Strike anywhere matches are one of the most important, but often overlooked, items to have in your survival stockpile, hiking backpacking, hunting backpack or bug out bag. They provide you a significant leg up over standard matches when it comes to starting a fire under difficult circumstances.
Match containers help ensure that your strike anywhere matches, windproof matches, waterproof matches or other matches don’t become victims of wet conditions. They’re inexpensive, durable, compact and they can save your bacon in a tight spot. Below, we’re going to look at the best matches and containers on the market today.
1. Diamond Strike Anywhere Matches
Diamond matches have been around for a long time and are a fixture in kitchens and campsites from Alabama to Alaska. With the company’s long history of creating high-quality, dependable matches it shouldn’t be a surprise that their Strike Anywhere Matches lead off our list. These aren’t big matches, but you can drag them on any hard surface and they spring to life. There are 32 in a box and, in this case, you get 10 boxes, or 320 high-quality matches.
These are wood matches that have a bit of spine to them, so they won’t snap easily when you’re trying to light them. They burn slow to give you an opportunity to light that difficult kindling, and the flame tends to be clean and steady. They’re not waterproof, so keep that in mind. But if you have a good container to store them in you’ll be ready for almost anything.
2. UCO Titan Stormproof Long Burning Matches
While a lot of companies get cute with the term “stormproof” UCO is not messing around. These are the real thing with magnesium in the tips. That magnesium allows the matches to continue to smolder even if they’re completely submerged in water, which means no afternoon rainstorm is going to intimidate them.
These UCO Titans are big, beefy matches more than 4 inches long, with most of that length taken up by the impressive, never-say-die tip. Not only are they truly waterproof, they’re also 100% windproof. In addition, each match burns intensely for up to 30 seconds. About the only downside here is that they don’t come with their own waterproof container. You’ll have to buy one separately. Not that the matches need it, but the cardboard box won’t last too long in the rain.
3. Zippo Typhoon Matches
If you’re going into the woods for an extended stay, or you’re putting together an emergency preparedness stockpile, you really don’t want to bother with a Zippo lighter. Sure, they’re stylish as all get out, but the fuel in them typically evaporates after only a couple of days. What you would be wise taking instead is the company’s Typhoon Matches.
These puppies have heads down to their knees and will create an intense flame for nearly 30 seconds. If you can’t get your tinder started with these you need to get different tinder. Zippo Typhoon Matches are affordable, dependable, reasonably windproof, reasonably waterproof and will be there for you when the chips are down. They’ll also allow you to save your fancy Zippo lighter for impressing friends or whoever.
4. Cevinee Trade Waterproof EDC Keychain Capsule Tube
The smart camper, hunter or prepper has a nice waterproof container to hold their emergency matches. This one from Cevinee Trade is among the best. It’s crafted from ultra-tough 6061 aluminum that won’t rust, scratch or break and it’s perfect for stashing your big, bold waterproof or strike anywhere matches.
The Cevinee Trade Waterproof EDC tube also has a strike pad affixed to the inside. That’s a huge plus because if your match box were to get wet it wouldn’t matter if you had the world’s best windproof matches because you’d have no way to light them. But the benefits don’t stop there. This container also comes with its own emergency sewing kit, 10 windproof matches and has a rubber O-ring inside to seal the contents against the elements.
5. PBL Strike Anywhere Matches w/Tin Container
This handsome, convenient match tin from PBL comes stocked with more than 150 strike anywhere matches. Each match is about 2 1/2 inches long and can be easily lit on just about any hard surface. The tin itself will slip into your shirt or pants pocket and weighs almost nothing.
Inside the tin there’s a small piece of burlap to protect the matches from contacting the hard surface and perhaps igniting. The burlap has the added advantage of muffling the sound of the matches moving about inside the tin that might otherwise be pretty annoying. These are a solid choice for campers, hunters, hikers and preppers.
6. UCO Compact Strike Anywhere Matches
UCO makes some outstanding high-performance, dependable matches and these strike anywhere matches are a good example. They’ll spark up effectively when dragged along almost any hard surface. The wooden shaft burns slowly and evenly. And at about 3 inches long you’ll get plenty of burn time to get your fire going.
While they’re not hard-core stormproof matches you’ll find these matches are plenty useful in all but the most extreme situations. The only downside is that they don’t come with a waterproof container and you should really have one. So, you’ll have to buy that separately. Aside from that though it’s all good.
7. Diamond Long Reach Matches 75 count
Diamond makes another appearance on our list with their Long Reach Matches. These matches are about 9 1/2 inches long and will provide several minutes of burn time. If you’re dealing with troublesome tinder that’s something you’ll appreciate. Originally intended for fireplaces and wood burning stoves these make a smart addition to your survival stockpile or your hunting or camping kit.
