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Will the BIC Mini Lighter Last for Your Entire Thru-Hike?

The BIC Mini lighter is one of the most popular lighters for thru-hiking and backpacking. We ran some tests to see how long a BIC Mini lighter would last.

Paul Bodnar      Gear Review       10/22/2020
Paul Bodnar
Gear Review
10/22/2020

The BIC Mini is one of the most popular lighters used for long-distance hiking. This is because it is small (2 ⅜ inches long and ⅞ inches wide and less than ½ inch thick) and lasts a long time. It is very common for a single BIC Mini to last an entire 2,000 mile hike with plenty of fuel to spare.

Weight Full: 11.5 grams (0.41 ounces)
Weight Empty: 9.3 grams (0.33 ounces)
Total Fuel Weight: 2.2 grams (0.08 ounces)
A pink BIC mini lighter

How long will the BIC Mini last?

The number of times you can light a BIC Mini lighter 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 2,200 lights from a BIC Mini. 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 530 lights from the BIC Mini. In either case a full BIC Mini could easily last an entire 5 to 6 month thru hike with normal use. From our tests we estimate that the BIC Mini can produce a flame for a total of about 26 minutes at an average burn rate of about 0.0014 grams per second. The manufacturer states that the lighter should not stay lit for more than 30 seconds. 

A chart for the flame duration of a BIC Mini lighter.

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. Measure the distance from the bottom of the lighter to the fuel level in the lighter. See chart below to estimate the percentage of fuel remaining.

A phone flashlight shining on a BIC mini lighter.
A phone flashlight shining on a BIC mini lighter.

Tip: Mark the full and empty position on the lighter with a permanent marker to create your own fuel gauge.

A BIC Mini lighter with markings drawn on it for fuel measurements.
A chart for the estimated fuel remaining in a BIC Mini lighter

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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.