It’s waterproof for up to 5 minutes, has a spare fuel tank, spare flint, works at any altitude – and it’s gorgeous.
The Field Lighter is the lighter I personally use and carry. I’m obsessive about the small details of my gear, and the attention to detail here is simply outstanding.
The first thing I noticed when I took out the lighter was the weight. Holding the Field Lighter in my hand immediately inspired confidence – I felt like I could use it for the rest of my life before passing it on to the grandkids I didn’t even have yet. It's beyond solid.
Unlike the IMCO or Zippo, which are mass produced out of stamped sheet metal, the Field Lighter is hand machined by Japanese master craftsman out of solid brass bar stock, and built to 0.001” tolerances. Each lighter is then tested for quality and individually serial numbered. This is a level of craftsmanship typically reserved for Swiss watches, and virtually unheard of in a lighter.
The base of the lighter is designed like a Russian nesting doll. The body doubles as a spare fuel tank, while the lid unscrews to reveal a separate, O-ring sealed compartment for storing an extra flint.
In testing, the backup fuel container is enough to power the lighter for an additional 10 days of daily use. Or, in an emergency outdoors situation, the fuel can be poured onto a piece of wood and ignited, allowing you to start a fire in even the most severe conditions.
The ignition chamber is also O- ring sealed, and this is where the Field Lighter starts to really crush the competition.
Zippo's and IMCO’s are notorious for running out of fuel, frequently at the worst time. That is because the lighter case in not air tight, and so the naphtha fuel is constantly evaporating, even when not in use. Typically, a fully fueled Zippo will run dry in 2 weeks, while the IMCO will run dry in about 3.
By comparison, with its O-ring sealed ignition chamber, my Field Lighter lasted for 3 months straight without running out of fuel. When I mentioned this to the manufacturer, they told me to stop testing – in their own tests, they had found that the Field lighter can go for up to a year without the fluid evaporating.
In addition to offering long-term performance, the multiple O-ring seals of the Field Lighter makes it completely water proof. There is a small roller on the side of the body, which can be screwed upward and locked into place.
When engaged, the roller provides a waterproof seal for the flint, and clamps the lighter lid over the O-ring in the ignition chamber.
The result is that the lighter is now completely waterproof. I tested this by placing the Field Lighter in a jar of water for 5 minutes.
I took it out, shook the water off, undid the roller, and flicked the sparker. It lit on the very first try, and continued to function as if nothing had happened.
Personally, as a lifelong Zippo user, I can tell you that my Zippos are now sitting in a drawer, their fuel tanks long evaporated. My Field Lighter is in my pocket, and I expect it will be for years to come.
If you’re looking for the ultimate lighter, you’ve found it.