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Will a BIC Full Sized Lighter Last for Your Entire Thru-Hike?

The BIC full sized lighter is the most common disposable lighter in the United States. We ran some tests to see how long a BIC full sized lighter would last.

Paul Bodnar      Gear Review       4/27/2021
Paul Bodnar
Gear Review
4/27/2021

The BIC lighter is a very common lighter in the United States. It is readily available at grocery stores, gas stations and is very reliable. The BIC lighter is about 3 1/4 inches long, 1 inch wide and ½ inch thick and lasts a long time. With normal use a full sized BIC lighter can last two thru-hikes or over 5,000 miles of hiking!

Weight Full: 21.8 grams (0.77 ounces)
Weight Empty: 17.1 grams (0.60 ounces)
Total Fuel Weight: 4.7 grams (0.17 ounces)
Estimated Number of Lights: 4,500
Typical Cost: $1

How long will the BIC full sized lighter last?

The BIC lighter can provide more than 4,000 lights. However, it really depends on the burn-time of the flame. If you are lighting a stove, you will likely use a 0.75 second flame and burn around 0.001 grams of fuel. This means you have about 4,500 lights from a full sized BIC lighter. However, if you are lighting a campfire, you will probably need at least a 3-second flame, which burns about 0.004 grams of fuel. In this case you will get about 1,100 lights from the BIC lighter. In either case a BIC lighter could easily last a year with limited daily use. From our tests we estimate that a BIC lighter can produce a flame for a total of about 55 minutes. The manufacturer states that the lighter should not stay lit for more than 30 seconds. 

How to Estimate Remaining Fuel

Shine a bright light on the edge of the lighter to illuminate the fuel inside the lighter. Illuminating the lighter in a dark area can make it easier to see the fuel level. Dark colored lighters make it harder to see the fuel level.

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Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association
A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the PCT again in 2010 to do research for his guide book, Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the PCT.