Zippo Emergency Fire Kit Review: Hands-On

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By Bryan Lynch •  10 min read

Fire! One of my favorite topics to talk about. How to start them, keep them going, how to use it, and how to transport it. I gravitate towards this topic like a moth to bright light. This is why, if you can’t tell, that I am excited to try out a new tool for starting a fire. 

For this article, I will be doing a hands-on review of the Zippo Emergency Fire Kit. From the outside, it appears quite simple. A container with some cotton looking material inside and a flint striker on top. But my gut tells me there is a bit more to it than just that. So let’s pop the top on this kit and see what it is all about. 

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit
  • Zippo flint spark wheel
  • Includes 5 easy, lightweight paraffin wax-coated cotton spark tinder; ignites with spark or flame...

Last update on 2024-05-27 at 05:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit Review

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

The Container

The container is made from ABS plastic with a textured grip. You don’t have to worry if the container is dropped overboard because it floats and an O-ring in the cap provides a waterproof seal that further protects the tinder contents from moisture. 

Flint Wheel

The flint used in this kit is the same as those used in Zippo lighters, which I have found to be incredibly reliable. Zippo flints can produce up to 1,700 sparks, more than enough to start a few fires. 


With a molded lanyard hole in the cap and roughly the size of two lighters, this kit is easy to carry and transport. It can be carried in a pack, a glove compartment, and is small enough to be carried in a pants pocket.  

The Tinder

The inside of the container houses five separate rolls of cotton that are coated in paraffin wax. After taking a flame or spark, these tinder rolls are supposed to burn up to five minutes. 

Hands On Field Test!

Before purchasing this product, I did my research and saw a view videos and pictures of it. But when it arrived, I was still surprised by its size. It is a bit smaller than I was expecting, but big things can come in small packages. 

To give you an idea of its size I laid out the kit with a full-sized lighter on the far left (lighter is not included). After the lighter is the red cap, the container, and the five individual rolls of tinder. 

Time to Get Wet!

The first thing that I wanted to test out was the kit’s water resistance. I unscrewed the top black portion that houses the flint and striker and placed all five rolls into the container. I then replaced the striker portion and screwed on the red cap. After making sure everything was tight I dropped the whole thing into a pitcher of water. 

And sure enough, the container floats! I rolled it over a few times, pushed it around and watched it bob up and down. I let it sit in the water for several minutes before deciding to take the test a step further. I grabbed the container and completely submerged it. 

Roughly thirty seconds later I removed the container, gave it a few shakes, and inspected the inside. I removed the red cap and the top portion was dry. I then removed the striker portion and all of the tinder on the inside was dry as well. It floats and appears to be quite waterproof as well! 

Keep in mind that the red cap needs to be on for the container to be waterproof. My assumption, because I did not test this out, is that if the red cap is off water could make its way into the container through the flint striker area. 

Timed Test

The next two things that I wanted to know were how easy is it to ignite the tinder and how long does it burn for. The packaging claims that one of the tinder rolls, which resemble little rolls of TP, burn for five minutes. I decided to compare the burn time of the Zippo tinder to an ordinary cotton ball. 

While the cotton ball is quite a bit larger than the tinder rolls, its burn time was roughly thirty seconds. 

Next, I moved onto the Zippo tinder roll. To use the tinder properly I grabbed a small stick which I then pushed through the small hole in the center of the tinder. When the stick is pushed through it will grab and push out the material from the inside of the roll. I then used my fingers to pull apart and fluff up the tinder.  

Looking at the top of the container, where the striker is, you will notice an arrow pointing in one direction. Place the tinder next to the striker on the side that has the arrow because this is where the sparks come from. 

I was pleasantly surprised that it only took one roll of the striker to produce a few sparks that ignited the tinder. From here the stick can be used to guide the flaming tinder into an already prepared stack of kindling. 

Once my kindling started to burn I removed the stick with the tinder on it and set it to the side to finish the time trial. At three minutes and fifteen seconds, the tinder roll smoldered out into a small pile of black ash. Not a full five minutes but three minutes, fifteen seconds isn’t too bad. 

Wet Tinder Test

I was about to wrap up my testing when I got to thinking. The container is waterproof but what if while I was handling one of the tinder rolls, I dropped it and it got wet. Would it still work?

