Instructables
Picture of Better Altoids Survival Kit
I have seen many "Altoids Survival Kits" here on instructables and thought I would make my own as a great exercise of what I would take if I was limited. I feel this survival kit takes from a lot of the other kits you can find, but eliminates the personal flare and short lived consumables that take up space. This kit will cost you about $40-60 to make if you need to purchase everything for it, but I feel covers every need to ensure your survival so long as you have a basic understanding of survival and building shelter.
 
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Step 1: Contents

Picture of Contents
kit03.jpg
Everything in this kit is minimized for short term survival, there are no bells and whistles in this kit (however, a VERY small whistle could always be a great addition) You may notice a few of the items are placed in small bags to either be water proof or keep items together. You can find bags this size at many craft stores, also at "hemp" shops... on the plus side, the hemp shops also have cool ones with pictures of the batman symbol etc on them!!!

Your Tin: This is a lot more useful than you might think, it can easily be used for boiling small amounts of water, for cooking and for gathering berries and roots. As it is thin aluminum, don't leave it in the flame for too long.

Paracord: For this kit 15 feet of reflective paracord has been re-wrapped tightly to fit in the case itself, not outside, and not in a wristband. If the cord is IN the kit with everything else, you know it is accounted for. the 550 7 strand paracord can be separated to have a total of 7 strong nylon string strands and the durable outer shell. You only need to know a few knots to build your shelter, my preference are; Square Knot for 2 ends, Figure 8 for looping an end, Clove Hitch for tying a pole, Backpackers Knot for something that can be tightened before securing.

Water Purification Tablets: Since the tin wont be able to boil that much water at a time, these will make do for having "safer" water to drink, boiling is the only 100% sure way to make your water safe, but these are a close second. (use with the condom, try to eyeball the right amount of water for each tablet)

Wire: For Making Snares or helping with constructing your shelter. This thin military trip wire will be adequate for squirrels and rabbits, possibly otters as well. You need to be ready to kill an animal with your bare hands if the snare grabbed its leg. Grab the neck and pull the back legs, you will hear a snap when the neck breaks and the legs will go straight back.

Flint: I had to saw off the handle for the flint stick so it would fit in the case, I added a small handle made of duct tape. This should be your primary fire starting device as it will last a long time and works even when wet.

Saw: This came with the flint, because its so thin it fits in the kit and will make an excellent 2nd cutting tool. Use this first for your flint as your knife will take off a lot of the flint with each stroke and could even be damaged.

Multi-tool: I shopped around for a perfect small functional multi-tool. While I do love Gerber, I'm not a fan of anything celebrity endorsed, but the Bear Gryll Compact Multi-tool actually did come out as my top pick for this kit. Personally, I'd like to see it have a can opener as well, but nothing in life is ever perfect. For info on this tool go here

Cotton Balls: Two Cotton Balls stuffed separately into small sealed baggies. The cotton is primarily for tinder with your flint and steel, however you can also use it with your duct tape to make a crude bandage for yourself. If I didn't want the cotton to be multi functional, I would have added Vaseline to the cotton so they burn longer. So long as you have your fuel (wood) ready to go, you might be able to get away with half a cotton ball to start the fire. Because fire is so important to your survival, I chose to include 2 cotton balls.

Fishing Kit: This kit has 4 hooks to remove all fear from losing one, two weights, and a LOT of line. (the line can also double as another means of tying things, including your shelter or traps if needed) The small bag is only used to keep the gear together. Familiar yourself with tying your hook and use anything from worms, berries and bugs as bait. In the winter, look for woodpeckers as they usually know where the bugs are in trees. After your first catch, fish guts and scales can make good bait.

Duct Tape: Re-Wrap your duct tape into a flatter roll with no core, this saves a ton of space. While duct tape isn't neccisary, it can have a lot of great functions including shoe repair, bandages, making things water proof and even building a cup.

Needle and Thread: 2 needles and Thread wrapped around a small piece of cardboard to keep it together. This is for any clothing repairs needed to ensure your safety. You should repair your gloves and jacket especially in the winter.

Waterproof Matches and striker: (Striker not shown) With only 6 matches these should only be used when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! I would suggest you keep them on hand for lighting your signal fire when you see a plane or helicopter in the area. A signal fire has a lot of green leafy bush above the main fire to create a lot of smoke.

