Introduction: A Comprehensive Altoids Personal Survival/Everyday Carry Tin

Picture of A Comprehensive Altoids Personal Survival/Everyday Carry Tin

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Everyday I carry the following on me at a MINIMUM: 2 knives, 2 firestarters, 2 flashlights, 2 multi tools, 2 paracord accessories and - of course - this Altoids survival kit [which I am in the process of duplicating into an Altoids Smalls Tin].  I also have 2 bugout bags [BOB] and 2 emergency kits in my car; for both the BOB and emergency kit there is a smaller one in reach and a larger one in the back [needless to say, I believe in the importance of redundancy.]  

I say this because I built this kit for the express purpose of always having survival items on or near me without the need to rely on my layered everyday carry [EDC] survival capabilities or BOBs.  If SHTF, I need to know that I could survive if I had to run out the door with just this in my pajama pockets!  And yes, I do keep this on me even in PJs but that's more for its EDC uses rather than it being a personal survival kit [PSK]...  :)

Now that you know that I don't include my other EDC items as part of this kit, let's go over the kit's philosophy of use [POU]...

When you think about what separates man from animals, what 3 things come to mind? Intelligence, tools and fire come to mine. With these 3 things alone man was catapulted from surviving to thriving.  This kit is designed to give a person what they need to make it in the wild until their eventual rescue.

In addition to evening the playing field in a survival situation, this kit's POU is also for EDC. I can't tell you how many times I've used this mini multi tool and flashlight and a few times I've been extremely thankful I had emergency cash. 

Now that you know this kit's designed purpose, let's dive into its contents:

CRKT Ritter Mk5 fixed blade knife
Bear Grylls Mini Multi-tool
Streamlight Nano flashlight
Waterproof matches
Potable Aqua water purification tablets
SOL FireLite fire starter
4 strips of Gorilla Tape [1" wide] 
Razor blade
Military version of Rite in the Rain paper 
2 cotton balls
$20 bill
Striker for matches
2 needles
2 pins
1 spool of dental floss
2 fishing hooks
2 fishing sinkers
2 closure strips
2 bandaids
ziplock bag [1 liter]
2 rubberbands
Alcohol prep pad

For your convenience I've hyperlinked several of these items. The intended POU for each item is annotated on the image.

Now that I've listed all the items of my kit, I have some final thoughts I'd like to share:

This kit is intended to be useful for ANYone to carry - from soccer moms to Bear Grylls. 

Secondly, main critique I have with other Altoids survival kits that I've seen [on this site, survivalist forums and Youtube] is that most do not have a reliable knife.  Most have either a weak blade often in the form of a razor blade but hardly any have a trusted knife. I know creating an Altoids survival tin is often done as a fun challenge but I still find it a little annoying when the most important survival tool is left out.  

Finally, I still have SOME space left in my kit.  I intentionally left this in anticipation of getting suggestions on what else I should include in this kit. I have a few ideas but I'd like to see what y'all suggest.

Please let me know your suggestions on how I could improve this kit!  :)

God bless!

See more of my DIY survival kits at


Survivor Jack (author)2013-03-10

The reason a lot of the Altoid Survival Kits don't have knives is because many of us carry them where they can be reached quickly. I carry a multi-function tool on my belt and at least one clip knife in my pocket.  My LED, whistle and several other 'tools' are instantly available.

Each item you selected is important and I like your redundancy.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing you reminded us of is: Keep Your Gear Within Reach. IF you are hanging from a seat belt after a car wreck, you can reach your glove box which usually remains closed. Loose gear can be thrown out of reach. A trunk kit is useless unless you can get to it.

Keep Thinking - Preparing & Sharing! Survivor Jack

jwsimpson21 (author)2015-03-30

Great survival kit! I would recommend adding a signaling mirror in the roof or floor of the tin.

GuillermoQ3 (author)jwsimpson212017-08-20

Buen pulido el fondo, hace las veces de espejo

GuillermoQ3 (author)2017-08-20

Quizás agregaría una de esas tarjetas de supervivencia del tamaño de las tarjetas de crédito.

magicklady (author)2016-04-28

You all forget one important ingredient... HONEY.... it is antibacterial and can go on wounds, calms nerves, and many other uses... it can be placed in straws and carried. I use the straws for my food tin. I know about wild food. Salt just makes the rabbit taste better. you can use ash for salt as well. honey salt mixer with the brain of the animal tans the hide for longer survival.

