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

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)
Estimated Number of Lights: 2,200
Typical Cost: $1
A pink BIC mini lighter

How long will the BIC Mini last?

The Bic Mini lighter will provide around 2,200 lights but it really does 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 a 5 to 6 month long hike with daily 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