So, I grabbed an extra roll of tinder and dunked it not once, but twice in my container of water. I shook it off and wiped my hands dry. I then fluffed out the material and tried igniting it with the flint striker. I tried this several times in different spots and it would not ignite

The tinder was not soaked but it was damp. Now, I always have a lighter on me, as everyone should carry one, so I was curious if I could light it with that. I put the lighter flame next to the damp tinder and within a few seconds, it caught and burned for several minutes. 

Replacing the Flint

Ihave used Zippo lighters for years so replacing a flint is old hat for me.But I know many people have not ever done this so I thought I would show you a quick step by step for replacing the flint. 

When replacing the flint, it is best to do this on a flat surface. If you are doing this in the field, I highly recommend laying down a bandana, a towel, a shirt or use the inside of a ballcap for keeping all of the contents contained. Flints are extremely small, hard to handle and easily lost.

Step 1.

The first thing you will need is new flints. They come in little clear containers as shown in the picture below. Stores that sell Zippo lighters tend to carry the flints as well. 

Step 2. 

You will need a small flat head screwdriver to gain access to the old flint. Remove the black lid and turn it upside down. You will see a bronze looking tube with a screw on the end of it. This tube houses a spring and the flint. 

Step 3.

Use the screwdriver and turn the screw counterclockwise to loosen it. I found that you will need to hold the top of the striker wheel when using the screwdriver, otherwise, it freely turns.

Once the screw is loose, I will unscrew it the rest of the way by hand. At this point, I make sure that the screw head is pointed into the center of my hand, my palm, as I unscrew it. The reason is that there is a spring inside the tube that will pop out once the screw is removed and you do not want to lose it. 

Step 4.  

Once the screw is loose, pull it, and the attached spring out. Turn the black cap upright so that the old flint falls out. You will notice that on one end of the spring there is the screw and on the opposite end, there is a small metal plunger attached to the spring. The plunger closely resembles a flint but is not the flint so do not remove it from the spring. 

In the picture below I laid out the spring, the old flint above it, and the new flint is what my finger is pointing to. Seeing how small the flints are you now understand why this should be done on a flat surface or somewhere where the flint will not be lost. 

Step 5. 

Place the new flint into the bronze tube, insert and compress the spring, and finally tighten down the screw. 

Step 6.

Go ahead and test out the new flint by rolling the striker wheel once or twice. 

Step 7

To make sure that I am as prepared as possible with this kit, I went ahead and put an extra flint and a small flat head screwdriver bit into the container with tinder. This way I can replace the flint in the field if I need too. I know it is a kind of hard to see but in the picture you can just make out the tip of the screwdriver sticking out of the center of the tinder roll.  

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit Pros and Cons



Zippo Emergency Fire Kit
  • Zippo flint spark wheel
  • Includes 5 easy, lightweight paraffin wax-coated cotton spark tinder; ignites with spark or flame...

Last update on 2024-05-27 at 05:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Questions About The Product

Q: Does the cotton tinder work when wet?

A: From my test, if the tinder becomes wet it still works but I needed a flame source, a lighter or a match, to ignite it. If your last roll becomes wet and time permits, wait and allow for it to dry out. 

Q: Is it difficult to replace the flint?

A: Not at all. Follow the procedure laid out above and practice the steps a few times before needing to do it in the field. 

Q: Is the container fully waterproof?

A: Yes, as long as the red lid is on, the container is waterproof. However, after finding out that the striker wheel can rotate, I feel that water could get in through that point. So always keep the red lid on when the kit is not in use.  


If you are looking for a new or an additional fire starting aid, you cannot go wrong with this product. It is extremely affordable, compact, lightweight, comes in a waterproof container, easy to use, and it is very effective. 

While this is an appropriate tool for everyone, I think that this tool would be great for kids. Having the tinder attached to the end of a stick makes it easier to ignite and to place under stacked kindling.  The Zippo Emergency Fire Kit is a winner in my book!

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit
  • Zippo flint spark wheel
  • Includes 5 easy, lightweight paraffin wax-coated cotton spark tinder; ignites with spark or flame...

Last update on 2024-05-27 at 05:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.