Quick Prepper Tip: Playing with Fire

By Lisa Metheny published on in Camping and Survival

Cheaper Than Dirt Quick Prepper TipThere is one item that nearly every home in America probably has on hand and that is matches. We use matches to light the fireplace, birthday candles, lanterns, brush piles, bonfires and more.  We even use matches to seal a frayed nylon rope or sterilize a needle.

Stick matches in a jar

Keeping a fresh supply of matches around is a good idea. Here are a few things you may not know about this commonly found household item.

Quite by accident in 1826 John Walker invented the match and nearly a half trillion are used each year.

Although most boxes are not marked with an expiration date, matches do get old and can loose their ability to light. Good matches are bright red in color (think Santa’s suit) if the color is more along the lines of burgundy or dull red these are typically older matches. Matches do come in other colors but red is most common.

There are several types of matches such as strike anywhere matches, waterproof matches and safety matches.

The book-type matches are more popular than loose wooden box matches thanks to the potential for advertising opportunities found on the booklet.

Mason jar with sandpaper circle on top filled with matches.

A piece of sandpaper on the top of a Mason jar will ensure a striker will always be handy in an emergency.

Mice like matches and will chew on them. This could start a fire so storing them in mouse proof containers is wise.

Good storage options for matches

  • Old film canisters
  • Old prescription bottles
  • Metal cans

You can also use a small glass canning jar with fine sandpaper glued to the topside of the lid. This makes for easy dispensing and striking.

Storage tips

  • Store away from heat or direct sunlight
  • Keep away from children and pets

How do matches play into your preps? Tell us in the comment section.


Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.

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