County COMM Peanut Lighter XL
By Blizzard Actual
If you don’t know what County COMM is, stop reading this, and go there now. If you DO know what County COMM is, you probably don’t have any disposable income left, so you may as well finish reading this article. I could literally go on for hours about the products their website carries. A better idea would be for you to explore their website and find stuff you didn’t know that you needed. A good example is their series of pry bars (You can read Opie’s review here). You just spent $100 or more on that awesome Spyderco, and now you use it to pry on things? Good-bye to that tip!
From their website,
“CountyComm designs, manufactures and sells select products to federal, state and local government agencies. Excess inventories are only sold to the public on www.countycomm.com.”
This review however is for their awesome series of Peanut lighters. Having a reliable means to start a fire needs no explanation. For years, I carried a Zippo lighter. I love the slim design, metallic feel, and proven reliability. However I don’t like having to function check it every day and fill it every 48-72hrs. BIC lighters are awesome because they are fire and forget. But because they have such an excellent price point and are disposable, they will fail you when cold, wet, at extreme altitude, or if the red button is inadvertently depressed while in your pocket.
The County COMM Peanut series of lighters addresses all of these concerns in a small package that doesn’t break the bank. The peanut series of lighters comes in three sizes. I bought the XL. According to specs, the weight of this guy is 80grams (empty). It’s about as long as tube of lip balm, and slightly bigger in diameter. In other unrelated news, Burt’s Bees is the only lip balm you should be using to keep your Kissable Operator Lips time-on-target.
The Peanut XL is actually made by a company called MARATAC, which is a private Machine Shop in California that cranks out some awesome products for County COMM. Their work is amazing. Much like the Giza Pyramids built by Ancient Aliens, the quality and durability of this object is impressive. Once the cap is screwed on, I challenge you to close your eyes, run your finger over the lighter, and find the seam. The tolerances are that tight!
There are two features that truly set the peanut XL apart from other lighters. First is the “candle” feature. Once you have the Peanut lit, you can set it down on a flat surface with relative confidence that it will remain stable, and provide hands-free illumination. I have read reports that the smaller models get incredibly hot when left burning. I don’t see that as a weakness, I see that as thermodynamics. A small steel object with no heat sinc that is in close proximity to an open flame will become very hot very quickly. My peanut XL gets noticeably warm, but not burn your fingers hot. I also haven’t left it lit for long periods of time (I see no reason to waste the fuel).
The second feature that I really appreciate is the O-ring that is engaged when you screw the cap down. I have found that I can go months in between my refuels on the Peanut XL because there is almost zero fuel evaporation. Just to test “Water-proofness” I submerged my Peanut XL in a cup of water for an hour. It lit the first time.
The only major drawback I can find in comparison to a classic Zippo is wind resistance. The Zippo’s chimney is better at supporting a flame than the Peanut XL during windy conditions. However during my field testing, if you can block the wind with your body and cup the Peanut XL in your hand, ignition isn’t a problem during periods of low to moderate winds.
Recently, County COMM introduced an anodized aluminum version of the Peanut XL that while the same dimensions, is about half the weight. I’m such a fan of the Peanut XL that my aluminum version is on the way! Mostly because I like the cool color, but also for the weight savings. Since I don’t need two Peanut XL lighters, Blacksheep Overlord aka Will is doing a give away!
Where to get it: