One of the most important pieces of a survival kit is your fire-starting gear. As with any essential piece of gear, it’s also important to have contingency options. For example, my fire-starting gear consists of a Bic lighter, ferro-rod, and UCO stormproof matches. If and when one of these options fail, I can rely on the other options I have available. Back when I purchased my nanoSTRIKER XL from Exotac, I also decided to pick up their Matchcap XL to use as a storage container for my UCO stormproof matches. The consensus is that this is the best match case available on the market, and I agree (to read another Loadout Room writer’s review of the Matchcap XL, check it out here).
I have a quick word to say about matches. I carry UCO stormproof matches even though I have to carry less of them since they’re bigger than others. These matches are nearly impossible to be put out by even the most extreme weather conditions. It’s easy to start a fire when it is dry and there is no wind, but in preparing for a survival situation, you also have to prepare for the worst possible outcome. If you aren’t familiar with UCO stormproof matches, check out this video to see for yourself how incredibly effective they are.
You wouldn’t think too much could go into designing a case for matches, but it’s obvious at first glance that Exotac implemented everything you might need. The Matchcap XL purposely offers a little extra with stormproof matches (approximately 0.3”) to house small items like tinder or water purification tablets. The Matchcap XL is made out of aluminum which makes it a more durable storage container than its plastic counterparts. There are two strike pads on the match case, one on the outside and one securely placed inside the case. The knurl is aggressively checkered to ensure a more secure grip when opening the case or using the outer striking pad. There really isn’t anything else that can be done to improve Matchcap XL.
With that being said, there are a couple issues with the Matchcap XL. Contrary to Exotac’s claims on their website, the Matchcap XL is not waterproof and will leak water inside when submerged. Secondly, the Matchcap XL does float on its own but will sink if it has matches inside of it. This isn’t too big of an issue unless you manage to drop it in the middle of a lake, but it is a disadvantage to consider. Despite these issues, I still think this a great match case to have, even if it is a tad overpriced at $33.95 MSRP.
All photos courtesy of the author, Matt Jin
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