The TSO Survival Pack: Making Waterproof Matches

Posted on July 23, 2012

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Andy Surra is the Team Surra Outdoors Editor

This edition of the TSO Survival Pack adds fire to your survival kit with waterproof matches. Every time you venture into the wild you must be ready for emergencies and extreme situations that require you to focus on survival. Whether you are hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc.. it is imperative to give yourself a fighting chance if your outdoor adventure turns into a survival situation. A sustained source for creating fire is a ‘Must Have’ for any person facing a survival situation. The best thing that you can keep in your pack to offer a catalyst for fire that will help give you that fighting chance during survival situations are waterproof matches. Waterproof matches provide the ability for consistent and sustained fire to keep you warm, dry, and allow you to boil water for safe drinking and as we all know, warm, dry, and hydrated leads to rescued and safe. Waterproof matches are generally expensive to buy but why buy expense waterproof matches when you can make them yourself for a fraction of the cost?

Below are a few ways to effectively make waterproof matches for your survival pack. Team Surra Outdoors recommends wood stemmed “strike anywhere” matches for your survival pack. If you choose not to use “strike anywhere” matches then you will need to store a striking surface with your waterproof matches.

Turpentine: Matches treated in this way remain waterproof for several months or longer.

Step 1: Pour a few tablespoons of Turpentine into a small container.

Step 2: Place the matches head down into the Turpentine and allow them to soak for 3-5 minutes. Soaking matches in turpentine draws out all the water in the head as well as the wooden stem.

Step 3: Remove the matches from the container and spread them out on a dry piece of paper to dry.

Step 4: Let the matches rest for 30 minutes. This allows for the excess Turpentine to evaporate.

Nail Polish: Prior striking rub these matches against a rough surface to remove the polish and expose the match head. 

Step 1: Dip the match, head first, into a clear nail polish. The match must be submerged far enough to cover a small portion of the wooden stick below the match head.

Step 2: Remove the match and blow on it to hasten the drying process.

Step 3: Place the matches on a table with the match head suspended beyond the edge of the table. (don’t forget to place a piece of newspaper under the matches to capture any drips.)

Candle/Wax: Prior striking remove the wax from the match head with your fingernail or knife

Step 1: Light a candle and let it burn down until about a half of an inch of liquid wax surrounds the candle wick.

Step 2: Extinguish the candle. (I usually pinch the wick with my fingers. If you are afraid to use your fingers, then prepare to be heckled by your friends for your lack of courage.)

Step 3: Dip the match, head first, into the liquid wax. The match must be submerged far enough to cover a small portion of the wooden stick below the match head. (Be careful the wax is HOT!)

Step 4: Remove the match and blow on it to hasten the drying process.

Step 5: Place the matches on a table with the match head suspended beyond the edge of the table. (don’t forget to place a piece of newspaper under the matches to capture any drips.)

Step 6: Once your wax-coated matches have cooled slightly use your fingers to pinch the wax coating on the stick to form a tight seal.

Following these simple steps will help you be ready to face a survival situation in the wild. Keep your waterproof matches in your survival pack and bring your survival pack with you when you are enjoying the great outdoors. Waterproof matches will not do you any good if your survival pack is at home in the closet.

As always send your question to teamsurra@gmail.com. Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @SurraOutdoors.

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