VickyC9 (author)2015-09-25

How about some thread, maybe waxed, to go with the needles? And some tweezers.

LittleHairyApe (author)VickyC92015-10-25

Were you aware of the roll of dental floss and the tweezers on the mini-multitool?

ProfTom (author)2015-09-08

You mentioned the razor blade. single edge. mention it again.

I didn't see the paracord but I'll look again now.

charlysue (author)2014-12-12

I would glue sandpaper to the inside top to light the matches.

MartyJ1 (author)2014-08-11

Nice, practical choice of equipment to include. Since you asked for ideas, I have a few. First, I applaud you inclusion of money. So many problems are solved most easily by barter or trade. But, if you are truly in a SHTF situation, $20 might not be sufficient. How about 1/10 ounce gold pieces, the size of a dime and worth about $130 each when I write this. Tape a few next to that razor blade. Second, instead of cotton balls, how about a cotton handkerchief. Still works to cushion the cargo, still can be pulled apart for tinder, but will work as a cloth until then (water or air filter, wiper, big bandage, flag, etc.). Third, if you do want to carry cotton soaked in PJ, look into storing them in sealed sections of drinking straws; small and clean. Finally, I understand your reasons for a real Altoids can, but personally I hate those hard corners in my pants pocket, where I keep my EDC handy. I found zippered leather key cases much better for my use.

ramsesvp (author)2014-06-30

Nice instructable. Thanks! I have an item I would include: a condom or 2. You will be amased how much water they can hold. Just make sure you will rinse off the lubricant. While it kills sperms and virusses, it also ruins the taste of water :-)

michaelgc (author)2014-06-07

Really nice

illuminatis (author)2014-02-07

made a slightly bigger version of this, using a Bugler Tobacco tin. Was able to fit more in, but still pocket friendly. One add on, smothering some of the cotton balls i Preperation H, reduces swelling, helps with stings, and is a great firestarter. also added a fishing kit, with more hooks, sinkers, etc. Also added paracord, and a BlastLighter instead of a flint striker

jasonotero (author)2014-01-07

Throw a tube of Chapstick or some type of petroleum based lip balm in there and a few cotton balls. Tinder is great, but the oiled cotton will remain lit longer and handle wind situations a little longer while gathering supporting materials to build your fire. Plus the chapstick would also double as a sunscreen alternative for tops of the ears/nose and give you slight protection on open cuts if applied liberally over an exposed area. Already in a handy tube, and hell, if desperate enough, shove a piece of cotton wick down the middle of the tube, and it doubles as a candle. Great kit you have here, I would just loved to have seen more of a fire sustaining material onside.

hebert002 (author)2013-12-22

Superglue was originally created to close skin. Lots of people don't have the guts to do their own stitches, superglue was made just for closing skin. Or the botany knowledge to fine antiseptic plants to keep out infection. Their best bet then is clean water and superglue

krappo (author)2013-12-20

I'm very interested in the pocket prep kits. A couple years ago, in south NJ we had a hurricane, floods, landslides, earthquake and tornadoes within 50 mile radius over a period of less than 1 month. I'm not a prepper, but it never hurts to have something useful like this box tucked in the car. Of all the kits I researched, yours made the most sense. Why do you have the fixed blade if you have the multitool?

calipso69 (author)2013-12-15

I always like to carry toothpicks in any kit, handle, bag or otherwise. I really like this kit and the components. Well done!

Is it possible to ship one or two of these to loved ones in other states?

maidenarts (author)2013-11-02

I really like this kit! I'll probably make it for my hubby and my self. While watching your YouTube video, it made me think of some additional item to add. Some item suggestions : 1) hard candies (if you need to go without food); 2) candle (especially if you live in cold locations and your stranded in your car); 3) saline eye drops (in case you need to flush your eyes)

maxchop (author)2013-10-30

This is absolutely AMAZING, gonna remake my kit now ;)

siegeking (author)2013-03-25

include fishing line?

BudgetBugout (author)siegeking2013-03-31

Dental floss can work for fishing.

siegeking (author)BudgetBugout2013-10-06

oh yeah good idea

Wyattr55123 (author)2013-06-27

Wouldn't it be useful to throw in a quarter or two for a pay phone if necessary?

rkatz30 (author)Wyattr551232013-08-20

I've had a really hard time trying to find a pay phone these days. I'm sure they still exist but I had to break down and get a cell phone.I also found a battery pack made my rayovac that i can charge for a third more phone life. it stays charged for six months.

