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Thread: EDC Lighter Fluid Container

  1. #1

    Default EDC Lighter Fluid Container

    Okay, here's my first post after leeching off the site for information. Special thanks to kyratshooter for the posts on oil cloth and tin cloth.

    I bought a Zippo lighter because it's made in the U.S.A., keeps lit in the wind, and because it's old school.

    I also discovered that the fluid in a freshly-filled lighter evaporates after after about a week when kept in the pocket 9not the first one to discover that).

    I did some Internet research, and found suggestions like: "Put one of those wide vegetable rubber bands around it to keep it from evaporating." Well, they stopped using those wide rubber bands (at least everywhere that I've looked). It was also suggested to use a piece of an old bicycle tire tube in place of the rubber band. The tire tube I had was too big, so that didn't work. I haven't gone to a bike repair shop yet to get a smaller tube, but that will work, I am sure.

    I also looked into what king of small container would work to keep a backup supply of lighter fluid in. The least helpful comment I found about that was: "Why is this an issue? Just keep it in the original container. That obviously works." Not really an exact quote, but pretty close.

    Anyways, the preceding was to head off repetitious advice (well, to attempt it at least). Here's my input:

    TO PREVENT EVAPORATION

    Wrap some sort of tape around the lighter to seal the division at the flip-top/body interface (if you haven't gone by the bike shop yet).

    I only tried two types. Electrical tape, and masking tape.

    Electrical tape works, but the fumes interact with the adhesive, and it starts slipping around after a couple of days. Of course, I have Harbor Freight electrical tape, which sucks generally.

    The masking tape worked well, and kept the lighter sealed. It leaves residue when you take it off, but that's not a survival/emergency issue. It kept the fluid from evaporating, and stayed sealed without slipping off (for a week in my pocket, at least).

    TO CARRY A SMALL SUPPLY OF FUEL

    To start with, the above referenced advice about keeping it in the original container is not good advice. I started looking into this whole thing because the original container that I kept in my car bulged out and became brittle. The original container is plastic, and has a rectangular cross section. When it gets warm, the fluid inside evaporates inside the container (technically, the vapor pressure increases) and pressurizes the container. The pressure causes the rectangular container to swell at the narrow dimension. This stresses and stretches the plastic material and causes it to become brittle, so it cracks easily (not just theory, but experience, too). This makes the original container unsuitable for varying environmental conditions. The older-style metal containers would probably work, but the fluid isn't supplied in those anymore.

    So, I tried various other types of containers. I put some fluid in them, then left them in my car's center console to see if the fluid would evaporate out of them.

    I tried a small, plastic flip-top container (the lid has a little fold-up spout). It didnít leak liquid, but it wasnít vapor-tight (if you squeezed it, you could hear the air coming out). The fluid evaporated very quickly, and it wasn't even summer.

    I also tried small, thick, glass bottles (like childrenís aspirin come in - or came in - not sure). Glass sounds risky, but these bottles are pretty hard to break unless you really try (famous last words). The fluid didnít evaporate. I thought I had found an acceptable container. However, I accidentally tipped them over and left them lying on their side on the console. After the weekend passed, I found that half of the fluid was gone. The low surface tension fluid leaked out slowly, even though they didnít leak when you tried shaking the container to test it. In a BOB, this would soak into whatever else you had in the bag. Not good.

    Others have suggested using empty eye drop bottles, or glass bottles with eye droppers in the lid. I haven't tried these yet. Maybe the gasket in the lids is better than the one in the bottles I used.

    Does anyone have actual experience with small containers that donít leak lighter fluid (vapor or liquid) or time, in any position?


  2. #2
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Gone are the days of freshly filled lighters eating a whole in my leg from the fluid leaking. Gone are the days of trying to change a flint and getting the spring back in.

    Why not store the fluid in the can it comes in?

  3. #3

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    I get the "old school" deal with Zippos. I still have several. In my cabinet. A coupla Bics go along nowadays.

    But good luck in nailing down that container.

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    Senior Member Graf's Avatar
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    Just buy yourself a bike tube around 1.75-2.25 cut to size to create ranger band worked well for me and you'll use a lot of those ranger bands for other things. On my Zippos I replaced the wick with cotton balls that will catch a spark easy if you run out of fluid but still have spark. I also cut down a 1/8 ferro rod which I store in the wick area along with 2 spare flints
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Back from my Navy days where we could not bring lighter fluid onboard (atmosphere contaminant) we used isopropyl alcohol as lighter fluid. It worked fine. Any small bottle will work for either fluid. Plastic or glass - it does not matter.

