When putting together a survival kit, there are few things more important than fire. Even in the fairly pedestrian world of EDC, it’s nice to have something that can produce a quick flame. Disposable lighters offer a temporary fix, but grow wasteful and expensive in the long run. With this in mind, TrueUtility has put together an interesting solution with the FireStash – A tiny, refillable lighter designed in the Zippo tradition. This UK-based firm was kind enough to provide us with one of these little marvels, shipping it all the way across the pond for testing. Here’s what we found.
At just over 1.75 inches long and nearly 0.6 inches wide, the FireStash is what’s known as a “peanut lighter.” We found this to be a particularly apt description of its size and shape. The shell of this particular nut is composed of a dark chrome plated zinc alloy, punctuated by a neoprene ‘O’ ring at the joint. This tiny piece of material provides a water and airtight seal which means that, unlike a Zippo, the FireStash won’t see its lighter fluid evaporate with the passage of time. This will allow users to make the most of its small fuel reserve.
Up top, the lighter is capped with a 20mm split ring, providing a myriad of carry possibilities. Unscrewing the cap reveals a small wheel, wick, and flint. It’s an impressively compact design, yielding a great deal of sparks with minimal effort. We have our concerns with the ‘O’ ring, however. Its proximity to the lit flame means that it’ll probably melt or wear more quickly than normal, which could compromise the lighter’s air-tight soundness. Thankfully, TrueUtility sends along a spare.
We found the overall construction of the FireStash to be of good quality. The lighter feels solid in the hand, and it rides well in our EDC work kit. We suspect that repeated, heavy-duty use would expose all the weaknesses inherent in a $10 tool but, in our mind, that kind of practice is contrary to TrueUtility’s design. As well as the colloquial term of “peanut lighter” applies to its style, the actual name of the product is just as fitting. It’s a “Fire Stash” – An ignition source that you tuck away for occasional use. Operated within that mindset, it’s an excellent piece of kit.
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the packaging. TrueUtility ships the lighter in a hardshell case with a clasped top, providing customers with a reusable, watertight container. You’ll see similar packaging in the First Aid areas of your local outdoorsmen’s store, containing basic medical kits. This is leaps and bounds ahead of the typical disposable packaging found in similar products.
4.5 stars out of 5
Under indoor or windless conditions, the lighter consistently produces a flame somewhere between the first and third spin of the wheel. Things get a little tougher in restless air, where the FireStash must be sheltered in order to properly light. This is most certainly not a windproof lighter and, to TrueUtility’s credit, it isn’t advertised as such.
That being said, we were able to use the FireStash to light a small charcoal grill, despite the presence of a moderate breeze. This required caution, due to the combination of the lighter’s small flame and the rapid ignition of the starter fluid. We’d recommend using an intermediate flame carrier such as a stick or piece of newspaper. Still, it proved to be a wholly effective option.
While windproofing may not be in the ad copy, there is another buzzword we felt compelled to test – “Waterproof.” To verify this claim, we submerged the FireStash in a cup of water for several minutes. After dabbing the moisture from its exterior, we’re pleased to report that the little fellow produced a flame on the second flick. This bodes well for its ability to stymie fuel evaporation, in addition to keeping out the rain.
We’re not cigarette smokers, so we can’t speak to the FireStash’s ability in that department. As for our cigars – Well, oil lighters don’t play well with large rolls of tobacco. But if you’re looking for something to back up your Bic, you could do much worse than this little keychain companion.
Let’s be clear about our expectations here. The TrueUtility FireStash , as we see it, will almost never be the first choice when it comes to flame. But, whether you’re camping, grilling out, or lighting up, it serves as a perfectly acceptable backup to your primary ignition source.
4.5 stars out of 5
As shown in the photo above, the TrueUtility FireStash has found a home in our EDC work kit. It offers everything we want in a backup fire source, including the ability to refill, re-wick, and re-flint. Fuel is abundant and cheap, further enhancing the long term appeal of the product. Whether you’re looking for a secondary igniter for your bugout bag or a simple lighter for your keychain, the FireStash seems to be a solid option.
While some Amazon reviewers have complained of quality control issues, we found no such flaw with our tester. Should any problems arise, TrueUtiliy covers their products with a two year warranty.
4.5 stars out of 5
Consider what you get for your money. At around $10, the FireStash offers a refillable design boasting air and watertight construction. Material quality is well beyond what we’d expect at this price point, with the added bonus of its reusable packaging. There are several models of peanut lighter on sale for various sums, but we think TrueUtility hit the sweet spot here. We wholeheartedly recommend the FireStash, especially at this price point.
5 stars out of 5
Packaging photo courtesy of TrueUtility.com.
Personal laser engraving available through TrueUtility.
Where to Buy
Amazon (Rated 3.8 out of 5 stars over 393 customer reviews as of 11/28/16)