There are 75 long matches in each package, and with their extra thick stems that means you have a couple of hours worth of fire-lighting potential. The downside is that they’re not produced with outdoor life in mind, so you’ll need to find a suitably dry container to carry them in. Made in the US from responsibly grown and harvested trees.
8. UCO Allumettes Stormproof Matches
UCO is back again, this time with their Allumettes Stormproof Matches. Like their Titan Stormproof Matches these will continue to smolder even if completely submerged in water. The matches light easily on the included strike pad and burn intensely for up to 15 seconds no matter how hard the wind is blowing.
Each match is nearly 3 inches long and there are 50 matches in each package. They’re an invaluable addition to your survival stockpile, hunting kit, backpack, or camping gear. You don’t really need to worry about them getting wet, but you’ll want to buy a good container for them anyway because the cardboard box they come in won’t stand up to a downpour.
9. UCO Windproof and Waterproof Survival Matches
UCO does it again with their dependable and convenient Windproof and Waterproof Survival Matches. Like their Allumettes and their Titan matches these are completely waterproof with magnesium in the tip to prevent them from going out. They’re also entirely windproof and can hold their own even in a howling gale.
The best thing about these survival matches is that they come with their own sealed case, complete with strike pad on the side. That will ensure they don’t get loose inside your pack and that you always have a reliable way to light them right at your fingertips. If there’s a downside here it’s that there’s only 15 in a case. But you can use the case to store other matches as well.
10. Sweet Water Decor Strike Anywhere Matches
If your survival instincts run toward the fashionable you’ll want to be sure to have some Sweet Water Decor Strike Anywhere Matches on hand at all times. Kidding aside, these are very reliable, easy to light emergency matches that you’ll find plenty of use for around the house, the campsite or if you’re on foot evacuating in an emergency.
Each match is nearly 4 inches long and burns nice and slow and steady for more than half a minute. They also come in a waterproof (and tres stylish) resealable jar that you can restock later with whatever type of emergency matches you have. Great to have around the family campsite to light gas lanterns, BBQ grills and good old fashioned camp fires.
Strike anywhere matches, along with other types of outdoor/emergency matches and containers to carry them in, are important things to have on hand in case of an emergency, or if you plan to spend time hunting, camping or backpacking. It’s also important to note that not all such matches are the same. Let’s take a look at some of their differences, benefits, history and more.
What Are the Different Kinds of Matches?
Everyone is familiar with the small cardboard book of matches that used to be given away just about everywhere as a marketing tool. Those aren’t what we’re talking about here. For the purposes of this post we’re focusing on emergency, safety and outdoor matches. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s look at the different types of matches.
Strike anywhere matches – The appeal of strike anywhere matches is contained in their name. Being able to spark them up by striking them on any hard surface is a major advantage over other matches. You don’t need to worry about keeping the side of the matchbook dry, or losing the matchbook and being unable to light the matches. Just take one out of the container (or your pocket) , strike it on a hard surface and you’ve got fire.
Safety matches – Safety matches get their name from the fact that you can only light them by striking them on the side of the box or container they came in. The phosphorus (1) that is present on the tip of strike anywhere matches has been removed and embedded in the strike panel that’s glued to the box. As such, there is no chance of these matches accidentally igniting, which is a remote possibility with strike anywhere matches.
Waterproof matches – Most matches sold today as waterproof are actually just water resistant. But they can still help you in wet situations when you need to start a fire and are good to have in your emergency kit or backpack. The head on this type of match has been coated in a very thin layer of wax that prevents them from being ruined if you get caught in the rain, or the matches fall in water.
Stormproof matches – Just as most matches marketed these days as “waterproof” are actually just water resistant, most marketed as “stormproof” today are just water resistant matches that have been rebranded. But there are exceptions to that rule and we have included several of them in the above list. We’ll go into a little more detail regarding true stormproof matches below.
Long matches – Long matches live up to their name. They’re typically anywhere from 9 inches to a foot long. Why so long? Because they’re intended to be used in fireplaces, hot water heaters, wood burning stoves and grills. You’ll find some on our list because their incredible length (and the extra burn time that length provides) can be very handy in an emergency if your short matches keep burning out before you get your fire going.
Survival matches – You might see these around and wonder how they’re different from waterproof or stormproof matches. In reality they’re the same matches, just sold using a different name.
What are the Benefits of the Different Matches and Containers?
