Living on the Road

Split-Pea Lighter


Tiny firestarter

The Split Pea Lighter ($21) is the “world’s smallest lighter,” a stainless steel tube 1.3″ high and 0.5″ in diameter. Unscrew the top, flick the flint wheel, and behold! Fire!

Now I don’t smoke, and rarely do I need to start fires here in Brooklyn. But the Split Pea appeals to my inner gearhead. It’s ridiculously small, well machined, and functions well. It’s sealed so that you can carry it in your bag, Every Day Carry kit, purse, etc. without worrying about fuel spills or spontaneous combustion. Plus, you never know when you might need fire, right?

I’ve carried a number of fire-starters in my EDC kit, and the Split Pea is the one I’ve settled on for durability, weight and size. I wouldn’t want to light 20 cigarettes a day with it — it’s almost *too* small — but for occasional or emergency use it’s perfect.


It’s a great gift because it’s useful, fairly cheap ($11.50), and universal in appeal. If you’re giving it to someone in person, it’s a good idea to fuel it up with liquid lighter fluid (from the hardware store) first, so they can try it out right away. (It’s probably a bad idea to send a fueled-up lighter through the mails, although apparently you can take it with you through TSA security as a carry-on item.)

Even people who don’t carry lighters will like the Split Pea.

-- Mike Everett-Lane 04/1/19

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2010 — editors)