Lighter That Works In High Altitudes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

Log in

Search on Site

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

jojoc

Member
May 10, 2019
183
75
A couple times a year I end up in the mountains for a period of time. Generally at an altitude of 10,000 feet or so. Of course, I take my pipe with me. The problem is, none of my butane pipe lighters work at that altitude. My pipe lighters are cheap lighters, so that may be part of the problem. However, once down at a lower altitude, they work fine again. I have a suspicion as to the cause:
- The thin air and the small spark are insufficient to ignite the gas.

I have to fly to get to my destination so I am not really interested in risking a $100 lighter being confiscated at security or taken out of a checked bag.

Suggestions for an inexpensive lighter that generates a larger than average spark that is more likely to ignite the butane in the thin high altitude air. (or other suggestions on how to deal with this.) I do have a zippo that I think would work, but I don't think I can or want to pack a can of liquid fuel on the plane.

thank you in advance!

jojoc
 

jojoc

Member
May 10, 2019
183
75
There's always matches.......
True. However, it is a skill I have not mastered. i go through an ungodly amount of matches and end up with black, scorched thumb and fingers. Right now I am leaning towards bringing the zippo and trying to pick up a can of fuel in town before heading up the mountain, or picking up a bic. With a bic I don't burn myself as bad as I do with matches.
 
Reactions: anotherbob

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
2,531
2,400
Alaska
If Bics work, then I'd go that route. Light, usually reliable, and I've lit plenty of bowls with them and didn't notice any flavor impact.
 

jojoc

Member
May 10, 2019
183
75
I am not positive a bic will work, but I think they will due to the fairly good spark they generate.
I suppose I could just use a match to light my pipe lighter. :ROFLMAO:
 

burleyboy

Senior Member
Jul 30, 2019
311
461
I've never thought abought that matter, though I remember lighting up on top of Mt. Piltriquitron, 7415 ft high, some years ago. It must have been a Bic, that served without any issues.

Edit: Just did some googling and came out with the result, that any gasoline lighter like a Zippo should be appropriate.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: anotherbob

elessar

Member
Apr 24, 2019
200
88
Xikar makes a high altitude butane. Not sure what the difference is and I'm not at high altitude, but that's what my B&M sells. Works great at low altitude anyway. Perhaps that would help you.
 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,915
1,159
Contemporary Bics can scorch your pipes' rims, though. Once upon a time, Bics came with flame regulators, but alas, they no longer do, and their flames are in the pocket flamethrower category. I've at least four pipes that have been damaged by such ungodly flames. Careful with Bics if that's what you must use.
 

burleyboy

Senior Member
Jul 30, 2019
311
461
Contemporary Bics can scorch your pipes' rims, though. Once upon a time, Bics came with flame regulators, but alas, they no longer do, and their flames are in the pocket flamethrower category. I've at least four pipes that have been damaged by such ungodly flames. Careful with Bics if that's what you must use.

Good to know that, though I never had that kind of issue. But what I've experienced recently with several Bics was, that the lighter shot a big burst of gas into my pipe in the momemt, when I put my thumb off the "trigger". The annoying result is, that ash and burning tobacco get blown out of the pipe and onto my clothes or anywhere else depending on my position.
 
Last edited:

frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
2,007
64
Right now my best bet is an electric lighter.
The classic answer is “Zippo” but those can be smelly and messy (and require weekly refilling no matter how much it’s used).

I’m actually glad that Bics give more flame now since puffing while lighting is the #1 reason I scorch my mouth. I even bought some campfire accelerator gel to use in pipes (haven’t used it yet but I can’t wait to try once my mouth has recovered from recent tissue grafting).
 
Reactions: trudger

shanez

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2018
1,145
990
45
Las Vegas
I've bought high altitude lighters in the past and none have worked very well.

My Kiribi and Bics have never failed even at 11000 ft. I routinely camp/fish at 9000 ft and have lit many a cigar and bowl without problems.
 

elessar

Member
Apr 24, 2019
200
88
I'm pretty sure this lighter would work at altitude as well and it recharges with usb. But it really only works for the first light. Without flame it doesn't really reach down into the bowl. Pretty good for cigars too and no fuel either.

1949
 
Reactions: frozenchurchwarden

trouttimes

Preferred Member
Nov 26, 2018
1,621
2,345
I am often above 10,000' here in Colorado and I use a typical Bic. The only problem I have had is if I let it get cold. I keep it close to my body and everything seems fine. I have not tried other brands of lighter other than a Zippo which for me, does not work as well and seem to always be almost out of fuel.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,318
926
I've bought high altitude lighters in the past and none have worked very well.

My Kiribi and Bics have never failed even at 11000 ft. I routinely camp/fish at 9000 ft and have lit many a cigar and bowl without problems.
I don't know if it is the lighter itself that is important but rather using high altitude butane. I use the high altitude butane at altitude because it is a better grade of butane.
 

frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
2,007
64
I'm pretty sure this lighter would work at altitude as well and it recharges with usb. But it really only works for the first light. Without flame it doesn't really reach down into the bowl. Pretty good for cigars too and no fuel either.

View attachment 1949
The electric lighters I’m looking at are only as wide as the arc mechanism. I don’t know if covering it in ash would stop it from working, but you should be able to find models that will reach the bottom of your bowl far better than any fluid powered lighter.
 

brooklynpiper

Senior Member
May 8, 2018
303
80
This was a very good question. I used to struggle getting a spark to keep when I spent time up in the mountains, I just figured, the lighters don't work well up here but at least my thumbs still do. *flick, *flick *flick *flick
 

shanez

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2018
1,145
990
45
Las Vegas
I don't know if it is the lighter itself that is important but rather using high altitude butane. I use the high altitude butane at altitude because it is a better grade of butane.
I use Vector 14 butane and have not had any issues since I switched to it. What do you use?