Introduction: Altoids Survival Kit 2.0

Picture of Altoids Survival Kit 2.0

Hi I'm BudgetBugout and in this Instructable I show you my new and improved Altoids survival kit!  Although this kit is tailored to my specific needs and environment I believe that the basics of this kit are applicable to everyone!  Feel free to leave comments or suggestions so that we can learn from each other!  If you enjoy survival kit videos, be sure to subscribe to me on YouTube at:

Also, if you'd like to view the YouTube video of this kit click here.

Thanks and God bless!!!


The great outdoors is a wonderful place to explore and feel alive!  However, those feeling can quickly vanish if you're trapped or lost in the wild.  Useful for hiking, camping or everyday carry; this pocket survival kit is a convenient and inexpensive way to provide survival essentials!

Here are all of the items in my Altoids Survival Kit:

1x CRKT Ritter Mk5 fixed blade knife
1x Streamlight Nano flashlight
1x Whistle 
8x Water purification tablets
1x Compass
1x Mirror
1x Coffee filter
4x Waterproof matches
1x Mini Bic lighter
4x Strips of Gorilla Tape [1" wide]
1x Razor blade
2x Cotton balls
1x Lint ball
1x Dollar bill
1x Striker for matches
2x Needles
2x Pins
1x Spool of dental floss
2x Fishing hooks
2x Fishing sinkers
1x Crazy Glue
2x Bandaids
1x MRE Beverage bag
2x Alcohol prep pads
1x One foot of tin foil
1x Altoids Tin
1x Tweezers

Step 1: Contents

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Here are all the contents laid out!

In the subsequent steps I will show you how I build this kit, the capabilities of this tin and the purpose of each item!

Step 2: Collect

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Gather all the contents that you would like to be in your Altoids Survival Kit.  Be sure to focus on survival, NOT what you would use everyday or even for camping.  If you'd like to see what I EDC [everyday carry], click here to see my EDC video on YouTube.

When it comes to making survival kits, the SAS Survival Handbook is regarded as a primary source of knowledge by most survivalists. 

Step 3: Construction

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In order to help with the organization of the kit, I highly recommend that you tape certain content to the top and sides of the tin.

Some items that are helpful for construction are 1" gorilla tape [electrical or duct tape work fine too], double-sided tape, and a sharp blade.

On the top of the tin I taped a mirror that I got from a lipstick box from Goodwill and a razor blade.  I also taped a few extra strips of Gorilla Tape incase I need to make a make shift bandaid with a cotton ball.

On the sides of the tin I taped a striker pad from a weather proof matches box, needles, pins and hooks.

Step 4: Cutting

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Easily the most important item in an outdoor survival situation is a sturdy knife.  I'd even go further to say that any survival kit lacking this essential item is incomplete at best.  

Here are 10 ways to use a survival knife published by the world-renowned survivalist Dave Canterbury, co-star of the reality TV show "Dual Survival" and owner of The Pathfinder School LLC.

10 Ways to Use a Survival Knife

Survival knives are among the first pieces of equipment that come to mind when most people think of bushcraft. The versatility of a survival knife as tool and weapon makes it one of those elite items no woods-wanderer should be without; many authorities consider it the single-most critical item of survival gear. A versatile and quality survival knife in the hand or on the belt alone serves as a critical confidence booster.

While the usefulness of a survival knife as a hunting or fishing spear or survival weapon is popularly known, this tool is invaluable for a staggering spectrum of situations.

(1) Digging Tool: A well-constructed survival knife can serve well as a shovel for all kinds of tasks such as gathering edible tubers, excavating fire pits, disposing of human waste, and carving out distress signals in snow or dirt.

(2) Weapon: In a situation requiring you to procure your own food, a survival knife can be used to harvest small game or even fish. With a little ingenuity the survival knife can be uses as the ultimate emergency weapon.

(3) First Aid: While a clumsy, unpracticed hand can do as much damage as good with a knife in a medical emergency, the tool is as versatile in first-aid as in basic campsite routines. It’s useful for cutting improvised bandages, for example, or—with a sterilized tip—draining pernicious blisters.

(4) Splitting Wood or Cutting Saplings: If you’re only accustomed to flimsy, cheaply made versions, you may have trouble envisioning a survival knife as a hatchet and axe substitute. However, a large, full-tang model with a flat edge to the blade back can be a formidable wood-splitting or cutting implement. The design allows you to use a piece of wood or mallet to pound the keen edge into a log or sapling.

(5) Hammer: The butt end, or pommel, of the knife handle is its own hammering tool, handy for driving in stakes for shelters or snares.

