The ultimate firestarter

By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Managing Editor

With the appearance of a miniature shotgun, the Bison Airlighter packs no less of a punch. Made for igniting charcoal grills, fire pits or fireplaces, the Airlighter boasts a 2,600-F, butane-fueled flame that, together with the built-in fan, can start even the stingiest of wood or briquettes.

The device comes with a USB cord to power up to 30 minutes of fan time, and a 1.5-ounce butane can that allows for 15 minutes of burn time per each refill.

At 2 pounds, 10 ounces, the lighter is loaded with special features. A built-in flashlight helps locate wood or coals in the dark, and three distinct handle settings allow for situation-specific positioning. Oh, and it comes complete with a bottle opener, just in case.

I used Bison’s machine to start my woodstove on a recent chilly night and, while I wasn’t disappointed in the result, the Airlighter proved a bit overwhelming for the smallish space. At nearly 2-feet long, it was a bit cumbersome in the confined area, but no less ignited the wood (sans kindling) within two minutes.

You wouldn’t use the Bison Airlighter to spark your pal’s cigar, but for outdoor charcoal grills or bonfires this summer, look no further.

Bison Airlighter $79.95, Bison butane fuel refill can $6.95