By Blake Alma
Matches are a great and simple way to start a fire in a survival situation as long as they are waterproof. If your matches get wet they will never ignite.
I only have a few problems with matches. Matches burn out fast, they can easily be blown out by the wind, and they are not typically waterproof. I would always recommend carrying a small pack of matches in your pocket at all times, in the event you need them. Also, having matches in your car, at home, and in your office is ideal. If the power goes out you have light. If you have no way to cook your food, a match can get your fire going to cook up your meal.
How To Make Waterproof Matches With Finger Nail Polish:
Take your ordinary match and finger nail polish and dip the match into the polish. Make sure the entire tip of the match is covered in polish.
Pull the match out of the polish and let it dry. It takes a good while for it to dry. I would recommend hanging the match on the edge of your table, so that it dries faster and it will not make you get finger nail polish everywhere.
I would waterproof more than one match at a time!
How To Make Waterproof Matches With Candle Wax:
What you’ll need:
- A candle
- Ordinary matches
- A water faucet
Light your candle with a match or lighter. Let it burn for about 2 minutes.#Step 2
Blow out the candle. Then quickly take an unused match and dip the tip of the match in the candle wax. Make sure the enter tip is covered in wax.
After you have removed the match from the candle, go take that match to a water faucet and get it wet.
Go outside and strike that match. It may take more than one strike to remove the wax so that it can ignite the match. The match should light. The wax will also make the match burn a little longer.
If the match did not light, apply more wax to another match. Waterproofing more than one match at a time is ideal.
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About Blake Alma:
Blake is the host of The Outdoorsman’s Art Radio Show on WRVO Radio and the founder and managing editor at The Art of an Outdoorsman.
Another good way is to wrap the match in a few layers of paper towel strip. Then dip the whole thing in wax. The match is still waterproof, and it’s long-burning because the paper towel soaks up the melted wax and acts as a wick. Burns for minutes, not seconds.
For an instant fire starter put Vaseline on pure cotton balls and stuff them in a small RX bottle. Use a small piece of a coated cotton ball and use a flint / Steel or other spark source. Instant fire with no blowing.
You should also dip the other end of the match to be sure that the whole match is waterproof. also store them in a mason jar with O2 packets.
Unlike the “quality-control” of yesteryears I have found that the current batches of strike-anywhere type matches are sub-standard. (I am referencing a brand of wooden sticks with; two part tips; one white part for ignition, and underneath a red part as a hot fuel), I find that the current manufactured matches often have irregular dipped tips, i.e., some tips will spark ok, but flyaway from the hard fuel part failing to catch fire. For my purposes I require that every single match has the best potential to work the first time, everytime. So.., what I do to provide good quality matches, (to begin with), is to sort out a box. From a box of 250 matches, I average 50 matches that are of the same quality as those found altogether in boxes made in the 1950’s, ’60’s. In other words, match heads that have plenty of white material covering plenty of red material altogether covering a good solid wooden stick. Extremely easy to do.., lol, but then I am stuck leftovers, i.e., using a couple of hundred substandard matches for general use.., often requiring several sticks to start a fire in my firebox. To further enhance my reliable matches I then coat them in ordinary melted wax, and store a hundred, or so, in a recycled metal tin can, i.e., like those ordinarily used to contain imported corned beef. These thusly completed are stored away safely. I can use a portion of these for simple, or extended outings, or should the shtf, I have matches I can count on to work properly. BTW; Really like the finger nail polish method, and will try that out on my next batch. Like too the idea of coating the entire stick to prevent the absorption of moisture which will cause the match head to fail.
I was thrilled to see the strike anywhere matches return until I tried striking one. After much frustration I found that if I held the match with the head on the pad of my finger with only the white part slightly ahead of my finger I could usually get the match to light off in 1-3 attempts.
I have found really good matches are those that are a foot long for starting fires in fireplaces or to use to light pilot lights. Of course I have other matches on hand.
I have used both methods over the years. I store them in empty medicine bottles and add a small strip of sand paper.
one could glue sand paper on the inside of the top and make sure to store the matches upside down.
One add the silica gel packs to the inside with matches. those little packets that come with electronic devices, in some medical prescription bottles, some seasonings/ big packs of beef jerky…The little package insides that tells you NOT to eat it.
One can also use Chap stick/Lip Balms of any brand to help start fires…..cut off a small piece you can use a piece of cloth say from a bandana or other cloth/string to act as a wick.
Another good tinder is 000 (Triple Ought) steel wool. one pad can start a lot of fires. Pinch and pull a small piece and fluff it up by pulling if and making a loose “ball” and using like normal tinder.
after 6 months the wax will leach into the match head and ruin it. this is good only for short term.