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Finally, a Miracle Technology for Campers!

For the first time in my life I regret being a late adopter of some vaunted new technology.

And this is bad news for Bic and all the companies that make those horrible little butane lighters that you use to light your gas stove or start a campfire.  In RV lingo, they are called "flame throwers."  I have used so many of those crappy little things.  I've tried refilling them, buying more expensive ones, or getting by with just the piezo spark.  It has always been a good idea to maintain a cache of wooden matches as a backup.

Just recently a friend liberated me from butane lighters by showing me a new-fangled electric lighter.

No piezo element.  No butane.  No fumbling with child-proof, Ralph Nader-approved buttons that require three hands. And no buying a new one every six months, just to learn that the price has gone up again.

Electric arcs are not a new idea.  They have been around since Benjamin Franklin's kite.  Wikipedia actually has a good article on them, apparently without the help of the CIA.  Think about various type of lamps/lighting products or electric arc welding.  Why did it take the world so long to come up with these electric lighters?: probably it was miniaturizing the batteries that provide the electric arc.  It isn't just a momentary spark.

What is really slick about these electric lighters is that their little batteries can be recharged with a USB cable.  Let's hope the battery or circuitry doesn't fail every in six months!


Ed said…
Thanks for this heads up. I'll be getting one of those when I get to my next camp and have a shipping address.
Ed, let's be optimistic and assume they last longer than six months! If so, they are real progress.
Ed, I forgot to mention that my electric lighter came from the camping aisle of Walmart. And it has the prestige brand of Ozark Trails. (grin)
Anonymous said…
I'll be checking that out also. . .
once the bics die off ~ won't be long.
Thanks for the info.
Anonymous, you mean I wasn't the last camper to get one of these electric arc lighters?!

Normally I ignore "how to" posts unless there is reason to believe that all the "nomad" channels on You Tube are ignoring a certain topic for some special reason. And there IS such a reason: presumably you can't monetize a blog/vlog by helping to sell an $8 electric lighter. But I don't know how the details of monetization.