Condom: This is great for collecting water! remove the condom and roll it open inside your sock, you now have a great way to collect water! As most people don't care for the taste of spermicidal lubricant, you might wanna go with a non-lubricated condom, but either way it will have a latex taste to it. Be EXTRA careful with this, and if you chose to add Vaseline to your cotton swabs, keep the two away as the Vaseline will eat through the latex. to save space I poked a hole in the wrapper to get rid of the extra air then re-sealed the wrapper.
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EmcySquare2 years ago
I still don't get how and why the fishing kit is so popular among survival kit makers....
Its If You Come Across A River
Well that was pretty obvious :-) Ad I guess they are willing to use it to catch some fish right? :-D.

Still What I meant is that:
- the chances of comming to a river/sea a few
- the chances having fish in it are even less
- the chances of catcing one low
- the OPPORTUNITIES and CONVENIENCE of stopping to catch a fish are very questionable as your first priority should be "GET RESCUED" and you can go 3 weeks without food...
yeah but u will still be realy weak that is truth that u can make it 3 weeks BUT WITH BIG PAINS NOT BE ABLE TO MOVE AND STUFF!
You are right about that.
Still does not mean that the good way to get your stomach filled is by fishig, nor that the chances are in your favour.
Provided that, you better stick some high caloric food in it. May be peanut butter or something.
And, most of all: you are not going to stay there for three weeks anway, you wanna be rescued within three DAYS...
bigpunk81 (author)  EmcySquare2 years ago
Again, location... Rural Canada Search and Rescue can take weeks because... well... aside from being full of nice people, Canada is REALLY BIG!!! With less than 4 people per squared kilometer (compared to 200 people per squared km in Italy). I'm not saying your comments are wrong, its just a different environment. I've lived in England (twice the density of your country even) and I couldn't even THINK about going camping without someone pitching a tent next to me. I imagine in your country there is far better rural cell phone coverage, where in my country, you can drive for a few hours in the back country without getting an annoying facebook update LOL

The size of the fishing materials I have in my kit... maybe the size of 1/2 a Tsp of peanut butter. I'd take the fishing line over the 25cal of PB.
Just a suggestion, try using the wire-type fishing line (you can usually find them at most major stores), it can double a small game snare.
bigpunk81 (author)  K-chi992 years ago
Already snare wire in this kit... need the thick stuff for my area as the thinner wire fishing line would snap from the size of our hairs in the area.
bigpunk81 (author)  EmcySquare2 years ago
Again all about location... Take the Canadian Province of Manitoba as an extreme example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manitoba#Hydrography_and_terrain (don't read too much, even Canadians think this province is boring) But over 15% of the land is water, and 110,000 lakes are there including the Hudson bay coastline. You'd be considered foolish NOT to have fishing line here... (even more foolish to be there for anything other than fishing in my opinion LOL)

Once you have shelter and fire, you have time to wait... and fishing would be a great way to keep moral high (in fact, ask your average married Canadian man and he might pray for an extra day or two to fish before rescue LOL) That said, I would rather set a static line with 2 or 3 hooks in the water secured to a tree and check it a few times a day. You should be finding a body of water to build shelter near anyways, so this is just making use of your surroundings.

