Introduction: No Nonsense Survival Kit

Picture of No Nonsense Survival Kit

Most survival kits I have seen contain lots of unnecessary junk that will do nothing to keep you alive. I have created this kit through my own experience and testing. I feel this kit has everything you would need in a survival situation and none of the junk. It is jam packed with items to keep you alive longer. For this kit you need an altoids tin, preferably one with an awesome paint job, and seven feet of paracord. Enjoy :)

Step 1: Contents

Picture of Contents

In this instructable, I will be covering 6 categories: fire, water, food, medical, signaling, and some other necessary items. Everything I have packed into this kit is extremely valuable in a survival situation.

Step 2: Fire

Picture of Fire

- One SOL flint striker
- Three weather-proof matches (any brand)
- One match striker
- Two small pieces of tinder (use one that works for you)

In my experience an SOL fire striker works well to ignite tinder. Weather proof matches are a great back up if the striker fails. I use regular tinder you can get in any store bought kit. The important thing is that it works well for me. Find tinder that you like and works well in your situation.

Step 3: Water

Picture of Water

- Six water purification tablets

In a survival situation, the last thing I want to happen is to get a waterborne illness. These are six small packable tablets that will allow me to drink even the dirtiest water safely.

Step 4: Food

Picture of Food

- Two mid to large sized fishing hooks
- Fishing line and some weights
- Fairly thick string
- Two razor blades

It is smart to have several ways of obtaining food in your survival kit. I have included hooks and fishing line to catch fish. The string is for making a snare to catch small game. If I manage to catch some small game I can skin it with one of the razor blades. The blades can also be used to clean fish.

Step 5: Medical

Picture of Medical

- Five butterfly bandages
- A small roll of duct tape
- One surgical blade
- One safety pin

Butterfly bandages will allow me to close up fairly large cuts in a pinch. Duct tape can also be used for sealing wounds. A sterile surgical blade can be used for many things, as can the safety pin.

Step 6: Signaling

Picture of Signaling

- Folded square of aluminum foil
- Flat whistle
- Small model rocket engine

The aluminum foil has multiple uses, one of which can be a makeshift mirror for signaling. A whistle is a necessity in any survival kit. The model rocket engine is my personal preference for signaling. I believe it would be very useful because it is bright, loud, and produces a lot of smoke.

Step 7: Other

Picture of Other

- Zip lock baggie
- Needle and thread
- Duct tape
- Aluminum foil
- Safety pin

Some of these items were already in previous categories. I have included them in the "other" categore to show that they all have a very wide range of usages.

Step 8: Packing

Picture of Packing

The first things you want to pack are the flat items. Arrange them in a way that takes up the least space possible.
Next pack your semi-flat items. These can include fishing hooks and safety pins.
Now pack in all of the soft items on top of the semi-flat items.
Lastly, arrange your largest items in a way that saves the most space possible. It will take a few tries to get them all in tightly.

Please check out stannickel's Solar Powered Flashlight that he kindly made just for this kit. He did a great job making a clear and simple light to make the kit better. Thanks!

Step 9: Wrapping

Picture of Wrapping

Now that your survival kit is backed to the brim, it will probably not close on its own. This is where the paracord comes in.
First, close the lid on the end of the paracord. Wrap it loosely around the tin. Pull the end back through all of the loops. When it is all the way through, keep tightening it until you have a long piece at the end.
Wrap the end back around the loops. When it is tight enough to hold itself together, you are done!


I expressly disclaim any responsibly what so ever in regard to the use of items in this instructable.

Step 10:

If you enjoyed my instructable, please feel free to vote! Thank you for your time and have a good day!


Bray58 (author)2016-10-20

Some great ideas in that box. I would suggest adding a small tube of cyanoacrylate glue. Wonderful for sealing small wounds without stitching them.

Instructa-Nathan (author)Bray582016-10-20

I will be adding that to my revised kit in the future.

