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defend against tyranny
667 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I saw some strike on box matches at shop 'n save that were 6 boxes of 48 per box, and were 85 cents each. How long would these last if I were to put some in an ammo can? Would waterproof matches last longer?


Forum Administrator
16,845 Posts
Keep them sealed and they will last a lot longer. Some of the packages of kitchen matches have a plastic wrapper around the box - leave the wrapper in place.

If you expose the matches to air, they will start absorbing moisture. After about 6 or 7 years my matches become brittle and start breaking.

Sealed, I would say at least 10 years would be a good estimate

Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
67,123 Posts
Kept dry, they should last forever. They're a simple chemical mixture rather than a complex compound that can break down over time. Simple mixtures like that can last without degradation. Black powder is a good example. It can last for hundreds of years if kept dry.

The War to end all Wars
623 Posts
Had some out of an old "C" ration from the 70s. Even had the 4 pack of cigarettes. They lit without a problem but they were stored in an air tight/water tight environment.

I see a bad moon arising
1,267 Posts
They hold up MUCH better than I would have expected.

1. I've got a couple of boxes of wooden strike-on-box matches that I've
had on a shelf in my garage for probably the last 10 years. They've always
worked when I go to grab one. Not exactly an ideal storage environment
for the matches. Snow and ice melt off the cars in the winter, and the
wretched midwestern humidity in the summer.

2. Got an old Coleman camp stove and lantern from my father in law last
summer. Those have been stored in his basement for decades. In the
box for the stove we found a book of paper matches advertising the new
1975 Plymouth Duster. For grins and giggles we tried one of the matches,
knowing of course that it wouldn't work. Fired right up. :thumb:
(And the decades-old Coleman fuel in the stove and lantern -- Yup. Still good also.)

Stored under more ideal conditions like the O.P. mentioned, who knows how
many decades they'll last?

Once I saw how long those paper matches from 1975 held up, I went out and
loaded up on a serious supply of matches. Filled up three one-gallon paint
cans. Hammered the lids shut and stashed them on a shelf. Seems like a
cheap investment in a possible useful barter item if the SHTF. Figured that
the small individual boxes and booklets of wood an paper matches would
make for easy little trade items that might just have some value. If not,
meh, I'm probably out less than $20 for matches and paint cans. O2 and
moisture absorbers in the cans would probably help also, but I just didn't
have any on hand at the time.

•--• • •- -•-• •
3,028 Posts
Bought a lifetime supply of strike type matches in the early to mid 80's I believe. Anyway, decided to vacuum pack them 8 years ago. They work great but I wish I'd thought about vacuum packing them when the machines first became available.
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