The Best Stormproof Matches for Emergencies and Survival [2021]

Stormproof matches are an absolutely ridiculous modern marvel. Some smart guys figured out that dipping a heavily coated phosphorus onto a small stick creates the ultimate fire starter: a match that cannot be put out by any amount of wind or water. They are amazingly fun to use (and test!) but they are also one of the most reliable survival tools you can have in your arsenal to create a fire.

Most matches we all are familiar with are the cheap matchbooks from bars and random places. Strike-anywhere and long-burn matches have their uses, but when it comes to survival… stormproof matches just outclass the rest. There are several sizes and brands to pick from, so you have a few options when you decide to add them to your survival kit. This is where we come in. We’ve researched all of the stormproof matches, tested them in the elements, and have selected the overall best, budget pick, and a high quality upgrade option. If you need the best stormproof match for your survival kit, one of our suggestions will be the perfect fit.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


UCO Stormproof Matches

The Best Stormproof Matches

UCO Stormproof Matches

Waterproof, Windproof, Stormproof Staple

UCO got it right with their standard stormproof matches that get the job done in any weather condition without being overkill.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

UCO makes the preferred stormproof match, with their matches sitting right in the middle of performance and value. The matches are 2.75 inches (7 cm), giving a 15 second burn. They are fully submergible and have a persistent flame in any conditions. UCO Stormproof Matches are our top pick after testing, due to their superior value and effectiveness.

The waterproof floating case fits 40 matches, so you’ll have plenty to spare. UCO makes all sorts of high-visibility camping and survival equipment, so naturally safety orange is the default case color. But the case is also available in high-vis yellow and forest green, if you prefer either of those. A brighter color case may help keep you from misplacing them though. UCO also makes the Titan series stormproof matches, which were a close consideration for our upgrade pick. Those matches are larger and have a burn time of over 25 seconds, but do come at a higher cost.


Coghlan's Storm Matches

Budget Stormproof Matches

Coghlan’s Storm Matches

No-Frills, Effective, Good Value

These effective stormproof matches have a low price (allowing you to stock up), which make up for the reduced burn time.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

You may recognize Coghlan’s if you’ve been to any camping store- they make pretty much anything and everything. One thing to look out for is the difference between their Storm Matches and their Waterproof Matches. We tested both and have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the waterproof matches are not very effective- and in some cases wouldn’t even light in high humidity conditions. The good news is that their storm matches are effective and a great value.

These matches have a ten second burn time, which can be a little unforgiving in some cases versus the higher burn time (but larger) matches. But, they are consistent, effective, and come with a simple waterproof container for storage. If you are looking for budget stormproof matches, or a fast solution to store in multiple survival kits, Coghlan’s Storm Matches fit the bill.


Zippo Typhoon Matches

Upgrade Survival Matches

Zippo Typhoon Matches

Large, Versatile, and Informational

An absolute monster of a match, these things cannot be blown out, will burn underwater, and will start a fire in any conditions.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Like most things with the Zippo label, these matches stand out as high quality. They are larger (4″) and heavier than any other stormproof match we tested, and have a much longer burn time (30+ seconds) as a result. They easily strike and burn after being soaked in water and hold a flame even when they are submerged. If you are always looking for high quality gear that you can count on, the Zippo Typhoon Matches are your best bet.

The case is high quality as well. Both the lid and the storage chamber use good quality O-rings so it is watertight and is solidly constructed. You can tell some extra thought went into the engineering with the sealed strike cap, textured grip, lanyard hole, and storage area for tinder. The sealed strike cap is a significant upgrade- other kits require you to keep strike surfaces dry, which is counter to the whole point of stormproof matches. If you decide to go with the Typhoon Match kit, you can always get the matches without the waterproof case with a little better cost per match.


Everything We Recommend

UCO Stormproof Matches

UCO Stormproof Matches

UCO got it right with their standard stormproof matches that get the job done in any weather condition without being overkill.

Where to Buy

$11* at Amazon

$6* at Walmart

$10* at eBay

*at time of reviewing

Coghlan's Storm Matches

Coghlan’s Storm Matches

These effective stormproof matches have a low price (allowing you to stock up), which make up for the reduced burn time.

Where to Buy

$8* at Amazon

$9* at Walmart

$8* at eBay

*at time of reviewing

Zippo Typhoon Stormproof Matches

Zippo Typhoon Matches

An absolute monster of a match, these things cannot be blown out, will burn underwater, and will start a fire in any conditions.

