Gear Guy

What’s the most reliable lighter for a camping trip?

What's the best and most reliable lighter to take on a camping trip? The top candidates seem to be Colibri and Windmill lighters. Is there much of a difference? John New York City

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I’m familiar with the Windmill ($45;, an extremely high-quality butane lighter that has a Piezo igniter (electric, no flint) and a ceramic insert that actually glows when the lighter is “on.” It’s pressurized for good operation in nearly all conditions. I’d say it’s more than adequate for any camping trip you could possibly think of.

I have one—somewhere. It disappeared about a year ago after a trip, so is probably in the bowels of a pack I have someplace. It was—or is—a great lighter.

The Colibri I’m not at all familiar with. Nor did some research on it turn up much information. It’s some sort of exotic lighter, that much I know. I’d be interested in getting some input on Colibri lighters, if anyone out there is familiar with them!

Anyway, I’d say the Windmill is fine, plus it’s available from a wide range of places (the company Web site is: Still, I tend to be conservative on the subject of lighters and matches. I always carry one or two lighters (the Windmill, if I can ever find it, and an inexpensive disposable job), plus strike-anywhere matches in plastic zipper-top bags, plus matches in a little waterproof container. Why take chances?

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