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My New K&M Match Case

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by barlow666, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. barlow666

    barlow666 Loaded Pockets

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    My K&M Match case arrived yesterday. I ordered the “Long Brass” model. First impression: this is beautiful! Finely crafted from a solid hunk of brass. Top fits perfectly. Sealed by an O-ring and they claim it is waterproof to “2000 P.S.I” which sounds like it’ll keep stuff dry in any wet situation I am lightly to find. It also comes with an extra couple of 0-rings, an extra lanyard and a little plastic cap to cover the compass.

    Now for my Second Impression: It is ridiculously heavy. It is also much too big. I suppose I should have expected the weight and ordered the aluminum model and at least read the on-line description before I ordered. As far as emergency fire starting goes, I am guessing it weighs about as much as half a dozen BIC lighters. That weight makes it totally impractical for actual carrying in a pocket or small pack. Size (about 4 3/8” by 7/8”) is also kind of large. Along with the matches, it might have room inside for some tinder, maybe some fire wood, a steak, some potatoes…….

    On the up side, it is really beautiful to look at and hold. I may just keep it for esthetic appeal alone. I mean, it really was described accurately on K&M’s web site, so I don’t feel right returning it for the reasons above. Or I may try and swap it for something else I don’t need. Or sell it on eBay and buy something else I don’t need…………
     
  2. Gryffin
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Gryffin Loaded Pockets

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    The aluminum models are quite a bit lighter. Just sayin'. :D

    Yeah, it's kinda big, but for a reason. Some of the "better" survival matches — REI comes to mind — are pretty dang long. And the heads are kinda fat, which is why they burn so well.
     
  3. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    The REI Matches are even better than the British Lifeboat, NATO - approved matches. And, both types of matches I just mentioned, it's not quite accurate to refer to them as "matches." They are like mini, or micro torches. They burn much more vigorously, I almost want to say "violently," than a regular match or a wood stick "Strike Anywhere" match. They both also burn hotter and more vigorously than "Hurricane Matches." The REI "matches" are better than the British Lifeboat matches because the British Lifeboat matches require more of a percussive, "popping" strike on the striker, the REI (UCO?) type, you just strike them and they burn just as well, if not better, than the Brit matches. Just a FYI on the matches.

    As far as the K & M is concerned, I have never had the brass because I figured the brass would be a lot heavier than the aluminum. But, much like brass compasses like the old Marble's compass, it does spell quality and appeals to folks with that sense of quality who don't mind packing along a few more ounces.
     
  4. P35

    P35 Loaded Pockets

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    you are right about the build quality and the beauty of the brass case....also about the weight, mine lives in my auto emergency kit
     
  5. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    Who makes the compass currently used? Seem to recall a change was made a few years ago because Keith is uber-picky about compass-quality and had some problems with availability. I have a no-longer-made orange K&M and it has, I believe (too lazy to dig it out), a Suunto. If the info is on website, can't find it.
     
  6. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    They can no longer obtain Suuntos for their Matchsafes/Matchcases.
     
  7. barlow666

    barlow666 Loaded Pockets

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    It is indeed a fine piece of gear, but as I indicated in the original post, totally impractical for pocket carry. Or even carrying in my usual shoulder bag. Much as I enjoyed looking at it, I finally descided to offer it for sale on eBay. Sold yesterday. Now I can shop for something else I don't need.............
     
  8. JonSidneyB
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    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared
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    Does K&M use any retailers?
     
  9. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    They have in the past, I don't know if they do any longer.
     
  10. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    Can't argue with your logic. I keep mine because it is, as you say, great example of well-made gear. Perhaps "best in class" for what it is — a waterproof match case. But once I put aside nostalgia, if I want primary and/or secondary means to make fire, then there are other, superior means IMO (cost, weight, bulk, reliability, number of uses), e.g. the ubiquitous BIC lighter (not über-cool like the K&M together with REI-like matches, but ...), or a ferro rod.
     
  11. Kripto

    Kripto Evil Sid

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    I've got a K&M aluminum match case that Gnarly sold me a bit ago.. I don't know how old it is, but it has a Suunto compass in it and it's VERY light. I keep it in my pack next to a ferro rod and a zippo with butane insert.. Lets just say, I like being redundant with fire making tools.. :) I'll likely never have to use them, but when my boy is old enough to go camping with me, we will just for the heck of it I'm sure. ;) (I just hope I can manage to hang on to it long enough, he's only 2 months old now. ;)
     
  12. Gryffin
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    Gryffin Loaded Pockets

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    Even better: all three! :D

    Two is one, one is none, and all that. One thing I like about BIC lighters is, they're reliable, lightweight, ubiquitous, and small enough and cheap enough that you should never not have one handy.
     
