How to Strike a Match with a Rubber Band

J5 Tactical Flashlight

How to Strike a Match with a Rubber Band


The importance of finding simple solutions to basic problems during a period of self-sufficiency can not be understated enough.  This is why we are always on the hunt for tricks, tips and projects that require minimal resources and time to put together.  One very simple idea that we’ve recently stumbled upon is a great way to light a match if you don’t have a strike pad or dry, coarse surface to work with.  Let’s take a look at this simple trick that can be very useful when other options are not available.

It’s all in the Hands

The first step is to take a small rubber band, the smallest you can find, and pinch one end between your thumb and forefinger.  You want to make a loop that sticks out about ½ inch above where you’re holding the rubber band.  Next, bend the loop forward so that the curved part rests atop the two sides of the rubber band that you’re still pinching.  Grasp this new loop and press against the sides, and you should now have two smaller loops. 

Next, twist the loops outward and back so the backs of each one are touching the other.  You should now have a loop within a loop at a perpendicular angle that almost resembles a slip knot.  Take the head of the match and feed it through the two loops until they are resting just below the head.  You want to make sure to keep the head, and maybe a small amount of the stem sticking above the rubber band for this project to work. 

Gently pull down on the stem and tighten the noose around the matchstick, but don’t use so much force that the rubber band stretches too far or breaks.  Next, hold the match outward with your hand so the remaining loop is sticking to the left or right, depending on which hand you’re using.  Take another match and feed it through this loop from beneath, but not from the top.  This will allow you to grab the match with your hand and hold it up while you pull back the other match. 

Firing the Match

In principle, all you need to do is lay the first match on its side, pull it back and stretch the rubber band.  Hold the other match in the vertical position with your other hand.  Let go of the rubber band, and the match will fly like a projectile and strike the one you’re holding.  Surprisingly, as long as you have the matches aligned properly, you will almost light the other match every time using this method. 

It may take a little bit of practice to get the hang of things as you find that sweet spot of tension to give you maximum force without breaking the matches or rubber band.  However, once you get the hang of this technique, you’ll never forget it, and you can put it to good use almost anywhere.  As long as your matchsticks are dry and in good condition, you can get them lit almost every time. 

The only drawback is that you need two matches to light one, and if you miss, you will need to re-arm and try again.  Consequently, it’s a good idea to practice and get the technique down now.  That way, you won’t waste precious matches if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to rely on this option.  Try it for yourself, and see why you will want to include in your survival bag of tricks.