Where to Buy

$16* at Amazon

$13* at eBay

*at time of reviewing


The Matches We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several contenders that we tested: UCO, Zippo, Surviveware, Coghlan’s, Coleman, Emergency Zone, Pine Mountain and more. This helped us eliminate matches that just weren’t a good value. Some of the matches are sold with water tight containers, which can help in the field. Other matches can be bought in bulk, which can save a lot of money if you use stormproof matches regularly.

There were not a ton of stormproof matches to compare, which made our job easier. All of the matches are relatively cheap, which allowed us to test the majority of the market thoroughly with a variety of test. Those included soaking, submersion, and practical tests in various weather conditions. The matches that were designated ‘stormproof’ ended up being much better than ‘waterproof’ matches. The Coghlan’s, Coleman, and Pine Mountain waterproof matches are closer to water resistant- a few didn’t even hold up in humid conditions.


What to Look For

The best stormproof matches have several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Material
  3. Size and Burn Time
  4. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find solid stormproof matches without breaking the bank. Below, we break down what each of these mean for a great match.

Stormproof matches packaging
Stormproof matches come in a wide variety and in a wide range of prices.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

In a world full of cheap matches, you usually get what you pay for. Matchbooks from the bar don’t typically cut it when your life is on the line in a survival situation. Anyone preparing for an emergency or just a night in the wilderness wants dependable tools- including their matches.

You also don’t want to spend too much money on one resource, like waterproof matches. Using your money to get the most functionality and versatility out of your survival kit is the smart way to go.

Match Material

Long phosphorus tips separate stormproof matches from ‘waterproof’ matches. The tip extension gives the match the burn time and the waterproof ignition source needed to keep burning through submersion and the match wood getting wet.

Both stormproof matches and waterproof matches have a waterproof coating, and some brands even treated wood sticks.

Size and Burn Time

The length of the match is the biggest factor for burn time. You might think that the amount of phosphorus applied would affect burn time as well, but our research and actual testing show that this helps the resilience of the flame more than the burn time.

LengthBrandAdvertised BurnMax Observed Burn
1.75″Coghlan’s10 seconds9 seconds
2.13″UCO12 seconds10 seconds
2.75″UCO15 seconds16 seconds
4.20″UCO Titan25 seconds28 seconds
4.20″Zippo30 seconds34 seconds
Burn time isn’t everything- there is a trade off for size and cost.

Despite what the pyro inside of you may think, the burn time of the matches isn’t the only consideration.

Versatility

Survival matches and the cases used to store them need to be versatile. Most of this versatility revolves around them being what they advertise:

  • waterproof
  • windproof
  • submersible
  • stormproof

Beyond these obvious criteria, they should also be lightweight, portable, and thoughtful in design. This includes any cases used to store them.


How to Use Stormproof Matches

Survival matches are easy to use and store. For starters, you will want the matches and striker as dry as possible. Even though the matches are waterproof, some strikers are not, and the strike is easier with dry friction.

Besides the larger phosphorus coating and waterproofing, stormproof matches light the same way as typical matches: dragging the head of the match quickly across the striker.

Before you strike our match, you will want to set up your campfire or whatever you are trying to light. In emergencies where supplies are limited, wasting matches can impact your survivability.

If you’re not sure the best way to build a campfire, check out our quick guide:

How to Start a Campfire: A Basic Survival Skill


Who Needs Survival Matches?

Survival matches are so small, lightweight, and cheap that they make sense for any prepared person to keep in a kit or even on their person. Everyone can benefit from being able to start a quick fire in an emergency.

Survival matches are an integral and essential part of these kits:

Survival matches are a suggested addition for these kits:

No matter what threats could come your way, survival matches are a good resource to have on hand.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

An objective look at the best stormproof matches is useless without sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our practical military experience and prepping acumen.

McCann, J. (2013). Build the Perfect Survival Kit. Living Ready Magazine. (Source).

Stam, M. (2013). The Forensic Analysis of Wooden Stick Matches in a Southern California Arson Case and Subsequent Examinations in Two Other Arson Cases. California Department of Justice, Riverside Criminalistics Laboratory. (Source).

Wisniak, J. (2005). Matches – the Manufacture of Fire. Indian Journal of Chemical Technology. Vol 12. Pages 369-380. (Source).


The Final Word

A stormproof match may seem like a small and insignificant survival tool, but they are the ultimate fire starter when you need it. Creating a fire is an extremely important ability and skill for survival and emergencies.

Besides matches, there are a few other fire starters to consider for survival:

Plus, you don’t always need matches to start a fire:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found that the UCO Stormproof Matches are the best option given the value, size/burn time, strike material, and versatility. Be sure to know how to use your matches. Test them out occasionally and get to know the burn time and potential uses for them.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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The Best Stormproof Matches for Emergencies and Survival

Rusty

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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