stormproof Torch, I’d recommend you go with a flint lighter.
There are also battery-powered electric lighters (aka plasma lighters). These are not water-resistant and thus are less than ideal for taking into the backcountry.
There is no perfectly windproof or waterproof backpacking lighter. However, all the lighters we tested sported some degree of weather-resistance.
Although, just because you expect to encounter adverse weather on your trip doesn’t mean that you need to bring along a highly weather-resistant lighter.
While I would generally recommend you go with a Mini BIC or Mini Clipper for the weight and cost savings, there are some situations where a highly weather-resistant lighter might be preferable — such as emergency or survival scenarios. Also, if you aren’t concerned with the extra weight and bulk it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.
Pre-Filled vs. Empty
BICs and Clippers come pre-filled. The other three lighters we tested come empty and you must fill them with the appropriate fuel, which you also must buy.
Pre-filled lighters are less hassle and cheaper upfront. You don’t have to buy fuel or fill the lighter yourself.
Empty lighters you must buy fuel for and fill yourself. They are refillable and thus may work out to be cheaper in the long-run. The two types of fuel we used were butane for the UCO Stormproof Torch and UST Wayfinder Lighter and Zippo lighter fluid for the Zippo Matte Lighter. (The Mini Clipper can also be refilled with butane.)