Picture this: it has been a long grinding day of hiking in the rain. You've arrived at your campsite during the dusky blue twilight and the only thing you want to do now is build a fire to warm up, have some dinner, and then hit the sleeping bag. You grab some matches from your pack, and can feel that they are slightly damp. You strike the match tip across the igniting surface. Does it illuminate? Or will you be suffering a cold damp night with no way to start a fire? That depends on your matches.
UCO is an outdoor gear company and a standard-setter in weatherproof matches, and we got to test out their Stormproof Match Kit. Time and time again, the idea of truly waterproof matches is only made reality when there's an effective product backed by a good company, and that's what you get with these UCO matches.
Waterproof and Windproof
The UCO Stormproof Match Kit promises to be waterproof, so of course I lit one, submerged the entire thing in water, pulled it back out, and observed. The claim that they will burn when wet or even after being dipped in water is not a gimmick-I saw its effectiveness and it actually works. The flame dulled when underwater but sparked right back up to full flame when it was pulled back out.
They also promise to be windproof. I tried blowing one out with my breath and wasn't able to successfully do it. I also brought them along on a trip to the Adirondack Mountain wilderness, and the UCO Stormproof matches made starting a fire pretty simple. I was in a primitive backcountry campsite right up against a lake, so there was a steady breeze. The matches didn't seem affected and light each time I struck them on the striker.
My kit came in a blaze orange, hard plastic carrying case, and there are a few other color options available. Some might think the case itself is a little too bulky, but I have not found that to be true. The entire thing from end to end is just about three inches. It is also very lightweight and yet sturdy enough to be dropped, plus it's waterproof. The cap screws on snugly and contains a rubber O-ring to keep water out and the matches dry until needed.
Burn Time of the UCO Stormproof Matches
The matches have a 15-second burn time. This extended burn time is designed to give the user plenty of time to kindle a flame on whatever flammable material they are using to build a fire. This kit includes the waterproof case, 25 stormproof matches, and three replaceable strikers in total. The UCO Stormproof Match kit can be found on Amazon as well as several online and physical retailer stores.
One negative of these matches is found in the match tip, which contains perchlorate materials. This compound is also commonly found in roadside flares, fireworks, and batteries, but can cause some known harm. It's tagged with a cancer and reproductive harm warning from the State of California.
Tough-to-beat design that sets the standard
Multitude of variations to fit every need
Sturdy carrying case
Good addition to emergency preparedness kit
Easy to store and transport
Weight is higher than other matches
There are plenty of supposedly stormproof matches on the market. Not all live up to the hype. UCO Stormproof matches do.
The UCO Stormproof Match Kit is certainly enough for most adventures, but for an upgrade, try the UCO TITAN Stormproof Match Kit. These extended length matches are touted as the "beefiest, longest-burning windproof and waterproof matches," which retail for $11.99.
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