How To: Make Your Own Waterproof Matches for Faster, Easier Fire-Starting

Make Your Own Waterproof Matches for Faster, Easier Fire-Starting

Camping in the rain sucks. It's not enough to deal with your clothes and tent being soaked—it makes starting a fire nearly impossible if you're not carrying waterproof matches. You can buy them pretty much anywhere that sells camping gear, but if you've got regular matches and a candle at home, they're just as easy to make yourself..

Method #1. Use Fingernail Polish

Possibly the easiest way to waterproof matches is to just paint strike-anywhere matches with fingernail polish. The nail polish keeps out moisture, but still allows the matches to strike like normal as long as you stay away from glittery polishes.

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Method #2: Use Candle or Paraffin Wax

If you don't have a bottle of nail polish lying around, wax works just as well. You don't need to be picky about it, either. A candle (even a tea light) will work, or you can melt a block of paraffin wax if you have it.

The simplest way is to melt some candle wax and dip the match heads in it. Blow on the wax to dry it as quickly as possible so it doesn't soak into the match heads. Once it dries, all you have to do is scrape off the wax and the matches should strike just like regular ones.

Check out the post on Wayward Girls' Crafts for more info.

Method #3. Use Shellac

If you're planning on using your matches right away, wax or fingernail polish is more than sufficient, but some people claim that both degrade over time if the matches have to be stored for a while before use. Brian Green likes to dip them in shellac instead because it holds up better if the matches aren't going to be used immediately.

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Check out his blog for more details.

Method #4. Use Wax & Yarn

You can also make matches into all-in-one fire starters, if you've got a little more time on your hands. Wrap a piece of yarn around each match, then dip it several times in candle or paraffin wax to build up a thick coat. The wax and yarn will act as an accelerant to help get your fire going, and will burn for about 5 minutes each.

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Head over to Field and Stream for more details. You could also skip the yarn and use newspaper instead.

More Fire-Starting Options...

If making fire-starter waterproof matches sounds like too much work, you can easily try one of the other three methods and make some separate tinder. One of the easiest ways is to soak old wine corks in alcohol and take them with you. You can also use cotton balls soaked in Vaseline or dryer lint in cardboard as DIY tinder.

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You could also make DIY char cloth, which only needs a spark from some rocks or a DIY fire piston to get going. If you have your car nearby, it's even possible to start a fire using your car battery, or you can go all old school with some hand-drilling and bowing techniques.

What's your favorite method for making waterproof matches or fire-starters? Share!

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