Bray58 (author)Instructa-Nathan2017-03-16

Thanks (I am Canadian after all):)

AF6YS (author)2016-10-18

Good job! I just have two comments, there's one typo,"wights". and instead of the foil for the signaling, why not just use a signal mirror with a hole for aiming" Unless there was a reason to go on the cheap. But otherwise a fine job.

Instructa-Nathan (author)AF6YS2016-10-18

I was thinking about including a mirror, but there is very limited space in the tin. The foil has multiple uses but the mirror would be better.

El_Gato (author)Instructa-Nathan2016-12-24

instead of a mirror you could polish one side of the tin or the inside of the lid down to the metal. Use the finest finishing polish you can get, something like 8000 or finer. Protect from rusting with clear varnish and there you go. You have a signalling mirror.

AF6YS (author)Instructa-Nathan2016-10-23

How about using some tape to tape the mirror to the outside of the box, and then use your para-cord over the mirror. If size and weight aren't a consideration, I would go ahead and do that!

Just make sure that you don't use tape over a silvered mirror because it might pull the silver off. I think more mirrors are polished aluminum.

BerthaB1 (author)AF6YS2016-10-18

You could put a tiny mirror under the line you wrap around the tin.

AF6YS (author)BerthaB12016-10-18

There you go, see what you can do! Those mirrors with the hole for signaling are usually about 1/16" to 1/8" the thicker the better for magnifying the sun's rays, but take up space. You would have to debate yourself whether the foil would serve better than the mirror, more uses for the foil, but utmost importance on signalling for the mirror. I would find a way to have both if the use of the foil was equal to surviving better than without it!

RobertoC134 (author)AF6YS2016-10-18

2 typos-loud instead of "load"

offseidjr (author)2016-11-20

I will definitely try this!

stannickel (author)2016-10-18

I'm not sure how this would fit in such a small box. BTW, you have done a wonderful job with this project! I'm thinking that light at night is very valuable. Batteries are a bad idea because they go bad before you get a chance to use them. But, how about a small solar cell mounted on the cover to charge a super capacitor with an LED light? Super capacitors can be charged almost infinitely. It's a thought. Anyway, you did a great job. You have my vote. Thanks.

That would be very neat. I don't know much about wiring circuits and all that jazz.. I would love to see an altoids tin solar led light if you could make one! I could include it in my next kit.

OK, I did it. I made a solar powered flashlight that uses an ultra-capacitor instead of a battery. I decided to publish it as an Instructable and posted it here:

This project could be much more compact using the Dead Bug Style of point-to-point construction--just solder each component directly to the next one. That would save space. The solar cells would be hot-glued to the top or bottom of the altoids tin. You could punch a hole in one end of the tin and have the LED poke out of the hole. The switch could also have a hole so it would be accessible from the outside..

Very very cool. This is a great addition to my kit. Thank you!

Advising Elf (author)2016-10-28

Is this one better than the OSIS Survival Kit?

JohnC430 (author)2016-10-23

wouldn't a roadside safety flare be good for signaling? after all that's what it is meant for and is also safer than holding a rocket engine in ur hand and trying to light it

FuzzyT (author)2016-10-18

Adapt ad lib for different weather and terrains/situation. What's good in the desert ain't in the mountains or the cold conditions up in Canada. My first order of business anywhere in such a kit is an aluminum emergency blanket. I know the kit might get a bit bigger , but it's essential that one stays warm. If you want to be thorough have kits assembled for different activities. Never underestimate local weather in your decision making on contents of your survival kit. There is no " universal " kit that will be a help in ALL situations. Choose wisely.

AF6YS (author)FuzzyT2016-10-18

People can die from exposure in the desert doncha know? I have a fanny pack to carry stuff I can't fit in an Altoids tin, such as 2 space blankets, (1 is good for one person! Also have a rain Poncho and a windbreaker. Other things such as a rechargeable battery for electronics, solar powered battery backup (good because it's renewable- but slow to recharge.) I also carry my (hand-held) ham radio with an extra battery.

