Small survival kits are perfect for emergencies because you can carry them with you anywhere. Today we feature the classic Altoids survival kit.
You might be a seasoned veteran when it comes to survival and prepping or you might have just fallen in love with the craft.
In either case, it’s surprising how having a couple of simple items can often mean the difference between life and death.
Something as simple as a bandage can stop something as benign as a little cut from getting infected and turning into a major issue.
A Bic lighter may be one of the easiest ways to make a fire, but if you don’t have one put up, you won’t be able to get a fire going.
Building A Small Survival Kit
For this reason, it is very important for anyone who intends to go out into the woods to have at least some basic survival kit. A popular way to do this is in a small container.
An Altoids can is the classic example of such a container. It’s small, neat and a good place to keep your necessary tools safe and dry.
If you don’t have an empty Altoids can there’s no need for worrying, any other kind of small, waterproof container will suffice. Our favorite is the military grade S3 hard case. Even an empty pill bottle can work, just remove the label first in case someone else finds it (and all your information).
In this article we will teach you how to pack a small survival kit, give an example of our survival kit tools, and we will give you the average prices of a couple of necessary items to store away in your toolkit.
Planning Is Key
You need to consider where you are going to use the survival kit to decide what kind of items you are going to pick. If packed cleverly with some forethought, a small container can contain a great many useful tools and really boost your chances of survival.
Planning is essential however, you have a very limited space for your tools and you don’t want to waste any of it, or waste any money buying items that won’t fit.
The secret behind fitting as much as possible in your can is to put the softer items in first, so they sit at the bottom of the container. On top of this bottom layer should be the odd shaped items (such as your flint and steel).
This stage of creating your survival kit is a matter of trial and error. After a while you will find out which items go where the best to get the best fit.
What To Pick?
You need to try to pick the smallest items possible, but never sacrifice the utility of the items chosen. For example, pick a quality multi-purpose knife instead of a tiny made in china swiss army toe knife with a couple of blades and a toothpick.
Never get locked in to what’s in your kit either, don’t be afraid to add and subtract because you can adjust what’s in your kit to better fit your needs as you learn or your situations change.
Below I compiled a small list of useful items that you would want to put in your container, but firstly, I would like to talk more about what container to use.
A can/small container
The most used type of container for small survival kits has to be the Altoids tin can. You don’t have to choose the Altoids can, any small container will suffice as long as it is airtight and waterproof.
What you’re looking for is a small rectangular container. It can be made of tin, aluminum, or plastic. It doesn’t matter what it was previously used for, but be careful using anything that held grease or chemicals, and bear in mind that some smells never fade. You can even get a special case that has rubber seals to keep moisture out.
Our favorite is the military grade S3 hard case. It’s made in the USA out of hard impact ABS, has a removable foam liner, and uses 316 stainless pins on the hinges. This case has been battle tested and widely used for handheld electronics, particularly smart phones. As a custom OEM case, advantac uses it to house military-approved survival kits.
The S3 case regularly sells in px’s and can also be found at select rei stores as well. Shure microphones also uses this particular case to protect some of their higher end audio products.
All in all it’s the best case on the market at this size. Check out the S3 if you want a buy it for life case that will take a beating.
List of some useful items
In my personal opinion, this one should be included in everyone’s survival kit. Some lighters, such as a Bic brand, are very reliable, but even those can get destroyed fairly easily or run out of fuel eventually. That’s why I also recommend a…
Flint and steel
Lighters are hard to operate if your hands are cold and most lighters will fail you if they are wet or it’s the least bit windy. A flint and steel tool is the tried and true fire starting tool of the survivalist because it’s a little more robust and is good for thousands of strikes.
It will work in windy, cold and even rainy weather (as long you keep your tinder dry). Even though a flint and steel can break, the broken fragments will still flash a spark if they are long enough.
A small compass
A button compass is a great tool to have with you in a survival situation. They might not be pinpoint accurate, but they will get the job done. You can order one on amazon for only 3 bucks. Make sure you check it beforehand.
A Mini Multi-tool
A mini multi-tool is a great addition to your survival kit. The Victorinox Classic SD is a great little multi-tool. It has a file, a knife and a pair of small scissors. The knife is easy to operate, the tool is lightweight, durable and it definitely fits in your survival kit. If you want more tools (and weight) on your multi-tool, check out the Gerber Dime.
This one speaks for itself really. If you end up getting a cut in an emergency situation, that one little bandage will mean the world to you. It can prevent the wound from infecting and possibly becoming fatal. Thus a bandage is an essential addition to your survival kit. If you can fit a little gauze too, the better.
Small, cheap, easy to carry, lightweight, tons of uses. A perfect addition.
If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you’re suffering from deeper wounds, you will thank yourself for bringing medical tape. Cut a piece of cloth with the scissors on your multi-tool and create a makeshift trauma pad to cover your wounds.
Small signal mirror
This can be a real life saver. The light-reflection from a small mirror can be seen from miles away. This way you can attract people’s attention and signal ships or airplanes with this nifty little tool. Also, something as simple as seeing yourself in a mirror every day can also help win the mental game.
The total price can range from $25 to $50+, but usually most people already have many of the things needed in a survival kit. It’s usually only a matter of stacking the tools adeptly in a small container.
Remember the secret is to always start with the soft and flat pieces, such as bandages and small mirrors, on the bottom and then you should put the bigger and heavier pieces on top of that bottom layer.
A small survival kit isn’t too hard to make and It doesn’t take too much time or money to make a survival kit that you can always have with you in a pocket, a car, or a backpack. A well assembled survival kit can make a big difference.