(6) Gear Adjustments: On an extended foray in the backcountry, you invariably need to make little adjustments to clothing and equipment in the interest of comfort and safety. A knife is the perfect tool for emergency modification of your gear.

(7) Stake: In the absence of other materials, a survival knife can be driven into the ground to serve as a stake—as when anchoring an emergency shelter or a food bag balanced in the tree canopy out of a bear's reach.

(8) Tool-making: Some may think a knife in a wilderness emergency is simply a tool unto itself, but one of its chief purposes in a wilderness emergency is really the manufacture of other, more specialized survival gear. It’s essential for making a fire bow and drill, which is of utmost importance if you’re lacking other means of alighting tinder.

(9) Fire: Speaking of fire-making, a survival knife allows you to flay out ribbons of inner bark from a branch to produce so-called “tinder”—invaluable when making a “birds nest” and igniting a fire in any condition. A survival knife can also be used to strike your ferrocerium rod (ferro rod) when igniting tinder.

(10) Shelter-making: A knife blade serves handily to trim limbs in the event you must build a shelter. It can also be used to notch the limbs before lashing them together.

From lifting simmering stew off the flames or to make your own tools, a survival knife is more than a whittling tool or a fish spear. Make one a permanent addition to your pack, and head into the woods with that much more peace of mind.

Step 5: Combustion

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The ability to start a fire in survival is so important that it's necessary to have redundant fire-starting capabilities in any survival kit.

Although there are easier ways to start a fire [9 volt battery and steel wool] and more compact ways to carry a fire starting capability [magnesium fire starter] you'd be hard pressed to convince me of using anything but a mini Bic lighter in a compact survival tin.  After seeing first hand how reliable and capable a mini Bic lighter is, I've ensured that it is in each survival kit I own and is on my person everyday when I leave the house [along with a knife of course] - and I don't even smoke!

Having tinder is also an important element in a survival kit, it could make the difference between sustaining a fire or having the wind snatch up your precious embers.  I use both dryer lint and cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly in my Altoids survival kit to give the fire resistance against the elements.

Step 6: Combustion [Continued]

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Bonus DIY: How to make weatherproof matches

Matches become useless if they get wet.  However, "weatherproof" matches are resistant to water and can be made by simply dipping "strike anywhere" matches into hot wax.  See pics below.

Step 7: Cordage

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Cordage is another survival item that is difficult to replicate in a survival situation yet invaluable in the wilderness.  

Cordage can help build a shelter [essential for survival in extreme weather], snares, medical, clothing repair and fishing line.  

Step 8: Container for Water

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Water is essential to prolonging one's survival but contaminated water will quickly do the opposite.

In this kit, there are several ways of purifying water and one main way of carrying it.  The coffee filter removes large dust and debris, the water purification tablets kills the bacteria and the aluminum foil can be shaped into a cup for boiling.  

***Note: If you'd like to make your kit waterproof, seal the outside of it with Gorilla tape or electrical tape.  :)

Step 9: Comfort [First-Aid]

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The likelihood of cuts and scrapes increase in a survival situation as does the chance of infection which makes first aid an essential item for a survival kit

In addition to first aid, alcohol prep pads can also be used for fire tinder.

Cotton balls can be used with gorilla tape to make a makeshift bandage.

Tweezers can be used to pull out splinters, slivers, stingers and anything else that could get stuck in your skin.

Krazy Glue works in place of stitches for deep wounds.

Step 10: Communication

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The one thing better than being able to survive is being rescued!

Weather day or night, these items [mirror, flashlight and whistle] will strengthen your chances of being seen and heard.  The mirror is conveniently located on the top of the tin for quick access and the whistle and flashlight can be attached to a makeshift necklace through the use of the dental floss.

Step 11: Compass, Pins & Needles

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These final miscellaneous items can help make navigation possible, food a reality and a few things in between!

Find food and your direction with the help of these fishing accessories and trusty button compass.  The needles and pins can be used to repair apparel or help with first aid needs.  The needles can also serve as backup hooks.

As you can see, the dental floss works well with the hooks, weights and needles.  :)

Step 12: Confidence

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Now you are ready to go!  Be safe out there!  God bless!


mjk0307 (author)2015-05-12

This may sound weird but put a trick birthday candle in there that way wind can't blow it out.

PHamm54 (author)mjk03072015-05-31

Great idea! What makes a "magic candle" "magic? Wonder if we can diy it?

gohanmaster2000 (author)PHamm542017-11-08

a metal wire or such stays heated. making a wax vapor ignite again


KellyKandy (author)mjk03072015-05-13

Brilliant idea, why didn't anyone else think of that!

ericmwiksten (author)2015-07-16

This sounds great. I have
not tried it yet but will. Also will include both a condom and mini tampon. Great for multiple purposes. What is best size can.. which can also be used to cook food.

