How to Modify a Mini-Bic Lighter into a Handy Survival Tool

How to Modify a Mini-Bic Lighter into a Handy Survival Tool


Bic lighters are arguably some of the best and most reliable disposable lighters out there, and they are worth their weight in gold during an emergency.  They are durable, rugged and can be ignited under adverse conditions.  They usually produce a stable flame that lights on the first or second attempt, and they don’t run out of fuel as fast as some of their less-expensive counterparts. 

Mini Bic lighters may seem small, but you can take advantage of their compact size by making a few, minor modifications and enhancements.  Let’s look at a few examples of things that you can do to and with your Mini Bic lighter to turn it into a handy survival tool. 

Key Ring

One of the most practical things to do with Bic Minis is to attach a key ring to the far end of the metal shield that protects the flame.  All you need to do is take the tip of a can opener, survival knife or nail to poke two holes through the center/front of the lighter below the hole where the flame exists.  You can even use a drill to make more precise cuts.  Feed the ring through the holes and you’re good to go.  This is a great way to make it harder to lose these small lighters.  The added holes can also allow more oxygen to get into the system which can produce a bigger flame as well.


Bic Minis are the perfect length to accommodate some strips of duct tape.  This can make it easier to keep layers of tape intact since their edges are less-likely to get disturbed and frayed as they do on larger lighters.  It’s also easier to roll on the strips of tape, and the tape can also give the lighter a little bit more heft.  This can make them easier to grip, particularly when you are using it in adverse conditions or are wearing gloves.

Trigger Lock

You can attach a small zip tie around the top of where the plastic meets the metal on the lighter in order to create a trigger lock.  This is a simple way to prevent the red lever from being depressed as a way to conserve fuel.  Think of how easily it is to accidentally push the lever down while handling the lighter or how it can get depressed as it is in your pocket.  This simple trick can dramatically extend the useful life of your lighter and help you to avoid unintentionally running out of fuel at the worst possible time.  The zip tie is also easy to pop off and back on so you can use the lighter as needed.

Light Diffuser

You can make a nice diffuser for your small flashlight or LED on your phone by using a white lighter.  Take some red vinyl tape and wrap it around the top half of the lighter, up to where the plastic meets the metal.  Wrap it around once so that it will still allow light to pass through.  Place the flashlight or LED against one of the taped sides, and it should produce a reddish beam that will allow you to take advantage of nighttime illumination that’s easier on the eyes.  Red shields have been used for decades as a way to look at things in the dark without compromising your night vision.

These are just a few examples of many different ways that you can modify your lighter to serve more than one purpose.  Remember that re-purposing items without destroying them can give you more resources in the field when other items are scarce.  Always keep an eye out for simple enhancements that can produce invaluable benefits during a crisis.

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