Strike Anywhere Matches are Key Emergency Kit – Fire remains one of the basic necessities for life and one of the things that separate us from the animals (2). Most people aren’t aware of that until the SHTF, or they’re deep in the woods for the first time. When the trappings of the modern world have either been ripped away from you, or you have left them behind for a while on purpose, you will need to be able to build a fire. Strike anywhere matches make that task a lot easier than just about any other kind of matches.
Containers Ensure Your Matches Remain Viable – Not all windproof or outdoor matches are waterproof. In fact, not all waterproof matches come in waterproof boxes, which means that if the box gets wet you have no way to light your windproof matches. When you think about it that way having a good waterproof container for your windproof matches might, in some cases, negate the need to buy waterproof matches.
Windproof Matches Are Ideal for Camping – There are a lot of things that separate the outdoors from the indoors. One of the most obvious is the wind. If you don’t like the wind blowing in your window at home you can just close the window. If you’re thousands of feet up the side of a mountain and the wind is pushing down the hillside like a freight train (3) you can’t block it out by closing the window. You have to deal with it. Windproof matches help you do that.
Containers Ensure Your Matches Stay Together – If you put a standard box of matches into your backpack or bug out bag, there’s a good chance that when you finally go to retrieve them that the matches will be all over the place. You could take extra steps to secure them, or you could choose the easy path and get a good waterproof container to store them in.
Waterproof Matches Can Help You Fend Off Hypothermia – There are few things worse than being deep in the woods, in a cold rain, and being unable to start a fire because your matches got soaked. You need to get a fire going and dry out or you risk hypothermia (4), but your standard matches have been rendered useless. At times like that you’ll be very glad you have your waterproof matches with you.
Strike Anywhere Matches Don’t Require a Special Ignition Source – All the other matches we’ve talked about are useful in certain situations, but not great in every situation you may encounter. Strike anywhere matches come as close as any type of match to being true all-purpose matches. If they didn’t come waterproofed you can even make them so by dipping the tip in a bit of candle wax.
Matches Stored in a Waterproof Container Will Remain Viable for Years – There are examples of matches kept in dry places that have remained viable for 50 years or more. Contrast that with a Zippo lighter that will dry up in just a few weeks, or a disposable lighter whose fuel will evaporate in a couple of years. So when you’re thinking about things to stockpile for an emergency (5), think emergency matches in a nice waterproof container.
Emergency Matches are Cost-Effective – The ability to make a fire in an emergency situation is priceless. All you need to do to ensure that ability is to spend a few bucks on some high quality matches, and a good container to store them in. Few other must-have survival items are so cost-effective.
Who Invented Matches?
Matches are one of those things, like zippers, that we take for granted. Surely they’ve been with us since the dawn of civilization, right? Nope. The humble, but indispensable, match is actually less than 200 years old. It was invented by an Englishman named John Walker (6) in 1827. The poor bloke never bothered to patent them and just a few years later others in the UK and Europe had taken his idea and were manufacturing and selling their own.
Is There a Difference Between Stormproof and Waterproof Matches?
In most cases, matches marketed as stormproof are little different from those marketed as waterproof. True stormproof matches actually have the ability to continue burning for a short time even if submerged in water. Once removed from the water the flame will reignite when it comes back in contact with oxygen. This ability to continue smoldering even when submerged is due to the use of magnesium (7) in the tip, which is not affected by water. But again, most matches sold as stormproof are actually just windproof and/or waterproof, meaning they won’t blow out easily and/or they’ll light even in the rain. So be careful, and make sure you get real stormproof matches like the ones on our list.
Can I Make My Own Waterproof Matches?
You can make your own water resistant matches, though as we’ve just seen they’re not the same as true waterproof matches. Water resistant matches can be easily created by dipping the tips of your windproof, or strike anywhere matches, in nail polish (8) or candle wax. These substances will harden quickly and prevent water from undermining the flammable material in the match head. The coating will also peel away easily when you scrape the match along the strike pad, and they may even help it burn a few seconds longer.
The Bottom Line
The ability to make a fire while hunting, mountain climbing or in an emergency situation can be the difference between life and death. When the weather closes in, even experienced hunters or climbers can succumb to hypothermia (9) in short order. Unfortunately, mother nature doesn’t really care if you live or die and often presents you with conditions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to start a fire with standard matches or even a disposable lighter.
That’s when you need strike anywhere, windproof, waterproof, or stormproof matches like the ones profiled above. These matches give you a fighting chance against even the worst conditions, provided you are able to find something to burn. It’s also an excellent idea to either buy matches that come in their own waterproof container, or to buy a separate waterproof container to store your matches in. If you are stockpiling items for a potential emergency, or planning to go camping, hunting or mountain climbing, make sure you stock up on the right kind of matches and containers.