Nedalin (author)ericmwiksten2017-07-13

I was also taught to include a Tampon for tinder (because it's compressed) and a condom as liquid container (unlubricated, can contain up to 2 liters).

VirginiaJ5 (author)2017-02-14

Granted, "urban survival" is nothing like wilderness survival, but I have a set of tools I keep in my purse for emergency situations. These tools are 3 in number: a multitool with the middle tool a pair of needle nose pliers with wire cutters; a multitool with a crescent wrench head; and a pair of scissors, Fiskars for Kids.

What tool have I used most often? The scissors. There are so many little things in the details that a pair of scissors finesses, and it makes the job so much better. Trying to cut small things with a single blade can be a lesson in futility depending on the material cut.

No, the scissors don't fit in an Altoids tin, but a pair of fold-up scissors do. I even have a small Swiss Army knife knock-off that has a tiny pair of scissors that would do in a pinch. They are spring-loaded so when you squeeze to cut, the spring back out.
There are sewing scissors made in a kind of tongs fashion where you squeeze blades together to clip threads. I plan to make a similar tool with X-acto blades soldered onto a small spring. Maybe a modified bobby pin?

kkmmccoy (author)2015-10-16

could you put some signaling tape in

Bindox (author)kkmmccoy2015-12-17

I have been using the small platters from 2.5" hard drives for signal
mirrors. They are very durable and tough to scuff beyond usefulness and
they can be shaped to fit into an Altoids tin with a grinder. The
platters from the 3.5" hard drives are in all of the day packs and first
aid kits that I make for our Boy Scout troop.

kkmmccoy (author)Bindox2015-12-18

ok but all the means of signaling that is possible is better mirrors fire flare gun ect btw I know u can't put a flare gun in an altoids can

VirginiaJ5 (author)kkmmccoy2017-02-14

But you can light three fires in a row, which is a signal for emergency distress. Three of any signal.

Instructa-Nathan (author)2016-10-18

Try out this flint striker and see how you like it. I have used them for a while and have had no problems. I put one in my survival kit because they are fairly compact.

I have five different sized fire starters which ones should I use?

Use the smallest one that works well in your environment. The best one would be one that your are familiar with and can use effectively in a tense situation.

Cdog2897 (author)2016-09-03

love it!

9fiftyfive (author)2016-02-01

Amazing guide!

Beezor (author)2015-12-20

Oooh crazy cool! I really like it but knowing me I'll probably just tuck all the stuff inside and call it done! But great job and merry Christmas! ;)

Minecraft12345 (author)2015-09-18

does anybody know were to get mora bushcraft

kkmmccoy (author)Minecraft123452015-12-18


hp5551935 (author)2015-06-02

Why do you include the 2 dollar bill? Beyond it's obvious use as money? 2 dollars isn't much money so why not a $20 or a $50? The cotton infused paper might make a decent filter or container for something like salt or loose gunpowder but why is it included?

quinnmonnier14 (author)hp55519352015-12-17

small bills also make surprisingly good tinder. They can also be made in to a filter with some added charcoal, made into char cloth, soaked in pitch and made into a torch, they are also fairly absorbent for use as an emergency bandage among several other uses

the main reason is for money, I would include a 20 or 50 dollar bill I imagine the 2$ is just for example purposes

GingerJJ (author)2015-09-26

You don't need to spend money on pre-made bracelets...

There are many other resources as well.

This was a good Instructable! I planned to do something similar, execpt in a second wallet. :P

ericmwiksten (author)2015-07-16

Would be cool if we could come up with a version that you could keep in a the old money belt..put the knife in the front..the lighter in ther middle back. and rest of gear in between..thoughts?

DamnPigs (author)ericmwiksten2015-09-16

erm that's actually quite simple, there are instructables on:
-survival kit in a paracord bracelet
-paracord belt
Combine these 2 according to your one preferences and ... TADAAAAHH...
You have a survival kit in a paracord belt

Ringer1515 (author)2014-04-19

a good idea for water carrier is a condom... yes a condom it can hold tons of water and it is very compact for storage.

WoundedEgo (author)Ringer15152014-05-12

AND it could come in hand in times of peace and love as well!

DachsieMommie (author)WoundedEgo2015-06-02

Gee, just think, if HIV had been a problem back during the Woodstock Festival, and condoms had been a "must use, " the whole dynamic of Peace, Love & Music as well as spontaneity would have been much reduced.