    I mention this because a lot of people carry alcohol for their alcohol burning stoves.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Haven't carried a Zippo in many years.....but back when, I carried a container that it came in as well...in the truck.
    Of course I was using it a whole lot more....When I smoked.
    Haven't had a smoke since Dec.13 11:32 AM 2013....

    I don't know how it would work.....but I do carry the little .5 oz plastic squirt bottle eye drops com in with "Heat"Fuel antifreeze/dryer... Isopropanol (pretty sure close to the same stuff that Crash is talking abouy...for the alcohol "Penny stove."

    Honestly haven't checked the containers for a while... as the whole rig is in a metal box (candy tin") in my truck "Tote".

    How it will work for Zippo fluid...not sure....Just checked my stash....found a full container of fluid...and a .5 osz "Artificial tears" bottle ...so filled it...May take a while.
    You post made me curious about my 3 - small squirt bottle in the truck.....so trying out the lighter fluid.
    Last edited by hunter63; 03-28-2017 at 06:36 PM.
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    Senior Member alaskabushman's Avatar
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    The problem you are searching a solution for is the very reason I quit carrying a Zippo. I still have three, all are bone dry in a dresser drawer. I got so tired of not having fluid in my lighter whenever I needed it most. Filling it weekly is fine as long as you actually remember. Sure, Zippos have a great feel to them and a classic cool factor. I've since switched to Bics and have not looked back. It works every time I need it and if it gets lost or "long term loaned" then there is no real expense.
    There ain't too many problems you can't fix with $500 or a 30-06.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Note .........buy Pink BIC's...no one steals those.

    Mine are in the draw as well....still carry a Bic in my pocket everyday.....as well as my Mini Multi too w/mini Bic.

    Was curios how long fluid lasts in a eye drop bottle....more for the "penny stove stash" than a Zippo...
    This thread just made me think about it.
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  9. #9

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    I too have a Zippo in the drawer (ZITD) but I only have it because of the price I got at Walmart on those Zippo 6 hour Hand warmer gift sets. I paid like $7 for the hand warmer, a 4oz metal container of fluid and the ZITD.
    For my alcohol stove fuel I use the Coghlan Contain-alls:
    http://www.coghlans.com/products/contain-alls-8525
    They keep my fuel(Heet) from evaporating.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Gone are the days of freshly filled lighters eating a whole in my leg from the fluid leaking. Gone are the days of trying to change a flint and getting the spring back in.

    Why not store the fluid in the can it comes in?
    I suggest reading posts before you reply.

    Just sayin'.

  11. #11

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    I get the whole Bic thing because it will have fuel when you need it.

    However, a Zippo (with fuel) has the advantage of:

    1. staying lit in the wind
    2. it stays lit without having to hold down a button, and
    3. you can easily place the flame where you want it without it burning your thumb (see #2).

    Thus, my search for a suitable small container.

  12. #12
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnLeePettimore View Post
    I suggest reading posts before you reply.

    Just sayin'.
    Why?......I guess I don't see a preoblem.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member alaskabushman's Avatar
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    I carried a Zippo for years as my EDC, I liked the feel, the form factor and the classic style. I told myself that the ability to free stand was important. I thought that it was windproof.

    Two things happened to make me lose faith in my trusty Zippo.

    The first one was when I was out with a couple buddies, we decided to build a fire and even though it was a bit windy we were set to have some fun. No matter how I tried to light a fire in the wind with my zippo, it would just not light the tinder. Sure the lighter would stay lit, but the wind blew the flame around so much that it couldn't light the paper. I tried cupping my hand...no luck. After 5 minutes trying to light a fire I went to my truck and dug out my emergency fire kit, pulled out my ferro rod and had a fire going in about 2 minutes.

    I still carried the Zippo however.

    The last time I carried my Zippo is when I went for a hike in the woods with my dad. It had recently rained (which is pretty much ALL the time here) so we drenched from pushing through the dripping underbrush. After a few miles we came out on a beach, soaked and getting cold. We figured out where we were but it was quite a walk along the beach back to town. We decided to build a fire to get warmed up and make our way back home. Everything was sooo wet that we needed a good fire source to get something lit. Lo and behold my Zippo was dry. I tried using it as a flint striker. Nothing. My dad pulled out some windproof/waterproof matches. They would not light (this is also when I lost faith in matches). We found the driest wood possible and I found some spruce resin (pitch) all to no effect. We decided that we would stay warm by just moving on. Eventually a local came by in a skiff and picked us up and gave us a ride back.

