Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thunderbird: The Zippo that never Dries Out

I’m sure this happens to other people as well.
As times goes by and my taste in gear keeps changing or maybe evolving I’m sometimes caught between what is practical and what I simply enjoy carrying.
The Zippo would be a good example of such a thing. While not the most dependable fire starter, there is a romantic or maybe a certain nostalgic air about it. Many post-apocalyptic movies show Zippos doing their thing, from the brain damage inducing “The Postman” to “Wall-e”,  it seems that the last man on Earth (or the last robot)  will tote around a Zippo… a Zippo that for some mysterious reason still has fuel in it after decades have passed…
And here is where practical clashes with romantic: The thing just wont work after a couple weeks. The lighter fluid simply dries out and you’re left with is a pretty small flint striker.
That’s where the Thunderbird insert comes in. 
Butane Lighter Insert for Flip-top Lighters
I knew about the Thunderbird for some time but never actually tried one.  I liked the idea of using my Zippos, but I was a bit worried about the actual insert’s quality. Turns out the Thunderbird is pretty well made and comes with a two year no proof warranty. While the gas container is small, it can be regulated to a low flame that should last a few months if used with discretion. A smoker may find himself refilling it too often, maybe even more than the original insert if he smokes a lot!
But for the rest of us this is just great. The Thunderbird insert allows us to carry our Zippos and forget about refilling it, and still have a flame when needed.
The Thunderbird is also esthetically appealing. It looks very much like a normal Zippo and people wont be able to tell the difference unless they check the lighter closely and find just a little hole where the wick is supposed to be.

One of the nicest things about the Thunderbird insert is that it uses the original flint and wheel spark mechanism. This means that it can still be used to start fires even if we run out of gas as long as we can get hold of some dry tinder.
It will be a few more months of use and carrying around before I get a better idea of how durable the insert is but I like what I see so far and the reviews are very good.
If you want to bring back for retirement an old Zippo of yours, give the Thunderbird insert a try.


Anonymous said...

Ronson Jetlite.

Anonymous said...

or make your own o-ring from scrap rubber

or buy a 'peanut' lighter from countycomm.com that has a rubber o-ring built-in (fuel doesn't evaporate)

Anonymous said...

I bought a thunderbird for my cigars in 2007. in 2013 I havnt had to service it or maintain it other than refilling butane.