It's no secret that fire is important to any survival plan. Whether it is sterilizing drinking water, preparing food, or staying warm, the ability to light a fire is essential. Luckily there are many different ways to get a fire going in a pinch, depending on the supplies you have on hand. Since we all have our own preferences, there are many things you may choose to incorporate in your fire starting plan.
One decent option for creating fire is waterproof matches. Possibly the best thing about waterproof matches is that you can actually make your own. This can be done by one of several methods, all of which are fairly inexpensive and easy to do. Although you could get right to the point and just buy matches that have already been waterproofed, it is important to consider the timeline on which you may need them. For example, if the S has already HTF, you aren't going shopping. In such a scenario, knowing how to waterproof your own matches could come in quite handy, so here's how you can do so.
Since candles are likely a part of your stockpile, using them in the making of waterproof matches is ideal. Simply light a candle and let the wax begin to melt. Once this has happened, take the matches you wish to waterproof and dip them into the melted wax. After you dip, be sure to immediately blow on or gently shake each match so the wax dries as quickly as possible; if you skip this step, the wax could seep into the matchhead and ruin it. Once you've made enough waxed matches, store them until the time comes that you need them, at which point you will then need to scrape the wax off with your fingernail prior to striking.
Paraffin wax is another useful item in the survival stock pile. It can be used for making candles, lubricating moving parts, preventing rust, and even as a healing salve for injuries. Beyond that, it can also be used to waterproof matches. Paraffin wax can be melted in a double boiler and used to coat wax heads via dipping in much the same manner as candle wax. The difference is that paraffin wax itself is flammable and the handling of it needs to be done with extreme caution because of this.
Photo: DIY Gift World
Preppers who plan to keep tools on hand after TEOTWAWKI will want to keep them in moving, operable condition, so chances are they will have turpentine on hand. If this applies to you, take some of that turpentine and use it to waterproof matches as well. Simply pour some turpentine into a small container and insert matches head first. Allow the matches to sit for about five minutes before removing them and allowing them to dry. The result will be a long lasting match with water repelling capabilities.
Another option less likely to be found in the survival stockpile (although it is a good way to secure screws!) but that may exist in the bathroom is clear nail polish. It is possible to waterproof matchheads with clear nail polish by painting the tips. Simply paint one side, shake to dry, paint the next, shake to dry, etc. until the whole matchhead is covered. It is important not to let the match become saturated, however, as this can lead to fire starting failure.
The methods above do include some risk so should be conducted in a controlled environment where safety is a priority at all times. There is some possibility that the waterproofing process itself might ruin a match, so there could be some trial and error involved. The best way to determine the amount of these substances that you should apply is to conduct a trial run and see how your matches work, then adjust the amount of treatments applied based on your results.
Is waterproofing matches something you've tried with success? Or are you more inclined to buy those that are already waterproofed? Let us know in the comments.