I don't think anyone brought condoms to Woodstock. I sure didn't!

PHamm54 (author)Ringer15152015-05-31

A ballon might work better & it's not full of "other" stuff

fluffydragon (author)2014-10-06

Bonus points for using the container in every shot.

Product Placement: 500 points!

Captain MacTavish (author)2015-03-05

What haven't you done to that altoids tin? You have out it in water, next to a small fire, hung it by a string, and put bandages on it! Lol :)

Almost as bad as the Spanish Inquisition, or the Salem Witch Trials...

steve.fenster.5 (author)2015-06-02

This is really a well thought out kit. I have one suggestion. I have been a surgeon for over 30 years. The alcohol pads will not be sufficient to disinfect a wound. They will only sting. It takes about 5 minutes of contact time to disinfect. Perhaps if you soaked a couple of cotton balls in concentrated betadine or chlorhexidine then you could drop them into a small amount of water and have a really effective disinfectant. The chlorhexidine is better and you want about a 10 to 1 dilution. The betadine should be diluted to the color of weak tea.

chlorhexadine - is that the stuff in "hibiclens"?

Yes that is a brand name. It is better than betadine. It has residual anti-infective effects. I would drip it into the clean wound then bandage over it.

In spite of drenching the area and scrubbing with it(twice - night & next morning) before my knee was replaced, I still ended up with the worst MRSA infection, ever. It took 3 more surgeries & IV antibiotics to get rid of it. My poor quadricept muscle has a big indentation in it. that sucker is deep. I can almost use it as a cup holder !-)

LesB (author)2015-06-02

Great idea!
You might want to consider leaving a couple of the Altoids in. You shouldn't be dealing with some dire emergency with bad breath!

DachsieMommie (author)2015-06-02

whatta great idea! I have most of the items just sitting around the place, including a brand new rectangular Altoids tin. All I need to do is put it together. Thanks!

PS: I also have about 10 "Sour Altoid" round tins. Maybe they can be used in a similar manner to create small "emergency kits" for various situations. Anyone have any good ideas? Let's hear them...

Here's what it looks like. Since I live in Oregon, and have a medical Marijuana card, I keep a bit of "medicine" in one. Therefore, I'll start the list with

1. Emergency medicine kit.

BlackSheep1 (author)2015-06-02

I might recommend you add more than 1 $1 bill -- say a $5 instead?

rickearl.atlanta (author)2015-06-02

If you add a hook needle (upholstery needle small) you can do your own sutures using the floss. And if the dollar bills are new and dry you can use them to strike a paper match

kidharris (author)2014-04-25

You can also empty the tin, poke a little hole in the top of the tin, fill it with scrap cotton cloth or other tender, and throw it into the fire and wait until it quits smoking to make char cloth to replace your cotton ball kindling in an emergency. The tin will be uglier, but still be useable, just wipe it off and fill it back up. Wrap the char cloth in a little piece of your aluminum foil and stick it in your pocket.

If you had an aluminum or stainless steel tin you could use it boil water or cook on.

For water proofing , I would just put the tin in a ziplock bag and replace the bags as they get worn. In an emergency the bag could be used to put the rest of the stuff in when you are using the tin for some other use, carry scrap food /water, as fuel/kindling, or when filled with clear water it can be used as a magnifying glass to start a fire.

Your tin is ok, but I would rather have something a little bigger and would at least add a space blanket and compact clear plastic poncho. The blanket can help you stay warm or cool, make a small shelter/tent, offer some protection if you had to make a run thru a fire, and be used for signalling. The poncho can keep you or your gear, dryer and warmer, also be used for shelter, used as a makeshift bag/backpack, make a fish trap, and make a solar still or to collect dew to get some drinking water.

dpochenk (author)kidharris2015-06-02

The cloth is more flammable, i second this idea..

PHamm54 (author)kidharris2015-05-31

Great ideas, do u have a website or u tube videos?

dpochenk (author)2015-06-02

Mine includes a Toothbrush with the other end cut like a shank :P
Budget knife and functional for brushing your teeth

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-20

I love it but I don't think a 18 dollar knife is a budget. A bag or something would be good for Carring or purifying water.

PHamm54 (author)Survivorkidjr2015-05-31

If it saves your life it would've worth its weight in gold!

cheezyguy5 (author)2014-11-21

If you replace the Krazy Glue and Band-Aids with First Aid Superglue, this would be the best mini survival kit out there!

PHamm54 (author)cheezyguy52015-05-31

First aid super glue is the exact same thing; crazy glue or a generic is cheaper

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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