Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: UCO Stormproof Matches- worth the extra cost over regular waterproof matches?

Standard waterproof matches have resided in my fire making kit for as long as I can remember. With proper tinder and kindling preparation, they were all I’ve ever needed to start a fire in most conditions. Sure, I’ve heard about “stormproof” matches for years, but thought they were really just an expensive gimmick and rather unnecessary for those of us well versed in woodsman’s skills. Curiosity got the best of me though, and I just had to try some of these out. I recently had a chance to test some UCO brand Stormproof Matches, and after seeing how well they performed, have to say that I'm now a convert.

During a recent outing on an extremely cold and windy night to test some gear, I had a chance to see if they would live up to the hype. Winds were gusting up to 50mph with stand still temperatures in the single digits, driving the wind chill factor down to -30 degrees at times. It was so cold that removing my gloves to take photos was to endure instant discomfort followed quickly by pain and numbness. Definitely a great time to have a reliable match if needing to start a fire for warmth in an emergency situation!

For the test, I lit several matches and held them out in the gusting winds to see if they would stay burning. To my amazement, they kept burning until all the chemical on the match head was completely gone. I even tossed some in the snow and they just kept burning. I could never do this with a regular waterpoof match, and it convinced me that I needed to add these to my fire making kit for emergencies. Granted, the price is roughly double what a good set of waterproof matchs run, but I don't plan to use these to start a fire unless it's a true emergency, and then that extra $2 bucks would seem trivial. These are for when the "dung" hits the fan so to speak, and I feel confident that these will do the job when called upon.

UCO match burning like a comforting beacon on an extremely cold and windy night:

If I haven't convinced you that these are worth carrying, then maybe this video will. It's UCO's promotional video showing how these matches keep burning no matter what you throw at them. I don't usually include company promo videos in my reviews, but as you'll see, this one is very convincing:

UCO also includes backup strikers sealed in plastic in case the striker on the main box gets wet: 


These really are an excellent piece of kit (to borrow a term from our UK Bushcrafting friends) and I really don't have anything bad to say about them. Though pricey compared to other types of matches, the $4.00 cost for these just might be the best money you'll ever spend if you find yourself in a survival situation. Highly recommended.

For more information visit http://industrialrev.com/stormproof-matches.html

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)


  1. Agreed. These are the best high-performance bulk matches you can buy on the market.

    For those of you who want the ultimate match-chase to hold them ... the UCO plastic match-case is fine. But the best are made by Exotac and K&M (the latter is a terrific Mom-&-Pop outfit).

  2. I've just got mine from Survival Depot n have to tell u this stuff is a must. Especially in Ireland where everything is constantly wet n when the chilly north wind blow you beg for sumtin like this. Highly recommended. Thx for the review RMB

    1. Gebasz, you're quite welcome and we appreciate the comment. Stay warm in Ireland!

  3. CRCO- thanks for the comment and the tip about those smaller brands.

  4. Gebasz, you're quite welcome and thanks for the comment. Stay warm in Ireland!