I take this fuelless refillable lighter on every camping trip to make building fires more environmentally friendly.

Campers face the same paradox on every trip: you need lightweight, easy-to-use gear so you can spend your trip enjoying the outdoors rather than fumbling around with complicated or heavy gear — but most of these options suitable for campers create a lot of waste. in the form of disposable items, excess packaging or environmentally hazardous materials.

The lighter is one of those paradoxical essentials. If you go with disposable designs, you’re burning fuel and sending plastic to the landfill every time you empty it. If you get a refillable lighter, you avoid plastic waste, but you still use hazardous lighter fluid (which is also often sold in a plastic container that will also end up in a landfill). Matches are fully biodegradable but, being single use, they are still somewhat useless.

While many eco-friendly alternatives to camping gear ask you to sacrifice a little convenience in exchange for being kinder to the environment you so love to explore, the Meiruby Electric Lighter is one of those rare cases where you get really the best of both. worlds.


To buy: amazon.com, $14

The refillable lighter is fully reusable and requires no fuel, so you won’t create any waste at the campsite. But, in addition to being ecological, it is also much more practical and easy to use (once you get used to it).

The lightweight lighter features a flexible neck that bends in all directions, arc pulse ignition that gets hot enough to ignite candle wicks, paper products, and gas in seconds, and a USB charging port so you can charge it wherever you are.

By replacing the open flame with an electric arc ignition, the lighter is also wind and splash resistant, as the spark cannot be blown out as easily. That means you’ll be able to light that fire even in the windy, windy conditions that come with fall camping.

A single charge can last around 600 uses, according to the manufacturer. Although I don’t use it every day, I was able to do a whole week of camping with night lights and turning on the camp stove for breakfast every morning, and in the end the battery was still half full. Reviewers on Amazon report a similar experience. “It fully charges in about ten minutes and the charge lasts for days,” wrote one reviewer.

Speaking of battery life, the four LED lights on the handle are really handy for keeping track of the remaining charge. And the separate on/off button in addition to the ignition button is ideal for saving energy. With the switch you can completely turn off the battery when not in use.

I started using this lighter about two years ago after seeing someone use a similar design to light their propane stove while on a camping trip to Mount San Jacinto in California. The state park had a strict no open fire policy to prevent wildfires, so I could only see it used to light stoves and candles (which it managed to do perfectly). But the following year, I got to test his ability to light a campfire at an upstate New York campground.

I admit it takes some getting used to if you usually start fires with a lighter or matches. But when you’re only spending $14 on a lighter you can reuse over and over again for years, it’s worth going through the adjustment period. Here are some quirks of the fuelless lighter that can make it difficult to start a fire the first time you use it:

  1. The on/off switch turns on the battery but does not turn on the tip. You need to hold down the power button above the on/off switch the entire time you’re trying to turn something on, similar to how you hold down the lever on a standard gasoline lighter.
  2. Even holding down that power button, the spark at the end will only stay on for about 10 seconds before automatically shutting off. It’s a safety feature that prevents you from accidentally slipping a lit lighter into your pocket. Simply flip the on/off switch to the off position, then flip it back to the on position and you’re good to go for another 10 seconds.
  3. The high voltage arc is very hot but also more concentrated than the open flame of a gasoline lighter. It takes a bit of trial and error to get used to the difference, but eventually you’ll get a technique for starting fires.

In my case, I like to take a handful of kindling – like pine needles or dry leaves – and roughly shape it into a cone or tube. I glue the top end of this cone into the lighter so that some of the kindling is between the two electrodes. Then I hold down the power button until I see smoke or flames. Once this kindling is lit, I place it in the ring of fire where I have already installed a pyramid of twigs and sticks. From there, deal with it as normal to get flames strong enough for a log.

To buy: amazon.com, $14

Although I don’t have a grill or many candles, many buyers get this lighter for exactly that purpose, so you’ll have plenty of uses for it even when you return from your camping trip. “The flexible gooseneck makes any wick or fire easy to light,” said one reviewer. Even when your candle wick gets low and hard to reach, this long, flexible neck will make it easy to light. The length of the neck also allows you to light a grill (or your gas stove) without having to put your fingers near the flame.

Likewise, for those who use fireplaces or gas heaters to keep warm at home, this lighter does the trick. “[It] allows natural gas or propane to ignite instantly, usually in less than a quarter of a second,” noted one reviewer. “I used it every morning for two gas fireplaces almost every night or [and] outdoor gas heater on the back porch and it still has more than half load,” they added.

So if you’re trying to avoid disposable lighters or matches while camping or at home, this rechargeable electric lighter will make that green transition easier. As long as you have the charging cable and a portable charger or outlet to plug it in, you’ll never run out of fuel again.

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