Adding a Zippo Lighter to Your Prepping Supplies

A Zippo in your prepping kit

Zippo lighters. They are a classic piece of Americana. It’s hard to imagine some of the classic American motion pictures without the ever-present Zippo lighter.

First created in 1933 by George Blaisdell, the Zippo lighter was propelled into notoriety during the Second World War when service members began carrying them. In fact, during the war the company stopped manufacturing lighters for the civilian markets and focused exclusively on the war effort. It was then that the company switched from the original brass design and began manufacturing them from steel.

Throughout the years, as the world has shifted to prefer more disposable items, Zippos have have remained a staple in American culture.

Many preppers include Zippos in their stockpile. And why not? Their simple designs are durable and easily maintained.

If you are new to Zippo lighters and decide to include one in your supplies, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Store replacement parts. The lighters are durable and last a long time, however there are replacement parts that you should keep on hand for maintenance. Buy additional wicks and flints. The wicks eventually collect enough carbon on them so that they don’t light well and the flints will eventually wear out.
  • Carry additional fuel. When I first saw the design on the Zippo lighter, I was surprised. There is no sealed reservoir for the fuel, it’s simply resides in cotton batting inside the lighter. It’s not a tight seal so the fuel can leak out or evaporate from the light over time.
  • Carry upright in your pocket. Since the fuel doesn’t reside in a leak proof container, it can sometime leak out. If it happens in your pocket, it’s bad. Not only do you have flammable liquid on your clothing, but the fuel can cause a chemical burn. I’ve never experienced this myself, but I’ve heard of it happening. It’s best to carry the lighter upright, perhaps in your watch pocket, or in a stealth on your belt.
  • It’s windproof for the most part. Zippo lighters are well designed. It’s difficult to extinguish a lit Zippo lighter by blowing on it or from environmental wind. However, you can blow on it from the top and easily snuff out the flame.
  • In a pinch, lighters can be used a source of light. Zippo lighters, once lit, will burn without you having to hold down a button as in their disposable counterparts. You can light the flame and then set the lighter down and it will still burn.

Zippo lighters are relatively inexpensive, durable, and can provide a critical component for long term survival – fire. Those three things have earned Zippo lighters a place in our prepping supplies. In fact, we’ve bought and stored extra for bartering.

What about you? Do you have a Zippo lighter? 

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18 Comments on “Adding a Zippo Lighter to Your Prepping Supplies”

  1. jgacad Says:

    I carry a Zippo on my belt in case of emergencies. I don’t smoke and thus don’t use it very often. On average, I have to refill it about once a week due to fuel evaporating. Carrying spare fuel is a very good idea.


    • Joe Says:

      I’ve been told that you can buy adapters for the zippo lighters that prevent evaporation but I haven’t looked into it. Know anything about those?


  2. poormansprepper Says:

    Another benefit of the Zippo is that in a pinch almost any flammable liquid will work in it, so white gas, gasoline, even kerosene will work.


  3. Albvs Says:

    I’ve purchased several of the 20-pack disposable lighter packs. They strike me as a highly-useful item for bartering. I’d also suggest that cartons of cigarettes would be the next thing you could easily barter with. I also have several of the 5-gallon gasoline containers. There will be a time when a packaged bundle of 1-pint drinking water could fetch several times its initial cost.

    Believe it or not, a roll of toilet paper to a person in need could be seen as a luxury item. The standard 50′ of cheap rope we now take for granted will be in short supply. Tarps will also be something everyone will want.


    • Joe Says:

      Stocking up on barterable items is a good idea. Lighters, toilet paper, tools, flashlights, etc. We look on the clearance shelves of hardware and supply stores for items whenever we go in. Often there’s little there worth buying but occasionally we find good stuff.

      Although they are just a couple of bucks now, at some point they may be very valuable.



  4. thise Says:

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last section 🙂 I take care of such information a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thanks and good luck.


  5. Ronnie Jay Says:

    One thing I have done with my zippo is I waxed the insert to create a better seal in the pocket. I’ve carried a zippo for years, the one in my pocket is over 20 years old, and no replacement parts needed yet besides flints. I am an extremely analytical person, and have noticed I tend to do less fueling with this method.

    Which reminds me, you may want to consider purchasing some beeswax for your storage. It’s a great all purpose item. I keep it on the shelf right next to my paraffin wax bars I have. Let your imagination wander, but I find it a highly purposeful store item.


  6. Zippos R US Says:

    Check out this site for Zippo key rings which holds six real flints in the shape of a zippo flint dispenser and a nice fuel canister.


  7. Ron Says:

    As a teenager, way back when, my buddies and I would go to the gas pump handle at the gas station we hung out at and dribble gas into our zippos, other than the gas smell when you fire it up, it worked fine and nobody caught fire. Cut a half inch slice of inner tube from a small bicycle tire and slide it over the opening of the lighter and it will seal it well enough to last three weeks.


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