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#290290 - 08/21/18 01:35 AM Giving paper matches another look
clearwater Offline
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Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1065
Loc: Channeled Scablands
I am having little luck using the strike anywhere matches of today. Even dry ones struck on the side of the box work about 50% of the time. Paper matches seem to work just fine when dry and are easier to light stoves, liquid fuel, tinder down close to the ground etc. than Bic lighters and ferro rods as well as the wooden matches. They also fit fine in a wallet. I am going to start bringing them in the backcountry along with a Bic and a ferro rod.

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#290291 - 08/21/18 02:05 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
hikermor Online   content
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
Agreed that current strike anywheres are really bad. But I have gone to the heavily coated premium matches. I usually light a fire with either the Bic or a ferro rod, which works great with gas canisters.


Edited by hikermor (08/21/18 12:10 PM)
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#290325 - 08/26/18 02:25 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I think we discussed this in another thread, but:

Paper matches do seem to age well. I have even gotten some wet, left them to dry out, and they still worked well. If you use three or four together, you have a real fire lighter. When older folks clear out their houses, they will often find a box of paper matches with advertising or wedding stuff inscribed -- how times have changed!

Modern wooden matches (strike anywhere and safety types) seem to degrade and disintegrate upon any contact with moisture.

But then again, maybe not all: some Web commenters say that UCO strike-anywhere matches are still very good. I seem to recall that UCO lifeboat matches were quite good, so maybe there's hope.

Curiously, wooden matches are a hot topic of debate for pipe and cigar aficionados, who view butane lighters as nothing short of barbarians at the gate.

Still, for me, you'll find Bic's in my pocket and scattered through my gear. And yes, they will work in freezing conditions -- just warm them in your hand for half a minute and shake vigorously. For long term storage, leave them sealed in original packages, as the flint will slowly swell when exposed to atmospheric moisture.

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#290327 - 08/26/18 02:39 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
And then, there's entertainment: I remember an older kid showing me how to turn paper matches into firecrackers.

Take two packs, arrange them so the heads are against the striker strips, wrap very tightly with masking tape, and throw against a concrete sidewalk. Ka-bang!

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#290394 - 09/02/18 08:50 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Tirec Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 48
Loc: Rocky Mountain West
Paper matches make fun little rockets, too.
https://youtu.be/znPME1jqFNc

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#290419 - 09/06/18 10:06 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Tirec]
hikermor Online   content
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
Just tried using strike anywhere matches on a simple task- fusing freshly cut nylon straps. They were lousy and I abandoned them - the reluctantly lighting match head wouldn't even set the match stick . Pretty worthless.

So I dug down deep and tried some paper matches - came with some MRE's a fairly long time ago. While better than the strike anywheres, they didn't last long enough to fuse a thin 1/2" nylon strap.

Finally whipped out a Bic and the job was accomplished in the blink of an eye.

For me, use oversize wooden matches (Ucos are one brand) designed especially for emergency situations, a Bic or similar, or some kind of ferro rod, coupled with dependable tinder (soaked cotton balls or similar).

I really miss the dependable wooden matches of days gone by. I used them regularly to light fires, some in fairly critical circumstances
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#290420 - 09/07/18 12:01 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Ratch Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 26
Not to hijack, but I found an old survival kit in my car the other day. The bic lighter in it was dry, no fluid. I don’t think the flick lever was depressed at all (or even unhappy!). Do these lose their fluid over time? The kit was maybe ten years old.

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#290421 - 09/07/18 12:18 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Ratch]
hikermor Online   content
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You say you found the kit in your car, so the question might be, "What were the maximum temps within the car? (and minimum, too, for that matter). Car interiors see wide swings in temperature, which is generally not good for long term storage.

Your point is pertinent, because the question is really what is the most dependable igniting technique which can be stored long term?
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#290422 - 09/07/18 06:36 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Ratch]
M_a_x Offline
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Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1029
Loc: Germany
The seals in the lighters degrade over time. That may lead to leakage. When the lighter gets too warm, it may vent some pressure.
Cheaper lighters sometimes seem to clog the gas system. They are full but do not allow gas to flow, when the lever is pressed.
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#290423 - 09/07/18 03:10 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: hikermor]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: hikermor
So I dug down deep and tried some paper matches - came with some MRE's a fairly long time ago. While better than the strike anywheres, they didn't last long enough to fuse a thin 1/2" nylon strap.


FWIW, one trick with paper matches: use two at a time, and tear them all the way down through the base (where the staple is). Burns longer and hotter.

Still hard to beat a mini-Bic in your pocket though. grin

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#290425 - 09/07/18 09:08 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Ratch Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 26
Live in north, so wide swings from summer to winter. In future, going to have uco matches, fire steel.

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#290426 - 09/07/18 10:14 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Ratch]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: Ratch
Live in north, so wide swings from summer to winter. In future, going to have uco matches, fire steel.


Like any mass-produced item, there are a small percentage of Bics with a valve that is not 100%.

But they are so cheap and lightweight that there's no excuse for not having several within reach. And it's wise to check your gear every year.

