A Survival Kit in an Altoids Tin

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Having a survival kit on you at all times is extremely helpful and very convenient. Most of the time, survival kits are big or bulky or just plain useless. Unless a Survival kit can fit inside of your pocket, chances are you’re going to forget it or not have room for it. Let’s face it, those pre-made survival kits which are small enough to barely fit in your pocket don’t really have the things you need to survive. They might have a little bit of wire, string, maybe a blade that’s really small and breaks easily, and a few other odds and ends. Pre-made survival kits are kind of like the pre-made pocket first aid kits in the medical aisle that maybe have a couple of band aids, but that’s about it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a pocket-sized survival kit with everything you need that is fully customizable? May I introduce to you the survival kit in an Altoids tin.


  • 1 Altoids tin
  • Windproof and waterproof matches with a striker placed in a mini zip-seal bag. Roll and tape the matches so that they are compressed
  • 5 Tinder quick fire tabs
  • 1/2 inch emergency candle cut down to the height of the Altoids tin
  • A steel striker with mini match magnesium fire starter
  • A Reynolds oven bag cut down to fit within the Altoids tin and marked at 1 quart to hold water
  • 20 portable Aqua water purification tablets repackaged in a mini glass vial
  • 50 feet of 20lb test fishing line wound on a sewing machine bobbin
  • A couple sinkers, a couple hooks, and a couple swivels
  • A 20 millimeter AA liquid filled button compass
  • One Exact-o knife blade without the handle
  • One commando wire saw
  • Two butterfly closure strips
  • One packet of antibiotic ointment
  • One small handheld Fresnel lens or magnify glass
  • Two magnetized sewing needles
  • Two feet of aluminum foil folded up tightly for making a cup, signaling, and cooking fish
  • One safety pin
  • A small bit of nylon thread


  • Other things to consider in your Altoids Survival Kit is a signaling mirror which is cut down to size, two ibuprofen tablets repackaged in small zip lock baggies, a razor blade, 24-gauge snare wire, a small water bag, a plain condom, tick tweezers, golf pencil, two sheets of waterproof paper, a laminated instruction card for water purification tablets, a space blanket, and rehydration packets.
  • If your tin is stuffed too tightly you can use two large rubber Brandt bands wrapped around the outside of the tin to keep it closed.
  • You can use several different Altoids tins; one for medical needs, one for cooking and catching food needs, and one for fire starting needs. That way you can have one tin for each need and carry more items in your pockets.
  • You can find various Altoid tins at your local grocery store with mints in it. They’re relatively inexpensive and durable.

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