Hope that clarifies why I have it in my kit.
bigpunk81 (author)  EmcySquare2 years ago
For me it comes with region. Where I live lakes and rainbow trout are abundant, if we weren't restricted by Alberta Game and Wildlife for season and size we would easily catch (from the shoreline) enough to keep us going. It's all about location and preparing for where you would be. Not a dumb comment at all though, but make sure you have fishing line if you're in most parts of Canada :)
Great kit! I also have a mini Bear Gryllz multi tool in my Altoids survival tin. Our tins are similar in many other ways as well, just different means of execution. I just stumbled across this site yesterday so maybe I'll upload my kit as well. One thing that I've found useful for my kit is the CRKT Ritter Mk5 (mini fixed blade knife designed for these tins). It took some creative thinking on my part when I decided to incorporate it in mine but it's certainly doable. My next challenge is to make a survival kit for the Altoids Smalls tin. :)
Your video on You Tube prompted me to buy the crkt mk5, for my kit.
Survivorkidjr10 months ago
I love this kit but I think is needs some tinfoil. It's cheap small and give you more options for cooking
Reiff1 year ago
Oh, do you have any other Bear Grylls products? I do really like them.
I uploaded my Altoids survival tin if you'd like to see it. I also have the same multi tool in mine. :)
Well if you know how to fish the right way and know the rivers, streams ect. in your area, then the fishing kit is very useful. And I guess it depends on where you live, because I live in Western Washington where we have rivers everywhere and they are all packed with fish.
hEY I CAN SEE THE SAW
bigpunk81 (author)  blacksmithsurvial2 years ago
No you cant!!! you're imagining it LOL
tjlavelle2 years ago
you need 2 arrow points and six fletchings and a bottle of crazy glue and then it is truly a survival kit
bigpunk81 (author)  tjlavelle2 years ago
Crazy glue could be a great addition for some people (a single use tube maybe?). But in my region I can easily get spruce or pine pitch which is an amazing glue and disinfectant. You can easily make fletching out of duct tape (I even tried this while shooting bow a few weeks ago after losing one, just to see if I could. If you get the collapsible broadheads for the bottom of the tin it could work, but you could just as easily make a point out of your arrows that you straighten then heat treat the tips to harden. A broadhead would be overkill for rabbits and birds anyways.
preynolds12 years ago
maybe if you polished the tin with brasso after you sanded it would be more reflective
bigpunk81 (author)  preynolds12 years ago
I wanna try this, thanks for the suggestion... I did notice the tin rusts like CRAZY once it was sanded... so I'd never advise someone do this.
Annunakiman2 years ago
I would recomend a small pack of tissues, to use as toilet paper.
chuckr442 years ago
Tea tins (in the US) have roughly the same footprint as an Altoids tin, and are much taller, so they fit more stuff. Check your discount store, like Big Lots, for discount tea in metal tins. They are also crush proof and can be put into a bag or backpack.
What about one of the 'credit card' sized mirrors, glued to the inside of the lid of the can? I think they are about the right size, and could be trimmed easily since they are about the thickness of a business card.
bigpunk81 (author)  Colonel Angus2 years ago
Too thick, literally no room in the kit.

I'm in the process of minimalizing other things in the kit, including half the size of flint, and a better option for blade once I can find the "perfect" one for me.
Any of the blades of the multi-tool could be used as a mirror - they are reflective enough, but you gotta know how to use them that way.
mmarcu2 years ago
I taught Hunter Safety in the State of California back in the 60's. We used this same method, and included a small flat whistle, a mirror glued to the lid for signaling, and a small piece of 000 steel wool (which burns fast and hot...used for starting your initial fire in place of found kindling). Love this one!
punkhead582 years ago
Very organized and minimalistic. I like it.
bigpunk81 (author)  punkhead582 years ago
Thank you :D
B2BSurvivor3 years ago
Nice ible ! I agree about the mini Bic lighter. It is always a good idea to have at least 2 ways to start a fire, matches and your flint make a good set. The multitool is OK, but in most survival situations you really won't have much use for the " tools", other than the knife blade. I would recommend a small lock frame knife with a 2 inch blade, takes up much less space. Also, dip match heads in melted wax, then cool them quickly, this gives a nice waterproof match. The little plastic pouches are good as an added protection. You can also get them at pharmacies, as pill pouches.I keep seeing the condoms in these kits, probably because some military book included them. They are close to useless for the water storage or disinfecting use. They break far too easily. I have seen them fail in too many military survival training classes. A quart sized ziplock plastic bag takes up a little more space when folded, but it works much better.The heavy duty freezer type bags are best, much more durable.
Your "packed" problem is not enough space, primarily due to the big Multitool. If you really want to take along a multitool, try carrying the multitool in a belt sheath and then you would have lots of room for other things in your kit. The thin plastic bags you get at the grocery store, the clear ones from the produce department are excellent for water. They hold more than a quart and fold down very compact. Much more durable and dependable than a condom. They are also made of food grade plastic.
bigpunk81 (author)  B2BSurvivor3 years ago
Thanks for the suggestions.
This kit is by far my favorite of the Altoid tin variety. Thanks for taking the time to put together this instructable, I LOVE it!
bigpunk81 (author) 3 years ago
Just did a winter survival trip with a friend and spent half the day using JUST the kit for getting fire and building a winterized lean to (higher profile than a regular lean to with a raised wooden bed to get off the ground)... I'd have to say we were both impressed with the abilities of the kit as a real survival tool, however the condom is NOT good for -40 weather and foil is equally inadequate because of the holes it kept getting... we DID however make a great cup out of the duct tape! (seriously)... more duct tape instead of the condom might be a better way to go. expect future instructables on the other things we did in the near future.
yerm3 years ago
try adding aluminum foil it doesn't take up much space and makes a bigger cup to boil water/ cook food in
bigpunk81 (author)  yerm3 years ago
Literally, I can't add anything to this, it's packed TIGHT!
Foil works well for starting a fire faster! :)
Also lint or birch bark are both very flammable.
I also wrap mine in cord and keep it in a ziplock bag.
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