I tend to have redundant fire starting methods, though. I think your approach is a good one. But don't automatically give up on Bics.

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#290428 - 09/08/18 03:49 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: hikermor]
WesleyH Offline
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Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 82
Loc: OKLAHOMA
I have to wonder if they have not toned the recipe of the match mix over the years due to liability issues. Maybe some idiot had a pocket full and they ignited.

A little research however turned up part of the problem. Strike anywhere matches are considered hazardous material for shipping purposes, at least one manufacturer discontinued the product because of the outrageous shipping charges associated with the product.

But that only explains the decreased availability of the product. Not the sub-par performance, which as I noted, has likely been dialed back. The fact that they are used by meth cooks probably has not helped the problem. (Anyone try to buy sudafed these days?)

Without a doubt, the do not ignite as easily and certainly seem to deteriorate in no time.


Edited by WesleyH (09/08/18 04:10 AM)

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#290436 - 09/08/18 03:26 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1429
Loc: North Carolina
Zippo Typhoon Matches

Standard disclaimer, just a customer. I did want to see how well this container help up.

The matches work as they are advertised, much like the UCO and REI stormproof matches. They are probably manufactured the same way. Do not try to light them the way most people try to light matches. It is better to push them across the striker rather than drag them sideways. They will break, like any other matches.

The case does float, and the seal on the match compartment keeps the water out even when completely submerged. I was more worried about the strike pad under the bottom cap. It is not a screw cap with an O ring like the match compartment. However, 20 minutes submerged a few inches under water, it did not allow any water to reach the strike pad. I am pleasantly surprised. I have used the UCO and REI stormproof matches a great deal, and these perform just as well.

Do be aware of the form factor and size of the container. It is great for a backpack or large pocket, but too large for most survival kits.

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#290450 - 09/09/18 09:40 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Ratch Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 26
We need to do survival time capsules. For it to have statistical significance, say 24 persons to stash away uco matches, a couple of bic lighters, etc. dig them out in ten years and see what works. Or sadly, see who’s still here (said the 70 year old guy).

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#290553 - 09/15/18 05:57 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
acropolis5 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/18/06
Posts: 348
Interesting read re paper matches. So my questions are: 1) Are all paper matches of the same quality? 2). Is there a “superior” brand or type of paper match, e.g. one that is more water resistant or burns longer? & 3) Is one brand or brands better than any other(s) and if so, where can you buy them?

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#290554 - 09/15/18 07:17 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
I don't think I have ever seen paper matches for sale by them selves. Usually they are distributed free with logos, as advertising. One exception might be those that are included in MRE/C ration packages. They probably have to meet some mil-spec or another and are perhaps supposed to be somewhat waterproof.

The military paper matches I recently played with were quite old and didn't seem to very good (Not everything gets better with age!)

If you want a good dependable single match, go for the Uco/REI type with lots of ignitable material on the stick; they seem to do quite well.
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#290555 - 09/15/18 07:28 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Montanero]
Russ Offline
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Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4964
Loc: SOCAL
I ordered the Zippo Typhoon Matches Montanero mentioned and they are huge. They look similar to the UCO Titan Stormproof matches available at REI and elsewhere. Is one better than the other? Probably very similar in performance. I’ll carry a few of these with my Bic lighter and put a check next to “Fire” on my list.

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#290557 - 09/16/18 12:45 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Russ]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2174
Loc: Great Plains
Originally Posted By: Russ
I ordered the Zippo Typhoon Matches Montanero mentioned and they are huge. They look similar to the UCO Titan Stormproof matches available at REI and elsewhere. Is one better than the other? Probably very similar in performance. I’ll carry a few of these with my Bic lighter and put a check next to “Fire” on my list.


The UCO matches are a lot better which surprised me. Despite being slightly smaller than the Zippos they actually burn longer and much more fiercely. The UCO are also much harder to extinguish.
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#290562 - 09/16/18 04:06 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: acropolis5]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: acropolis5
Interesting read re paper matches. So my questions are: 1) Are all paper matches of the same quality? 2). Is there a “superior” brand or type of paper match, e.g. one that is more water resistant or burns longer? & 3) Is one brand or brands better than any other(s) and if so, where can you buy them?


I haven't used a paper match made after about 1985, so I can't comment on the state of the current ones. I do see bricks of them in restaurant supply stores and dollar stores. Watch out, though: the modern trend is to make everything so cheaply that it's almost useless. (I may pick some up just for testing.)

For wilderness/survival use, paper matches are not adequate IMO. Go with reliable methods: Bics, lifeboat matches, and ferro rods.

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#290610 - 09/19/18 03:43 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
acropolis5 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/18/06
Posts: 348
Doug.. Phaedrus, et al, thanx for the advice. My city and my hiking EDC kits have yellow mini-Bics with a “collar” of a few wraps of electrical tape under the “ trigger”, to prevent accidental discharge. I also have a vial of hurricane matches + strikers, Unico, I think. I don’t always have a ferro rod. Maybe I should?

