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Survival Hack: Make Your Own Stormproof Matches

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Make your own stormproof matches that will light in the nastiest of weather using splinters of fatwood and matchhead material. Here’s how in 40 seconds.

Bushcraft expert “Survival Lilly” has a great little DIY survival hack that you can do in no time: making your own stormproof matches. These matches will light in some pretty ugly weather and will stay lit, giving you enough time to safely and efficiently light a potential life-saving fire.

In a survival situation, finding or building a shelter is paramount, and so is starting a fire, both for physical and mental security. These stormproof matches will help you start that fire with greater confidence.

Get some sticks of resin-impregnated pine heartwood – also known as “fatwood” – which you can harvest yourself or purchase from any number of sources. Split those sticks into smaller splinters several inches long by batoning a knife with the grain of the wood.

Next, take your knife and gently scrape the matchhead material from a bunch of wooden matches (normally composed of phosphorus sesquisulfide, sulfur, rosin, and a small amount of paraffin wax), until you accumulate, say, a two or three or more tablespoons worth of the material. Then grind it, with mortar and pestle if you have one, into a powder.

Add a little water to form a thick paste. Apply to the end of a piece of fatwood and allow to thoroughly dry. That’s it!

Now you can light these and they will burn hot and bright, and the fatwood will hold the flame for a good amount of time.

Store the stormproof matches in a dry, waterproof container along with a piece or two of striking surface such as may be found on the side of a matchbox (match striking surfaces are composed of red phosphorus and powdered glass). You can actually use a large ‘wooden match’ box, which has the striking surface already on the sides of the box, to also hold the matches you’ve made.

Now you should be able to confidently light a fire or portable stove unit.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Take 2 Minutes to Learn What to Do if You Fall Through Ice Into a Lake

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Survival Hack: Make Your Own Stormproof Matches