What should You include in a miniature survival kit like the Altoids tin? And why?
For example, my wife is asthmatic, She would carry two spare inhalers and those are too big for for the standard Altoids container. She needs a "larger Survival Kit" yet small enough to fit in a purse, or back pocket.
Pick your gear wisely: Ounces Add Up To Pounds and Pounds Add Up To Pain!
Step 1: Survival Skills Knowledge & the Need for Small Items
What do you carry on your body? I already 'wear' Paracord 550 bracelets (parachute cord = 550 lbs), a whistle, compass & aspirin.
I want each Item I pick for my Altoids Survival Kit to perform double duty if possible. The miniature lighter and matches may only give me fire BUT fire provides many other benefits: boiling water, cooking food, light and heat. It keeps predators away and more. Since most people can't 'make fire', lighters are easiest. Matches are your back up. ( *A magnesium striker with its scraper takes a little practice to make fire safely but lasts longer & is more reliable than a lighter. SEE photo)
Step 2: The Basics of Your Customized Altoids Survival Kit
Lastly, notice I taped a large razor blade to the Altoids Survival Kit lid. It's my back up knife for cutting small items: cord, tinder, skinning game and more.
Some items may seem odd but as you continue to read, I'll explain in more detail.
Step 3: How Can I Carry Water in My Altoids Survival Kit?
MYTH BUSTER: you do Not have to boil water for two or three minutes. At the moment the water reaches a full boil, all the organisms are dead. It may taste like crap (more later), but it will hydrate you. Drink as much water as you can as dehydration will add to your misery and cloud your thinking..
Step 4: Starting a Fire During a Disaster Situation
Using a chop stick, or any long pointed device, I stuff the saturated cotton into the straw. Once It's filled, I seal the other end.
Easier fire starting is one reason How an Altoids Survival Kit can provide you some serious help.
Step 5: Fire & Boiled Water - Tea Anyone?
One is the BIGGEST problems you face is depression. The tiny human touches I've added remind me of How It Will Be Again.
REMINDER: When the water begins to boil, take it off immediately. All the bugs are dead and it's silly to steam away "good" drinking water.
The water is probably going to taste like crap if you found standing water. When in doubt, Boil All Water.
I pack two drinks: tea and ... (electrolytes, lemonade, your choice). This can give you a great psychological boast. When you've lost everything, this is a simple reminder of a better future.
It's the same basic reason I wrap my matches and striker pad in 80' of Dental Floss and 108' sewing thread. (See photo) First, if I eat, I can clean my teeth plus enjoy the 'minty' after-taste for dessert. It's a small comfort but that's the benefit of the Altoids Survival Kit.
NOTICE the needles in the center of the matches. (Toothpicks or sewing up clothes or a wound)
Step 6: Remember 911 - Dust & Smoke Can Kill You
Step 7: Ears, Eyes, Nose and Teeth
The ear plugs are handy with dust or smoke also BUT I want to sleep. In a disaster, getting rest will be a challenge due to noise or conditions. These simple, cheap little ear plugs have saved a couple of nights in thin-walled Motels on vacations. The Mask can be used as a head, neck or eyes light protector. Take care of your health. Surviving disasters are hard on your body.
Step 8: What Survival Gear Seems to Be Missing?
Step 9: Packing Your Altoids Survival Kit
WHY? The reasons for the alcohol swabs, larger and small band aids is obvious. People ask why I don't trim the paper back or take it off. In a Survival setting I might use the paper as fire starter or writing.
Taking care of my health during an emergency is important, thus the toothpicks and dental floss. Both could double as fire starting materials in desperation.
The paper clips: animal snare makings, or trip wire holders so I can sleep in my defensible position without someone trying to harm me and steal my supplies. IF I'm smart enough to care supplies, I better be smart enough to defend them. Thus, I carry the knife blade which has many wonderful, positive benefits besides.
Step 10: The WHYs in My Survival Kit - Altoids or Not - Part 1
The blue tube at the top is the sunscreen pressed against our 'water bowl' aluminum.
The the left - in a mini-plastic bag, I have 1st Aid Tips wrapping some fish hooks and a paper clip.
Right of that are my two alcohol swaps rolled and wrapped in wax flavored dental floss. (Tooth care, pleasant flavor and fire starter)
The white and yellow straw - sealed at both ends - contains cotton saturated with petroleum jelly. (Fire starter or medicinal)
The metal ball is a weight for the fishing line. The 5 matches, striker and sewing needles are held tight by about 20 feet of white nylon string. The fishing hooks can double for sew up a wound also.
The mini-lighter will be stood on it's side.
Step 11: The WHYs in My Survival Kit - Altoids or Not - Part 2
Step 12: Survival Kit 101 - Thinking Outside of the Cube
On top of the duct tape, I laid a Wire Saw - capable of cutting through limbs, lumber and simple objects. Good for fires, shelter, medical and other tasks, like Trip Wires for my sleeping security.
Step 13: CUSTOMIZATION - What Would Make Your Life Slightly Better During a Disaster?
I have arthritis thus a spare knee brace could improve the quality of my situation in a Survival scenario. What would you include in your kit?
Here is my Altoids Survival Kit Inventory:
Regular size Altoids Tin - Protects your gear, can boil water or cook small game, Rescue reflector
Aluminum Foil - gather water, boil it (doubled over) and Rescue reflector
Step 14: BONUS Survival Tip - Water Storage System
Put your Altoids tin into a Double Sealed Freezer Bag. One of the accurate complaints about the Altoids Survival gear is the can is not water tight. Put your finished, customized kit into the bag and 'bleed out' all of the air and then seal it. Lastly, I wrap one of those heavy, hair bands to hold it in place.
The Freezer Bag - IF replaced yearly - should provide a larger water container for travel.
REMEMBER: Enjoy the Best of Life but Be Prepared for the Worst.
Step 15: An Important Final Thought
Yin-Yang - good & bad, up & down, male & female, left & right. Life needs to be in balance to work effectively.
Enjoy the Best that Life has to offer; but Prepare for the Worst.
IF you would like to see what I learned from Japan's 2011 Earthquake & Tsunami: Lessons From Haiti and Japan
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