Currently my city kit also contains one of the small boxes of Diamond (mini) strike anywhere matches, wrapped in Saran Wrap. They seem to work , in good conditions anyway, for friends who have a need to light-up or burn rope ends, etc. My consideration of paper matches was the thought of putting some + a striker, not a whole pack, in my wallet, to back up my daily pocketed mini-Bic.

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#290626 - 09/20/18 12:55 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: acropolis5]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I hadn't thought of paper matches in a wallet. Since each matchbook is two "sheets" of matches stapled together, it's easy (and free) to try. I would be interested to see how the heads hold up when squeezed all the time -- would the material wear off? An interesting experiment!

As for ferro rods, they're useful and fun to use. (Also they impress youngsters -- he made fire without matches!) But there are situations, in my experience anyway, where an actual flame is the only way to force damp natural kindling to burn. So, I still think of it as a backup with strengths and weaknesses.

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#290628 - 09/20/18 02:36 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: dougwalkabout]
Montanero Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1429
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
As for ferro rods, they're useful and fun to use. (Also they impress youngsters -- he made fire without matches!) But there are situations, in my experience anyway, where an actual flame is the only way to force damp natural kindling to burn. So, I still think of it as a backup with strengths and weaknesses.


Ferro rods require good tinder. If you can't make it from available materials then you must carry it.

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#290633 - 09/20/18 04:15 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Montanero]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Ferro rods require good tinder. If you can't make it from available materials then you must carry it.

Agreed. I have always packed a candle stub, though, so I thought "no chance" with a ferro rod. But YouTube claims it will work if you scrape off the wax and feather the wick. I need to try this.

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#290636 - 09/20/18 05:04 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: dougwalkabout]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
You can also increase your odds with a bit of alcohol based hand sanitizer/accelerant (Purell is a common brand). it can be obtained in very small bottles.
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#290637 - 09/20/18 05:11 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: hikermor]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
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Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1919
Loc: Emerald City, OZ
Originally Posted By: hikermor
You can also increase your odds with a bit of alcohol based hand sanitizer/accelerant (Purell is a common brand). it can be obtained in very small bottles.

Good to know. I EDC Medline hand sanitizer.

Jeanette Isabelle
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#290735 - 09/28/18 03:41 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
acropolis5 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/18/06
Posts: 348
Mmmmmm....just thinking. Would an alcohol prep pad be good to pair with a wallet carried ferro rod?

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#290737 - 09/28/18 06:02 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
wildman800 Offline
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Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
Sounds reasonable but an actual test for lightability and duration of burn would provide a simple yes or no answer.


Edited by wildman800 (09/28/18 06:03 AM)
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#290738 - 09/28/18 06:50 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: acropolis5]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2174
Loc: Great Plains
Originally Posted By: acropolis5
Mmmmmm....just thinking. Would an alcohol prep pad be good to pair with a wallet carried ferro rod?


I wouldn't bother personally. Even when stored properly those little individual alcohol prep pads seem to dry out within a year or two. Carried in a wallet I have to think they'll dry out much faster. Once the alcohol is gone they're not much use.
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#290739 - 09/28/18 11:49 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1429
Loc: North Carolina
Alcohol prep pads are not packaged well enough for that and they do not burn very long. It will be dried out when you need it, and it wouldn't do the job well either.

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#290741 - 09/28/18 05:01 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: dougwalkabout]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1065
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Ferro rods require good tinder. If you can't make it from available materials then you must carry it.

Agreed. I have always packed a candle stub, though, so I thought "no chance" with a ferro rod. But YouTube claims it will work if you scrape off the wax and feather the wick. I need to try this.


It works well if you carry a candle with a pre charred (lit once) wick. Spread it apart a bit, then flake some of the rod into the wick. Then spark.

Doubt it would work well wet, but haven't tried it.

Vasaline smeared on cotton balls or cotton face wipes for makeup seem to work okay damp. Haven't tried them thoroughly soaked either.

In Scouts we had a SERE instructor teach us to rub a knife back and forth on clothes to create fuzz. Basically pocket fuzz. That worked to catch sparks.

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#290742 - 09/28/18 05:14 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1429
Loc: North Carolina
Cotton cloth works well. Well and synthetics not so much.

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#290743 - 09/28/18 05:51 PM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
I usually carry a bandanna (preferably red). I wonder how that would work, perhaps roughed up with a knife, and doused with some sort of accelerant (Vaseline or alcohol/purell)? Probably tear/cut off a small square so the rest would be available for other uses...

Inquiring minds want to know...
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#290744 - 09/29/18 12:24 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1429
Loc: North Carolina
It is more the fuzz you scrape off and ignite. But worth a try!!!

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#290745 - 09/30/18 02:20 AM Re: Giving paper matches another look [Re: clearwater]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2728
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: clearwater
It works well if you carry a candle with a pre charred (lit once) wick. Spread it apart a bit, then flake some of the rod into the wick. Then spark.

Useful idea! That's what some YouTubers suggested also. I hadn't thought of a ferro rod as tinder as well as spark, but why the heck not?


Edited by dougwalkabout (09/30/18 02:20 AM)

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