Best Survival Matches Hand-Picked By An Outdoor Expert

By Will Brendza | Updated: 05/12/2024

Best Survival MatchesToday, I’ve got something really important to share…

A Complete Guide To Buying (& Using) Stormproof Survival Matches

Because if a dog is man’s best friend, fire is his “best” survival tool.

We cook with it, hunt with it, and stay warm because of it.

And there are few fire tools as time-tested as The Mighty Match.

They’re both simple and effective.

But today, there’s an overwhelming number of match choices on the market…

And some are incredible…many are trash!

So today, let’s find out which ones are worthy of survival:

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Match Spark

Stormproof Vs. Standard Matches

Yes, they all produce fire, but some are far more reliable for survival than others.

So, how does one choose?

↓ Stormproof Matches Vs. Standard Match

How Does A Matches Work Anyway?

Understanding how matches work is essential – especially if you’d like to try and make your own at some point.

Despite the simplicity of matches, there’s a lot of physics going on when you strike a match.

First, a match head and a striker strip are made of materials that react violently together.

The match heads comprise potassium chlorate, sulfur, and powdered glass.

The striker strips have sand, powdered glass, and red phosphorous in them.

When a match head runs along a striker strip, pressure and speed combine to create friction.

Friction is the resistance to one surface or object when moving over another.

High friction is high resistance, and high resistance creates heat.

Friction is the heat generated when you rub your hands together quickly when cold.

In fact, a match strike creates enough friction to ignite the incendiary chemicals in the match head.

Those chemicals burn bright and fast.

Hot enough to catch the matches’ wooden (or sometimes cardboard) “wick” on fire.

In the simplest terms:

  • The striker strip provides the friction to ignite the match head
  • The match head serves as an ignition to get the wooden wick beneath it
  • The wooden wick burns slowly, extending the life of the match flame

For a more technical explanation of how matches work, check out this excellent video (with slow-motion match burn):

↓ How Do Matches Work?

Some Matches are Better Than Others 

Not all matches are created equal.

Cheap Cardboard Matches

Terrible For Survival!

Cheap cardboard matches (those given away at your local liquor store) are far less effective than “strike anywhere” matches.

These cardboard matches are meant to light cigarettes and cigars or be tossed into firepits.

That isn’t to say they are useless for survival, but they are not nearly as effective.

They burn too fast and not as hot; they’re less durable and much more susceptible to water damage.

Strike Anywhere Matches

Better But Not Ideal.

Even beyond the “strike anywhere” matches, better matches are made explicitly for survival.

These matches are called “stormproof” or “waterproof” matches because they’re water and wind-resistant.

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Different Matches

Best Survival Matches On The Market Today

When researching matches, a few options stand out from the rest.

But they’re not always the first options to pop up on a Google search.

Nor are they options that can be found in any outdoor or surplus store.

Here’s a list of our favorite survival matches on the market today:

1. Our Top Pick
FREE Everstryke™ Waterproof Match

The Everstryke is not your typical match; it's better.

It's made from stainless steel, so the Ferro rod is reusable for up to 15,000 long burning strikes! You rarely have to replace it.

The Ferro rod is tipped with a steel bit. You strike it against a piece of flint built onto the outside of the container.

A cotton wick that fits snugly through the end of the Ferro rod, so it takes only one strike to get an extremely hot flame!

The strikes are measured at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. And the flame sustains an impressive 600 degrees.

When finished, screw the match rod back into place inside the container.

An O-ring built into the Ferro rod prevents fuel from evaporating when it’s screwed into place. And it also helps keep water out of the container.

This metal match easily fits inside a pants pocket or backpack pocket. It's lightweight, reusable, durable, and generally the perfect addition to any survival pack.

The EverStryke Match is an excellent upgrade and investment to your survival gear.

Note: When this post was published, you could get an EverStryke Match FREE - just pay for shipping. Click here to see if this deal is still available.

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↓ Everstryke Match Tutorial


UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case

This kit comes with 25 matches and a durable, windproof plastic container that can hold up to 40 matches simultaneously.

Plus, this kit includes three replaceable striker strips. The replaceable striker strips are the most useful feature of these matches.

Sometimes striker strips can get worn out after a lot of use, but that's a non-issue with this survival match kit!

Once your striker strip is about to kick the bucket, just replace it, and you're back in business.

The UCO Stormproof matches are also windproof and waterproof and will burn for up to 15 seconds. The case floats if you drop them in water.

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↓ UCO Stormproof Matches

Coghlan's 940BP Waterproof Matches, 4 Pack

The Coghlan's are affordable, reliable, and time-tested.

