Need Fire? Try Matches!

  1. GPS1504
    To many of us, life includes the luxuries associated with having a roof over our heads. Beneath this roof we enjoy such creature comforts as a place to cook hot meals and stay warm when cold weather arrives. While enjoying such an existence is paramount for much of the population, it may not always be possible to partake in such a lifestyle. The time may come when TEOTWAWKI forces a change and a dependence upon new means to survive.

    Part of life after the SHTF is likely to include leaving the comforts of home. Once you have left or been forced from your home, it will become necessary to find new ways to warm yourself and heat food or boil water to a high enough temperature that will kill the bacteria and microorganisms that can make you or your family extremely ill. The way to do this is with fire, but how will you make that fire?

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    Photo: Post Apocalyptic Survival

    Truth be told, there are plenty of ways to start a fire, some of which are easier and more or less primitive than others. Depending on the method you adopt, starting a fire can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding appropriate tinder and having the energy to perform tasks such as bow drill fire starting, especially if you are in a weakened state due to hunger. There is also Mother Nature with which you must contend, making fire starting an even more complicated process. To put it simply, fire starting is a task you should make as easy as possible on yourself.

    There are many things to consider when it comes to the means by which you will be able to quickly and efficiently start a fire. For example, you should take into consideration that lighters get lost, break, and run out of fluid. You should also remember that fire starters require practice to make them practical as it takes some skill to be able to administer a spark directly to a tinder pile, especially in rainy conditions. This is not to say these tools are useless; quite the opposite, in fact, but also worthy of your consideration is the match.

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    Photo: Rap Genuis

    Good old fashioned safety matches can be used to start a fire but they also have their own set of drawbacks. The standard match book you can pick up in any bar or hotel lobby is going to be useless if it gets wet or if the wind blows it out. The same goes for small boxes of matches with a striking strip, as the chemicals on the match itself must make contact with the strike strip on the box in order to work as it is essentially a reaction between the two that lights the match. However, if these matches stay dry and thus able to serve you, it is possible to split one match into two if you exercise care. This can give you a little extra bang out of each matchbook/matchbox.

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    Photo: Paddling.net

    Better yet are matches designed for survival conditions. Such matches include storm and windproof versions that boast an ability to strike anywhere...or at least almost anywhere. The catch is that these matches will strike easier on some surfaces than others and that striking them does take skill and practice when utilizing varying surfaces. There is not necessarily going to be a 'voila' moment where you will strike your match just right the first time on a previously untried surface. More likely is that you will have to try a time or two to get such matches lit, but the storm and windproof varieties should not let you down once they are aflame (an waterproof match excellent user review video can be seen here). It is also possible to make your own waterproof matches, but due to the exact science this can require, it may be easier to buy them instead.

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    Photo: Homestead and Survival

    Regardless of the means by which you prefer to light your fire, the bottom line is that you are prepared and able to start a fire in any survival scenario that presents itself. Even deserts and tropical climates can get cold at night, and bacteria that resides in water is always a threat. A few useful tips include:

    1. Always have backup. No matter which means of fire starting you prefer, have more than one so your survival is not derailed if something is lost, broken, etc.
    2. Keep your fire starting tools in different places. This means having some in your car, some in your BOB, and some more in your pocket, or other locations that work for you. Keeping everything in one place can become a total loss if that location is compromised.
    3. As with all other survival necessities, be sure to rotate stock as matches can lose usefulness over time.

    What is the fire starting means of choice for you? Is a match good enough or do you prefer a more or less evolved technique? Let us know in the comments!

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