Submerged in water, covered with snow, buried in dirt... can anything put these matches out? Fire-starting equipment is one of the most important items of survival gear you can carry. And when it comes to generating a flame in any conditions, UCO Stormproof matches are one of the best options out there (at least when it comes to matches, more on that below).
Instead of a tiny match head, each UCO match is coated for nearly two-thirds of its length with the combustible chemicals that generate the flame. Once struck, each match burns continuously for 15 seconds or more—even if you dunk it in water; expose it to heavy wind; or bury it in dirt. (Check out the video below to see these remarkable matches in action.)
These are not strike-anywhere matches, however, and require that you also carry an accompanying striking strip, which must be protected from moisture to work. The matches also become unusable if they are soaked in water for more than 15 minutes or so; the powder on the match head starts to disintegrate. For these reasons, both the matches and striker should always be carried in a waterproof case.
You can buy a UCO Stormproof Match Kit, which includes both matches and a waterproof case, for around $7. The striking strip fits inside the case as well; when you need to use it, a dedicated slot on the outside of the case accommodates the strip for easy access—a nice feature. The kit is widely available online (including REI and Amazon). You can also just buy the matches; a set of two packs runs $4 to $6, depending where you buy.
UCO Stormproof matches are a good choice for your survival kit, but they are not completely fail-proof. You are SOL if you lose the accompanying striker or if the striker (or matches) end up getting soaked long enough to prevent them from working. For these reasons, the most reliable firestarter you can carry would be a sparking device that works in any conditions, no matter what (though they do require more skill and practice to use effectively). Learn more in The Spark of Life: Fire-Starting Essentials for Any Survival Kit.
Enough about that. Here's the really cool video:
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.