Consider this: if you’re lost in the wilderness, the one key to your survival is your ability to start and maintain a fire. With a fire, you can make salt or stream water safe to drink, you can cook food, and you can keep warm. Without windproof, waterproof matches, your ability to start a fire is completely dependent upon your conditions- a dangerous scenario when you’re at the mercy of your environment.
They’re small enough that you can have multiple stashes on and around you, since you will likely need more then one in an emergency situation. You’ll always want to do your best to keep them dry, but keep in mind that waterproof matches can withstand rain and water submersion, so don’t be concerned if your body is wet from either. These matches will burn for up to 15 seconds at a time in the worst conditions, and will even burn under water briefly! There’s no question, if you’re not traversing a dessert, waterproof matches are the safest option for you.
It doesn’t matter how many matches you have, if you’re unsheltered from the elements and the wind is blowing while you’re trying to light one, it’ll either burn out before it lights, or the wind will take it right out – making for a frustrating situation when you need that fire to light for your survival. Without question, having the option to keep a match lit for 15 seconds at a time – even in hurricane winds – is the best chance you have at lighting a fire.
For under $10, you can get a couple boxes of 30 or so matches, depending on the brand. Compared to regular matches that are only a few dollars cheaper for a few more matches, and you’re looking at a no brainer situation. It’s well worth it to spend a few more dollars to ensure your own protection in an emergency situation than to be stingy and stupid with your camping trip purchases.
Often times in dangerous situations, we’re put through the ringer multiple times before any relief. You’ll be happy to know that these matches can withstand multiple rounds of wind and water abuse before they’re no good to you. If you want to know just how much they can withstand, buy a box and try it out. Take a cup of water, and dunk an already lit match in and out of it several times. Do the same with attempting to blow the match out – you’ll see they really, really work.
If you’re going camping in a relatively extreme environment or not, “splurging” on windproof, waterproof matches is definitely the wisest thing to do for your own safety.