Survival Skills Blog & Off The Grid Guides

No Fuel- No Problem


You’re out in the woods, stranded. It’s getting dark and you need to make a fire fast.

You have all the twigs, sticks, and logs that you could possibly need. So now all you have to do is get a small flame to set it alight.

You pull out your trusty Zippo and strike it. No luck, you strike it again and again never getting a flame.  It looks like your trusty old zippo is out of fuel and you’re out of luck.

Or are you?

Even if your zippo is bone dry, don’t just toss it aside and hunker down for a cold night in the dark. As long as the flint still produces a good spark you have a chance at fire.

Zippo’s hold fuel by soaking a small piece of cotton batting in the lighter fluid, they pull the fluid up through a wick that catches light as soon as a spark is set to it.  Even when the fluid is gone you still have the cotton batting that will either be completely dry or still contain a small amount of flammable fuel. Either way it should catch rather easily.

To get to the cotton batting, simply remove the inner casing of the lighter by tugging on the perforated metal assembly that is connected to the flint wheel.

Once the inner case is removed turn the lighter over

There will be a small piece of felt that covers the batting, these needs to be moved or completely taken off of the lighter.

Pull out the cotton batting and “fluff” it up.

The more separated the fibers are the easier it will be to get the batting to light.

Once the cotton is fluffed simply place it near the flint wheel and give it a good showering of sparks. With any luck you should have a good start to a roaring fire.



  • Al McLennan says:

    Another good reason to always have a small hip pack with at least a few basic survival items.

  • James NZ says:

    now that is a damn handy thing to remember, my zippo seems to leak if its not stored upright in my pocket.

Leave A Reply