So you’ve built yourself a decent arsenal of fine smokes, they’ve been aging to perfection and now it’s finally time to put them to the test. You cut and begin to toast, it’s at this moment you realize your BIC isn’t going to get the job done. Not only are you sucking in the foul-tasting lighter fluid, but the wind proves to be an unexpected enemy as well. Sure you can spring for the matches but you’ll have to use them bundled together if you want any real power, still they’re no match for that unrelenting breeze! I realize this is beginning to sound less like a fictional scenario and more like my personal blunders in cigar etiquette. Believe me, I’ve found more absurd methods to light up.

Thunderbird Torch Lighter insertNow, unless you have the good fortune to have some cute Cuban waitress toast your stogie with bamboo shoots, you’re going to want to find a decent butane torch lighter. These things aren’t hard to find, they come in every size, shape, and color. It’s all about finding a lighter that works for you, with a price to match. In my search for a suitable torch, I wanted something that was a little different, a lighter that I could call my own. This is the part of the story when I’m going to tell you about the Vector Thunderbird Torch Lighter Insert… Sounds impressive, right?

The cool thing about this lighter is that it fits in just about any lighter that uses an insert, namely – Zippo lighters (my favorite)! Zippo lighters are classic, from the “cling” sound they make when opened, to the solid, metal weight in your hand, how could you not love these things? I always wanted a Zippo, but never had an excuse until now. I ordered the $7 insert and paired it with a solid black, metal finish Zippo. Combined, this is about a $24 lighter, not bad considering the Vector insert and Zippo both have a lifetime, no-receipt warranty.

Vector Thunderbird Zippo flameNow for the fun part! When all your fiery pieces arrive, simply slide out the Zippo insert and replace it with your new, butane burning Thunderbird. The Thunderbird insert fills like any other butane lighter, the only hassle is that you’ll have to remove the insert every time it needs to be refilled. Zippo users are used to this, as it’s the same process for the regular insert as well, only less messy and smelly. The Thunderbird fits snugly into the Zippo and feels almost as sturdy as the Zippo insert, it does wobble back and forth a little bit though. The Thunderbird has a plastic bottom for housing the gas with a metal top and clicker button. When in the Zippo, it blends in nicely and looks like it belongs, although the metal does appear a bit cheaper than the Zippo quality. It has a single torch burn that’s power can be adjusted on the underside of the lighter. One drawback is that it doesn’t hold as much gas as other lighters I’ve encountered, my advice is to let it warm up before use, the longer the better.

After using the lighter for a year now, I have only encountered one flaw. When filling up one night, the butane insert got stuck in the butane can and pulled out with the can. Using some tweezers I stuck the little bit back into the lighter, but found that it would pull out with the butane can repeatedly. I put the Vector warranty to the test and sent it back, receipt-less mind you. After about two weeks my insert arrived good as new, and filled with butane (thanks Vector). All in all this is a great lighter, it won’t outperform any top grade triple flame lighters, but it is a great looking alternate for a cheap lighter. If you want something affordable or customizable, this is the way to go, I may even buy a few more Zippos so I can match my lighter with the mood…

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