The ability to start a fire is a key factor in surviving in the wild. It can mean the difference between life and death. The conditions won’t be ideal. You need redundant ignition methods to ensure at least one one works in any environment. One of these redundant ignition methods should be a good lighter.
A good lighter cannot be matched for its all-around utility and convenience. It will always be the quickest and simplest method of starting a fire. Most of the time it’s all that you’ll need.
Zippo Classic vs Butane Lighters
The Zippo® Classic Windproof Lighter is considered by many to be the best long-term survival lighter in the world. And rightly so. It features a simple, bulletproof design. All parts are replaceable, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. It can use almost any liquid fuel that will ignite when exposed to a flame. If you don’t have fuel or a wick, you can still use the striker to ignite light dry tinder.
Zippo Classic Lighters do have their cons. The fuel evaporates quickly with the standard housing. It’s not weather resistant either. And the lighter has a candle-like flame, which makes it difficult to ignite things on the ground and in windy conditions.
Butane lighters are less prone to evaporation and are available in direct-flame (torch-like) models. However, they don’t perform well in colder temperatures. The boiling point of butane is approximately 32.9° F (0.5° C) at sea level. As the lighter nears freezing, less butane will be vaporized inside of the lighter and make it difficult to light. The boiling point will drop with an increase in altitude due to reduced pressure. Additionally, direct flame butane lighters don’t perform well at higher elevations as a result of the reduced oxygen and its impact on the air fuel ratio needed for optimal combustion.
Thyrm PyroVault 2.0 Lighter Armor
Thyrm LLC offers a product called the PyroVault® Lighter Armor that’s designed to “up-armor” the classic Zippo for outdoors and survival applications. Thyrm recognized the need for a ruggedized weather-resistant housing that accepts standard Zippo-style lighter inserts, including both fluid and butane direct-flame models. The PyroVault was the result.
There are two generations of PyroVault Lighter Armor: the original PyroVault and the PyroVault 2.0 Lighter Armor. The PyroVault 2.0 is the latest generation of PyroVault.
According to Thyrm COO Deborah Frazier, they listened to their customers about the features they wanted in a compact fire-starting tool. After hundreds of sketches, prototypes, and field tests, they’re thrilled with the outcome.
Features of the PyroVault 2.0:
- Durable dual-wall, dual-color exoskeleton design
- Rugged heat-resistant reinforced polymer construction
- Non-slip texture
- Premium full gasket seal to reduce fuel evaporation and keep dirt, dust and water out (not dive rated or for prolonged immersion)
- Integrated full-size lanyard hole for retention in the field
- Upgraded latch and spring with a larger diameter precision-machined stainless steel pivot axle and a torsion spring for reliable one-handed opening
- New low-profile latch for easy striker-wheel access
- Tinder-Quik™ fire tabs (included) fit inside
- Able to accommodate more butane and fluid lighter inserts, including Zippo’s new line of torch and flame offerings
- Dimensions: 4.5 x 4 x 1.25 in (11.43 x 10.16 x 3.18 cm)
- Weight: 2.1 oz (59.53 g)
- Six different color combinations
- Designed and made in the USA
As with the original PyroVault, the PyroVault 2.0 doesn’t come with an insert, unless you choose to add an insert to your order. Thyrm is an authorized Zippo dealer. Discounted Zippo inserts are available as a companion purchase.
Thyrm offers its custom classic Zippo, powder-coated black and emblazoned with it color axe and gear logo at a reduced price when purchased with the PyroVault. The fluid lighter is a great choice for those that may need to “field refuel” since, as mentioned previously, they work with lots of different flammable liquids possibly found in a survival situation.
Thyrm feels that butane inserts are more geared to urban use or where sustainability isn’t an issue. Although the company originally had no plans to offer butane inserts, they now do as a result of customer demand. Thyrm now offers Zippo brand butane inserts. These include Zippo Single Torch, Double Torch, and Yellow Flame Butane Lighter inserts.
When deciding on the insert, there’s something else to consider. Zippo brand butane inserts are imported from China, whereas Zippo Classic Lighters are made in the USA.
A lot of thought clearly went into the PyroVault 2.0 Lighter Armor. It’s an outstanding product that substantially improves upon the original PyroVault in all respects. I would recommend it to anyone who carries a Zippo in the field.
The full gasket seal on the PyroVault 2.0 provides a much tighter seal than the O-ring on the original PyroVault. The original PyroVault would typically go two to three weeks before the liquid fuel in the Zippo Classic insert evaporated versus around one week or so for a standard Zippo housing.
Fluid evaporation is the major issue with Zippo Classic Lighters and likely the major reason for many purchasing the PyroVault. Any improvement in this regard is a big plus.
The inclusion of the Tinder-Quik in the PyroVault 2.0 was a great idea. Tinder-Quik fire tabs are waterproof, easy to ignite and burn for one to two minutes, giving plenty of time to start a fire. Tinder-Quick can be ignited by the sparks from the flint striker wheel from the Zippo even when the lighter is empty.
The low-profile latch on the PyroVault 2.0 is a significant improvement over the original. The latch on the original PyroVault can interfere with the full operation of the striker wheel on the Zippo Classic Lighter, especially when wearing gloves. The new latch helps mitigate this.
The new dual-wall exoskeleton housing design of the PyroVault 2.0 melds both form and function. The size and configuration of the lanyard hole is much better. The hinge is a lot beefier. The ridges / texturing on the housing provides a very secure grip no matter the environmental conditions. The dual-color housing looks great too.
The new model lacks the MOLLE/PALS compatible clip that’s found on the original. I really never used the clip and I have no gripes about it being eliminated. The lack of a clip results in a sleeker design.
MSRP for the PyroVault 2.0 is $34.99 USD without insert. It’s available in Arid (FDE & Coyote); Desert Hunter (FDE & Rescue Orange); Transitional MC (Ranger Green & FDE); Urban (Dark Urban Grey & Black); Woodland (OD & Coyote); and Woodland Hunter (OD & Rescue Orange). Each PyroVault 2.0 ships in a custom-printed display box.
The PyroVault is available for purchase at Thyrm.com and authorized dealers.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.