The Coghlan brand has been around for a long time and is a favorite among the outdoor community.

Hikers, backpackers, hunters, fishermen, and survivalists alike stand by Coghlan’s matches.

One of the biggest advantages of this brand is they're affordable. You can buy them in bulk. But, these matches do not come with extras such as a waterproof container.

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↓ Best Waterproof Matches | Coghlans

EXOTAC - MATCHCAP XL Waterproof Camping Matches

Sometimes it's less about the actual matches and more about the container.

The EXOTAC MATCHCAP XL is a high-quality match holder perfect for survival situations. This match holder is made from high-grade aluminum, which makes it both lightweight and durable.

It has a waterproof design that keeps your matches safe and dry in any weather conditions.

One of the standout features of the EXOTAC MATCHCAP XL is its integrated striker. This makes it incredibly easy to light your matches, even in windy or wet conditions.

The XL version is larger than the standard MATCHCAP, which means it can hold up to 40 matches (depending on the match size).

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↓ Exotac Matchcap XL Review

Zippo Typhoon Match Kit

The Zippo Typhoon Match Kit comes with a waterproof case, Typhoon matches, and a striker.

The case is made of durable ABS plastic and features a silicone O-ring seal that keeps the contents dry even when submerged in water.

The Typhoon match kit contains 15 stormproof matches that can burn for up to 30 seconds each. The matches have a unique design that includes a long stem and a large head, making them easy to light even in harsh conditions.

The striker is also waterproof and features a textured surface that provides a good grip, even with wet hands.

Overall, the Zippo Typhoon Match Kit is a reliable and high-quality survival kit that can be a great addition to any camping or outdoor gear.

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↓ Zippo Typhoon Match Kit

Survival Gear Checklist eBook Cover -with fire piston on a rock and campfire in the background

Want a free 54 item survival gear checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

How to Make Stormproof Matches

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Proverb

The same logic stands true for matches.

Buying stormproof matches is a step towards preparing yourself for a survival situation.

But it only gets you what you buy.

If you buy 50, then you’ve got 50, and when you run out of them, your luck is likely running out, too.

That’s why it is so important to understand how to make your own survival matches.

If you know how to make your own, you’ll always be able to re-stock them as needed.

This is a valuable survival skill, and it’s easier than you might imagine.

There are several ways to do it:

Method 1: Using Wax

Get your hands on a box of basic “strike anywhere” matches and a wax candle.

Simply light the candle and let the wax melt.

Candles in jars are particularly useful for this since the melted wax can’t drip away or escape.

Once you have got a good pool of wax, dip the match heads into the wax.

Place the matches on top of the box they came in, with the waxed heads hanging off so that they can dry evenly.

That’s it!

This method is one of the simplest ways to waterproof your matches so they can be used even if they get wet.

But keep in mind:

These are not weather-proof or windproof.

This technique does little more than keep moisture off of the match head before use.

In fact, you usually have to scrape the wax off of the tips before striking them to get them to light.

But in a wet survival scenario, this technique can be a lifesaver!

↓ DIY Waterproof Matches

Method 2: Using Shellac

Like the wax method, you’ll need to buy some strike-anywhere matches and some shellac.

Place the matches, head-down, in a small container filled with shellac.

Let them soak.

Once the matches are finished soaking, remove them and place them on a sheet of newspaper to dry.

Allow the matches about 20 minutes to dry out before storing them in a container.

Matches with shellac will remain good for several months.

And you don’t have to remove the terpene before striking.

They will ignite all on their own, given enough friction.

↓ Waterproofing Your Matches Made Easy

Method 3: Using Nail Polish

Say you don’t have any candles or terpene on hand, and you need matches STAT.

One way to waterproof in a pinch is to use nail polish like wax or terpene.

Dip the head of your strike anywhere matches an eighth of an inch down into the nail polish.

Then, let them dry out, with the head hanging off of a table or the matchbox.

↓ How To Make Waterproof Match Stick

Final Thoughts

Survival becomes a more difficult game without fire.

Even crappy old matches are preferable to nothing.

That’s why it’s vital to pack stormproof matches with your survival gear.

Even if you’ve packed a survival lighter or a flint striker, double down and add some survival matches.

You never know when you’ll need them or what you’ll need them for.

Understanding how to make waterproof matches is also beneficial for survival knowledge.

Sure, having a professionally made, expert-tested match is a good thing.

But you never know when you’ll be stuck in a cold, wet survival situation and must keep your matches dry.

Waterproofing matches is a simple process and one that could save your life someday.

No bug-out bag is complete without a supply of survival matches.

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Will Brendza

Will Brendza

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