Since the beginning of humankind, fire starters have been the most essential tool a human could possess for survival. Back then, there was no such thing as a commercial match. However, a match similar to what we know today was mentioned in a book entitled Records of the Unworldly and the Strange, published many centuries ago in 950 AD.
If there occurs an emergency at night it may take some time to make a light to light a lamp. But an ingenious man devised the system of impregnating little sticks of pinewood with sulfur and storing them ready for use. At the slightest touch of fire they burst into flame. One gets a little flame like an ear of corn. This marvelous thing was formerly called a “light-bringing slave”, but afterwards when it became an article of commerce its name was changed to ‘fire inch-stick’.
So you see, even back then, matches were recognized as an essential tool to have on hand for emergencies. Matches should be part of every emergency preparedness kit. However, if they get wet, they will be of absolutely no use, so it is important to protect them from moisture. The same goes for the striking surface, so everything should be placed in a sealed container. Waterproof matches are commercially available, but they are expensive. It is easy to make your own waterproof matches for far less money.
Three Methods for Making DIY Waterproof Matches
Turpentine: Place the matches with the lighting head down into the turpentine and allow them to soak for five minutes. The turpentine will soak into the head and the stem, driving the water out of the match. Remove the matches and spread them out on a sheet of newspaper to dry. About 20 minutes is sufficient for any excess turpentine to evaporate. The matches will stay waterproof for several months or longer.
Candle wax: Dip match heads inside melted wax that you have dripped into a bowl, making sure they are fully covered. Wait for the wax to dry and you instantly have waterproof matches. When you need to light the match, simply scrape off a little bit of the wax and strike it.
Paraffin wax: Melt enough paraffin wax in a double boiler to coat about half an inch of the match sticks. After dipping individual matches, quickly wrap a piece of twine around a stack of 10 or so matches. This will create a torch of sorts that will burn for 10 minutes or longer.