    From then on I have carried a Bic and never looked back. My backup is a ferro rod. I no longer carry or even buy matches. The Bic will light every time, the Bic is lighter in weight and its about at cheap as they come. I realize that Bic's "have no soul" and are difficult to customize. They don't have that satisfying feel and "clink" when you use them.
    But they work...Every. Single. Time.

    If you still absolutely have to carry a Zippo, that's your own personal choice and preference, but don't try to convince me that they are "better".
    You can get a canister to carry extra fluid made by Zippo.
    https://www.amazon.com/Zippo-121503-.../dp/B000B589JI
    There ain't too many problems you can't fix with $500 or a 30-06.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    If you just want a single refill this will work for you.

    https://www.smkw.com/zippo-fuel-canister-with-keyring

    If you are running off to the woods permanently you should probably carry it in the bottle it came in.

    Some people do not read previous posts, some never do google searches, some can not understand light sarcasm.

    I do not carry an EDC lighter any more, not since the heart attack of '04. That means that zippos are just to much of a PITA to keep filled for emergencies. The "advantages" of a Zippo are greatly offset by having a disposable in the coin tray of the truck that has fluid in it every tie I reach for it.

    I decided to sacrifice the staying lit in the wind, not going the direction I wanted and holding down the button advantages for the 3000 lights capabilities and cost factors and buy disposables in the five packs and scatter them everywhere.

    One in each kit, a couple inside the cooking pots, two or three in each vehicle a couple in the sock drawer, one on the reading table and another in the change bowl by the door and an unopened pack in the kitchen drawer. I even have a leather cover for use of the Bic while at reenactments.

    My EDC fire starters are now ferro rods. Since I do not smoke having a flame constantly available is not necessary. The spark rods never run out of fuel and can be carried on the key ring or in the wallet, or both for use when a fire is an absolute necessity.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 03-28-2017 at 12:53 PM.
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    I carry a Zippo when I go hiking, and when the winds blowing and nothing else will light, the old Zippo will. I found a small heavy metal pill holder at a convenient store. Darned thing is a machined cylinder with a heavy O-ringed screw in cap. Think I paid 5 bucks for it. It hold about 2 refills and has never leaked in my back pack.
    I honestly think this metal pill holder was made with the drug addict in mind, but it sure works good for lighter fluid!! It is similar to some of the containers shown on the below link!

    https://images.search.yahoo.com/sear...lders&fr=yfp-t
    Last edited by Wildthang; 03-28-2017 at 12:41 PM.
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    Senior Member alaskabushman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    some never do google searches
    That's for sure...I googled "Zippo fuel canister" and it was the first thing to come up....
    There ain't too many problems you can't fix with $500 or a 30-06.

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  17. #17
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    That Zippo Fuel canister is kinda cool.....thanks for posting.

    Some where around here is a wind proof cover for a Scripto lighter....that actually worker pretty good....
    I see if I can find it.

    Found it....windsheild slides up....

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    Note the lighter says St Louis Rams 1996...

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    Still lights after 21 plus years.....

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    KInda like it....

    https://www.amazon.com/tobacco-witho...dproof+lighter
    Last edited by hunter63; 03-28-2017 at 01:32 PM.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    Why?......I guess I don't see a preoblem.
    From my original post:

    "The least helpful comment I found about that was: "Why is this an issue? Just keep it in the original container. That obviously works." Not really an exact quote, but pretty close."

    "To start with, the above referenced advice about keeping it in the original container is not good advice. I started looking into this whole thing because the original container that I kept in my car bulged out and became brittle. The original container is plastic, and has a rectangular cross section. When it gets warm, the fluid inside evaporates inside the container (technically, the vapor pressure increases) and pressurizes the container. The pressure causes the rectangular container to swell at the narrow dimension. This stresses and stretches the plastic material and causes it to become brittle, so it cracks easily (not just theory, but experience, too). This makes the original container unsuitable for varying environmental conditions. The older-style metal containers would probably work, but the fluid isn't supplied in those anymore."

  19. #19

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    kyratshooter: "some never do google sarches"

    alaskabushman: "That's for sure...I googled "Zippo fuel canister" and it was the first thing to come up...."

    To be honest, I have seen those little canisters. I'm just a cheapskate son-of-a-biscuit, and I don't want to buy one. I'm a do-it-yourselfer, so I wanted to find something else that would work.

    Of course, if I'm a do-it-yourselfer, you may ask why I'm asking others about it how to solve the problem.

    ;o)

  20. #20

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    Yeah, down inside I know the Bic is the answer.

    I'm just stubborn.

    And sentimental.

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