A neat thing you’ll see if you browse the outdoors, preparedness and camping channels on Youtube are folks showing off their “Altoids Survival Tin.” As you may have guessed, these are simple little kits stored in one of those Altoids breath mint tins. The tin is tiny, letting you keep the kit in your back pocket at all times, and sturdy, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about breaking anything if you drop the tin, sit on it or even take a tumble down a hill while it’s in your pocket.
Now, the best kits are designed around the carrier’s environment, so don’t expect any of these featured to be perfect for your needs. Obviously, a kit with a fishing line isn’t much help to someone who doesn’t live anywhere near a natural body of water, and an emergency debit card won’t do you much good if you’re in the woods, but these kits should help to spark some ideas for anyone who wants to build one of their own.
The Florida Adventurers Tin
The Florida Adventurers channel, as you might suspect, is devoted to Florida outdoorsmanship. This kit includes a coffee filter to clean your drinking water of debris after boiling, a flashlight kit built from just the battery and bulb of a tiny LED light, and a knife blade taken from an inexpensive retail knife. The blade is included without a handle to save space, as there’s enough twine in the kit to create a makeshift knife or spear with a stick found in the woods.
The Urban Survival Tin
Getting stranded in the city might not always be as rough as being stranded in the woods, but preparedness is never a bad idea. Although the scenario where a USB flash drive and a set of nail clippers come in handy might not be as dire a circumstance as the one where you’re tying fishing line to a safety pin, this kit’s inclusion of a list of emergency phone numbers, coins for toll booths and pay phones, and a packet of over the counter medicine wouldn’t be a bad idea for any tin. At the very least, keeping a first aid kit in your pocket of all times is a little better than crossing your fingers.
Building a Kit
Homesteadonomics shares some of the basic concepts of building a survival kit. Your environment poses its own unique threats, and your abilities are just as unique. You need to keep both in mind when building a survival tin.
As Homesteadonomics lays out, if you’re down to an Altoids tin full of razorblades and fishing line, then plan A probably flopped. A survival tin can’t match a backpack. Build a survival tin as your last line of defense containing just the essentials, and it can serve as either a lifeline, or simply a comforting thing to keep in your pocket on your next fishing trip.
The core principles of building a reliable tin are more or less as follows:
- If you don’t need it, don’t pack it
- Include just the essential components, even if that means just packing the blade of a pocketknife
- Suit the tin to your environment
- Waterproof it, electrical tape will be a big help, here
Have some fun experimenting and improving your survival kit as you develop a tin that’s perfect for your environment.