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Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Thoughts on Bics - Modifications

More Thoughts on Bics - Modifications

The Safety
Bics nowadays come with a "child proof" safety, which is mostly just annoying. You used to have to bend them and break them off, but now they're a separate piece of metal that pops out easily. Just insert the tip of a pocket knife or something similar and pop it off. Be prepared for the little safety tab to fly across the room though.

One Bic lighter modification that I find handy is attaching a simple paracord loop. This allows you to neck-carry the Bic or attach it to your belt for retention if you're pocket carrying. I keep the inner core of the paracord intact, but if you wanted a prettier package, you could remove that--the full paracord adds some bulk, but also means that you have more cordage if needed.

Bic lighter with paracord lanyard. I recommend bright colored Bics
for better visibility in a pack or if dropped.
I use a simple wrap of Gorilla tape (uber-duct tape) to attach the paracord, and using that method also gives you a bit of high-strength tape if needed. I've also seen it done other ways--super glue and electrical tape comes to mind--but this is fast and easy. I have other lighters with a better-looking tape wrap, so if you want to take your time you can have a better-looking end product. If you don't want the 
whole neck-carrying length, you can just 
shorten the amount of cordage, down to 
just a small loop for attaching to a key chain.

I plan on adding a magnetized heavy duty sewing needle to the back of these lighters in the near future, as seen on PigMonkey's blog and Dave Canterbury's videos. It would fit under the tape wrap, no problemo, with no weight, and would give an extra option if it came to that. Makeshift compass, sewing and so on.

Keeping the Gas In
Some people have issues with the Bic's gas button getting depressed accidentally, causing all of the gas to escape, thus rendering the lighter inoperable. BFE Labs has a great little post on using O-rings as a "safety" for the button. I've also seen it done with small zip ties. I personally haven't had this problem with a Bic, but it's a good idea to play it safe.

Water is one of the great enemies of the Bic lighter, though they can usually be dried out fairly easily. The easiest solution is carrying the Bic in some kind of waterproof container, of which a freezer weight Ziploc is the cheapest and a pretty good choice if you don't smash it around too much. For a more durable option, there are small Pelican and Otterbox cases, as well as metal tubes. In Dave Canterbury's book, The Pathfinder System: Survivability for the Common Man, he has a picture of a small metal water proof tube with a pair of Wetfire cubes and a Mini bic lighter. I've been unable to track down the tube, but it looks to be a very good option for carrying a survival Bic. If anyone knows the source, let me know.

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