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Friday Gear Report: 4/29/11

Black Aluminum Match Case

A couple of years ago I found myself in the market for a new match case. After heading to the local outdoors store I found nothing but cheap junk.

You are probably thinking, “How nice does a match case need to be?” Honestly, the inexpensive match cases will work just fine. I have never had a plastic one meet a demise and I am sure the tin boy scout match cases are comparable. However, I am nuts – this we know.

After spending three months (we covered that I am nuts) asking around, looking through forums, and searching the web I finally came across K & M Match Cases. A month or two later and my order came in and the cases were as exquisite in person as they are in the photographs.

K & M, which stands for Keith and Marjorie, is a mom and pop operation out of Elk River, Idaho. Except for the Suunto compass, the match cases are made in the USA with a lot of pride.

Originally I believe I paid $30 (I could very well be mistaken) a piece for mine. They have come down to $18 for the long version and $16 for the short version making them $10 more than conventional plastic match cases.

Brass K&M Match CaseK & M Match Cases come in two sizes: Standard length cases are 3 7/8 inches (99mm) and long cases are approximately 4 1/4 inches (108mm). Owning both sizes, I would recommend the longer cases unless you want to sit around cutting the long weather proof matches down to size.

From the manufacturers site:

K & M match cases are simply the best. Match cases sold to military and survivalists around the world. Why simply the most effective waterproof match case ever built? All our match cases are fitted with a unique tensioning lanyard. A press-fit stopper on all match cases is held securely in place by the lanyard which provides a positive lock but allows quick and easy access to the match case contents.

Ten Points of Interest on these match cases:

  • 1. Match case is the original K & M Match Case and made in the United States.
  • 2. All our match cases are machined from solid bar stock.
  • 3. Crystal clear sealed compass is now on all our match cases.
  • 4. Mil-spec lanyard.
  • 5. Double O-ring seal = 2 rubber seals = DRY matches in match case WHEN NEEDED.
  • 6. Waterproof to 2000 PSI. is our match case guarantee.
  • 7. Of course all our match cases come with an unlimited lifetime warranty.
  • 8. These match cases are issued to US Air Force downed-pilot rescue crews.
  • 9. K & M match cases are in the running for US Air Force survival kits.
  • 10. Purchased and carried by individuals serving in US military, outdoorsmen, bushcrafters, Antartica expeditions and Africa too.

Word of cation if you are getting excited over the red case. They are no longer offered. Keith from K & M stated in a conversation:

Color consistency were just next to impossible to achieve. The body and cap would often not match. I am not sending out a product like that nor would my wife. We use a high Copper aircraft grade aluminum. It does not take well to the anodizing process.

I also got the chance to ask him why the caps are simply pressure/friction fitted instead of threaded.

That comes from years of experience and annoyance. The threads can get gummed up or freeze up. Nothing worse than needing a match to start a fire and you can’t get the match case open cause the cap has seized on you. You’ll find old collectable match cases some times with threaded caps. They always have teeth marks in the cap.

Roughly two years have gone by since I first received my match cases. I like them as much today as when they first arrived. They have stood up to a fair amount of abuse and earned a permanent place in my BOB and my girlfriend’s BOB.

They are available for sale through K&M: K & M Match Cases

In his free time, he enjoys hogging the remote, surfing, scotch, mental masturbation and debate over philosophical topics, and shooting stuff--usually not all at the same time.

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