BudgetBugout (author)Wyattr551232013-07-05

It has 2 quarters in it's current version. I'm waiting until I get another item before I upload ver 2.0.

rkatz30 (author)2013-08-20

My husband would love this. I need to find the knife and the mini gerber or leathermen and I'm set

hjydfdhd7 (author)2013-04-14

does the all the items listed fit in the kit ??? if it does that soooo cool

BudgetBugout (author)hjydfdhd72013-05-26

Yep it all fits inside, I just uploaded a video of it if ya wanna take a look. :)

agm88 (author)2013-05-08

soak your cotton balls in vaseline for better fire starting

BudgetBugout (author)agm882013-05-26

I considered doing that [and I still might], but I'd just rather not do that at the moment.

themightydozer (author)2013-04-25

Very nice dude. I saw you commented on mine so i checked it out. very nice kit with no nonsense items unlike some of the other "survival" kits put together by 10 year olds that i have seen on here. How is the Doug Ritter knife? i have really been wanting to get me ione but really never saw any feedback on it. Check out my YouTube channel please! i have a vid on both of my different kits! Happy Trails and God Bless. -Dozer

Appreciate the comment! Yeah the knife is pretty decent. Looks like a nice YouTube channel you got there. I subscribed. Also, check out my new account:

bigryanj (author)2013-05-26

Is this what bear grylls uses ?????????????????????

BudgetBugout (author)bigryanj2013-05-26

Haha! Well, he markets the mini-multitool but I'm not sure if he uses it in the field. He would go far with this Altoids survival kit though!

freeza36 (author)2013-03-09

Great job man! Added to the guide for sure.

BudgetBugout (author)freeza362013-03-23

Thanks man! Appreciate it!

freeza36 (author)BudgetBugout2013-03-23


hellmaster993 (author)2013-03-09

that is one big kit < and your a christian right, because im a christian to God Bless you man, and thanks for checking my kit out.

Thanks man! :)

jbb3141 (author)2013-03-13

Great instructable! My only suggestion is to add more cash than $20. Otherwise, outstanding. And thanks for including links to items you have in the kit. I always hate having to track down something I find useful when it'd be easy for the creator of the instructable to include links. Great job sir.

BudgetBugout (author)jbb31412013-03-23

Thanks! Yeah I wanted to make it as easy as possible to replicate if someone saw something they liked.

I agree with adding more than $20. I now have a backup Altoids Smalls tin (in beta testing) which also has a $20 bill.

creampuffs (author)2013-03-15

One of the best survival tin instructables ive seen so far :D
keep up the good work!

BudgetBugout (author)creampuffs2013-03-23

Thanks! :)

CSBranger (author)2013-03-15

Why does everyone seem to use the Altoids can? it isnt even waterproof.

mrbubbles9868 (author)CSBranger2013-03-23

because they are easy to find and can be waterproofed like mine


And because my tin is used for EDC purposes as well I want to be able to open and close it easily and without drawing attention to it.

trisomy21 (author)2013-03-20

This isn't intended to be mean but I wouldn't rely on anything with Edward (Bear) Gryll's name on it, he's the laughing stock of all survivalists. Now - I'd soak those cotton balls in petroleum jelly - they light easier and burn much longer and become more compact, so you can add more (try it). I'd also replace the the SOL Fire Lite, they are not waterproof nor is the tinder and the 1000 strike claim is a massive overestimation - if it works at all, I have tested these. I'd get a good ferro rod instead.

Finally, if you like survival type shows, stop watching bear. Watch some Ray Mears, Les Stroud (Survivorman), Ron Hood etc.

BudgetBugout (author)trisomy212013-03-23

Thanks for the great suggestions!

I referenced Bear Grylls simply for familiarity and I used the mini Gerber multi-tool due to its size, reliability and price (this model existed prior to Bear Grylls branding). :) I tend to watch Les Stroud and Dual Survival more than Bear Grylls due to their realistic energy conserving methods. I'll look into those other ones too.

Initially the reason I didn't soak the cotton balls into petroleum jelly is because I wanted to keep the contents from rattling around and I had Chapstick in the tin if I wanted to make it flammable. But now I might add the petroleum as you suggest.

I replaced the SOL Fire Lite with a mini Bic lighter because I came to the same conclusion.

About This Instructable




Bio: As my user name indicates I take a budgeted approach to survival. Check out my creative survival kits and more on YouTube! ...
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