Angelina river camping trip
Hiking and Camping

Homemade Waterproof Matches: Fingernail Polish vs. Candle Wax

Homemade waterproof matches, which is best, fingernail polish or wax, and should we use strike on box or strike anywhere matches? In a recent article we talked about Homemade Waterproof Matches: Strike Anywhere vs. Strike on Box Matches, which seemed to create more questions than it answered. In that article several of the strike anywhere matches failed to light. Some of the strike anywhere matches had their heads break off while others just failed to ignite.

I decided to repeat the experiment but this time with a newly opened box of strike on box and strike anywhere matches. Both boxes have been stored in a closet here at the house for around a decade, but unopened. A week before the experiment both boxes were opened with 10 matches from each box used in the experiment. Five matches from each box were dipped in fingernail polish, and five matches from each box were dipped in candle wax. When we say “unopened”, each box was still in its factory sealed cellophane wrapper. […]

Pill bottle fire starter kit
Disaster Preparedness

Homemade Waterproof Matches: Strike Anywhere vs. Strike on Box Matches

Most people know if you dip a match head in either fingernail polish or candle wax the coating provides a certain degree of waterproofing for the match. This has been well known across the camping, hiking, backpacking, wilderness survival communities for decades. This article sets out to answer a basic question, should you use strike on box or strike anywhere matches? First observation says it should not really matter what type of match you use, but tests showed otherwise.

We started out with a handful of strike on box matches and a handful of strike anywhere matches. Both boxes had been opened for some time, and both boxes were several years old, maybe even a decade old. It would be safe to say both types of matches are “around” the same age. The strike anywhere and strike on box matches are both Diamond brand name.

The fingernail polish for this experiment was Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Hardener. The bottle was picked at random from a local retail outlet store. One of the reasons why this bottle was picked is because the fingernail polish is clear. I wanted to be able to see the type of match – strike on box or strike anywhere – so the polish I bought was clear.
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Homemade Fire Starter Kit
Hiking and Camping

Ultimate Homemade Fire Starter Kit

Let’s put together the perfect, or rather the ultimate fire starter kit.  With so many fire starter kits on the market why should we make one?  Because its a fun way to pass the time.  Surely there are times in the evening when the reader is bored and may want something to pass their time?  So why not break out your camping, hiking, backpacking, survival… gear and tinker around with things?

Some people may toss a lighter or a pill bottle of matches in their backpack and call it a day.  The honest truth is I have done that myself.  There have been times when I threw together a quick and easy fire starter kit, and when I needed to build a fire the kit barely got the job done.  On a camping trip in December 2020 not only did the striker in my fire starter kit fail, but the striker in the lighter also fell apart.  Luckily there was a lighter in the boat survival kit so I was able to get a fire going without a lot of hassle.  Having the primary and the backup fire starting source fail was rather aggravating, so I set out to make a more reliable fire starting kit than just tossing matches in a pill bottle of buying cheap lighters. […]

Hiking and Camping

5 Fire Building Tips

Building a fire is a skill that must be mastered. There is a difference in knowing how to build a fire with a lighter and charcoal lighter fluid, and knowing how to build a fire just before sundown when you’re lost in the woods.

Fire building skills have become a lost art. People have gone from sticks and stones, to matches, and finally to fancy electric lighters that can resist just about any wind.

Several years ago I witnessed a young man hold a match to a piece of oak firewood that was three inches in diameter, and then asked why the wood was not catching on fire. He had no understanding of fire building basics.

When someone is lost in the woods, that is no time to doubt your fire building skills.

1) Alcohol prep pads – These are the things that the nurse uses to clean your skin right before you get a shot. Their good for cleaning wounds and starting fires. The alcohol content allows the vapors to burn before the cloth of the pad to burn, so you might get a couple of minutes of burn time out of 1 pad. Their lightweight, easy to use, easy to light, and multi-purpose items. […]