  13. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    Reliability through redundant systems. The beauty of things like this is, you can put some tinder in it, dry, 100% cottonballs, some REI/UCO Matches and you have the compass topside which can be a tertiary compass. ANYONE going outside for hikes, camping, hunting, fishing, even if you don't think it is "wilderness," should carry this type of gear. Just a few years ago, maybe five years ago, there was a person who went off the road and down a hill and he suffered enough injuries that he could not easily get up the embankment. His car was concealed by regular tall grass, brush, etc. Now, this didn't happen on some lonely and desolate road in Nowhere, California or Utah. Nor did it happen in the backwoods of the deep, dark South of The United States. It happened in modern day Maryland and it wasn't even in Western (Mountainous) Maryland but in an area down near D.C. He was down that hill for days and, literally, tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people passed this guy every day. It's not that something like this could have helped him out, but it's just a real warning that survival, much like adventure, is where you find it. In the case of survival, it's usually where it finds you. I have a good enough imagination to think of a few dozen scenarios that do NOT involve the walking dead and other wackiness where my ability to make fire, even in modern day America in the year 2012, might mean the difference between life and death.
     
  14. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    Apologies for drift (rationalizing is semi-related to OP).
    I failed to comment — one reason I would carry K&M loaded with quality "lifeboat matches," e.g. REI or UCO (DBR correctly pointed out in another, unrelated post ... these are so much more than merely "matches"), their performance in windy or dampish conditions is far superior to the BIC or ferro rod, both of which are a challenge in wind/damp. Neither burn with the initial intensity of an REI or similar. Don't worry about often-cited "yeah, but they require a special striker." If we're smart enough to carry the matchcase, should be smart enough to carry redundant strikers.

    So true. There's not a season that passes here in AZ without multiple incidents of people going on a dayhike and getting themselves into trouble. Often within a "stones throw" of civilization. Variety of reasons: they get lost (distinguishable landmarks often not plentiful, maybe they're unskilled using sun), they slip/fall and render themselves immobile, no cell coverage, underestimate hydration needs or intensity of the sun (big problem!), miscalculate onset of darkness etc.

    Couple these circumstances with the all-too-often flawed reasoning: "I'm just going on a short dayhike (or ATM ride or ...); don't need anything more than a 12-oz bottle of water in my fanny-pack." No map. No compass. That awesome smartphone GPS-capability maybe useless. Insufficient water. No firemaking capability. Daytime clothing inadequate for unexpected overnighter. All a recipe for disaster.
     
  15. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    I agree, those are all ingredients for the disaster recipe. The whole, "I have a cell/wireless device, so I'll be okay" is the type of mindset that killed that one tech-guy that worked for C-Net. You fall and fall on that wireless, it may or may not survive it. You might lose it, any number of things can happen. I have a Casio Rock which is basically Casio's version of a G-Shock Phone and as tough as it is, that doesn't mean it could survive everything. Just more insurance.

    People can make a good argument against the brass K & M Matchsafe. You can make a good argument against brass anything when it comes to weight. But after being on many, many forums related to first-aid and various survival topics, gear and skills, etc., I have to say that there are people out there that cut down toothbrush handles and then some others that drill lightening holes in what is left of that toothbrush handle and they are absolutely hopeless to communicate with. :)
     
  16. Gryffin
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    Gryffin Loaded Pockets

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    >gasp< Not the dreaded... gram weenies?!?! :frantic:

    I'm with you, I think it's a mental illness; a spin-off of OCD, like hoarding. Which of course, nobody here could ever be accused of… ;)
     
  17. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    We were so in agreement until you had to go and mention the H-word. :D
     
  18. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    Hoarding is getting a bad name, men. I'm serious about this! They have these idiots on this "hoarding show" where local governments have to kick them out of their home because it's not filled with just "junk" or "stuff," it's actually filled with garbage and rodent feces and other terrible things, I mean, terrible things. Unhealthy stuff. I'm a packrat, I admit it. My Dad was born in 1925 and my mother was born in 1938 so I have some hard times, hillbilly...uh...Mountain William, as I'm an educated hillbilly and Great Depression mentality in my upbringing...but I despise those shows because they make people like us look like total mental patients. I'm a pack rat, to say the least, but you won't life some Spec-Ops or Tactical Tailor pack and find a pile of rat-raisins or a cluster of conspiratorial roaches. :D
     
  19. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    I've watched a couple of those shows and all I can say is Wow!

    I'm with you. I too have accumulated a lot of "stuff" but I don't "hang my head" over it, because I worked hard for a lot of years to reach a point in life where I had the money to buy what I want to buy. There are limits of course :confused: . I earned the $$$; I get to say how it's spent. My "stuff" gets used (well, most of it anyway) in support of activities I enjoy.

    Back to the original post/topic, K&Ms are good stuff. And I would be remiss if I didn't say, too, that the Exotac Matchcases carried in the forum store are a stout piece of gear. Had the opportunity handle one purchased by EDCF'er sveqs. Have one on my forum store wish-list.
     
    Last edited by xbanker, May 3, 2012
  20. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    I have not heard a single bad thing about Exotac at all. :)
     
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