Letter Re: The Importance and Art of Fire-Making


I’m in agreement with pretty much everything in N.P’s excellent article; everything except his repeated reliance on a Bic lighter, especially in the sub-zero conditions he described. Butane lighters become useless below about 15°F, at which point butane won’t vaporize. A better choice would be the tried and true Zippo lighter, which will light at any temperature and is wind-resistant. The only downside to the Zippo is that the fuel in it will evaporate over time and will need to be periodically refilled, whether it’s used or not. If you find yourself in the conditions N.P. described and a butane lighter is all you have, be sure to carry it on your person as close to the body as possible to keep it warm. – P.H.