JohnC430 (author)AF6YS2016-10-23

more great ideas! thanks. gonna make a list of everything and fill a few small kids back packs or lunch boxes and put them in places where they will be accessible. Although the idea behind the Altoids box is to have a small "safety pack" always available. but where? I am not going to keep in my pant pocket and carry it around with me wherever I go. so I guess one in the car(?). I lived in Northridge during the Northridge earthquake. the situation was pretty grim, but I had a pool so I used pool water and a kettle and put it on the barbecue so we had coffee and we cooked on it too.

JohnC430 (author)FuzzyT2016-10-23

Good thinking!

Instructa-Nathan (author)FuzzyT2016-10-19

I love to have emergency blankets in a kit whenever possible, but the size of the tin doesn't allow for one.

pauldancy (author)2016-10-18

I've had an Altoid box like this for years with many of the same items, and the inside lid was shiny for signaling. One important item that is invaluable: a credit card, a $50 bill or a gold case you find a store or people who can help, but may need motivation to do so. A couple Aleve would help, too. Also, the inside spool of dental floss is tiny, but can be used for sutures, lashing or making a snare. Strong floss cannot be ripped with bare hands. A tiny, tiny compass is very important, and finally I wrap 3' of electrical tape around the seal of the box to make it waterproof. The electrical tape was once used to repair a ruptured coolant hose in the middle of nowhere. You can do 100 things with 3' of electrical tape. This is for the SHTF moments. pbd

JohnC430 (author)pauldancy2016-10-23

more great ideas

AF6YS (author)pauldancy2016-10-18

Great idea for the tape, I've wrapped a bit (haven't measured) of duct tape around a pen and pencil! Also a pad that can be written on if wet either in pen or pencil! While it won't fit in an Altoid's tin, a good thing to have if leaving directions for help to find you in inclement weather.

I forgot to add money and some meds. That will be for my survival kit 2.0 I guess!

JohnC430 (author)2016-10-23

Great instructable. Thanks for sharing. Why not also include a few small sachets of Neosporin?

BerthaB1 (author)2016-10-18

Sounds like a very good survival kit. Very lightweight. I give it a lg. thumbs up.

Thank you!

Youre very welcome. Id use the tiny mirror under the rope and keep the tinfoil also.

traviswolf (author)2016-10-18

How exactly is the rocket engine deployed?

Are you igniting that by hand with a flame??

Yes, they are ignited by flame. The easiest way to deploy it would be to simply hold a match up to it.

But is the lit engine then held in the hand like a signal flare would be?

Or does it zip around out-of-control like a loose rocket engine?

I'm just trying to understand it because it sounds like it would be pretty risky/dangerous to use in a survival situation. But if it functions just like a tiny flare in your hand then that makes sense.

What I would do would be to duct tape it to a stick and use it as a flare. If you held it in your hand you would probably get burnt, but you could light it then throw it up in the air.

PeterN40 (author)traviswolf2016-10-19

They don't really have much of a fuse, but you could just light it and throw it up in the air (making sure it is pointed up). They are small enough to not hurt anyone.

CherylS51 (author)2016-10-18

What size is your kit? I'd add a small magnifying glass for fir starter, and cactus/splinter removal! [old eyes here!]

Those two things would be nice to have, but the tin is very small. I had to include only nessesites.

Draculorum (author)2016-10-18

Very nice. I would suggest adding a durable 1 liter bag to purify water in. I know you have the ziplock bag but, it would be good to have one that holds the correct amount of water for 1 tablet which I believe is 1 liter. Whirl-Pak makes some nice ones and you can buy them on Amazon

The bag I have included is about one liter. It is just one I found laying around.

MattDoesThat (author)2016-10-18

I like the kit. I have a couple of thoughts about information you might include.

You should mention that water purification tablets kill microorganisms but do not protect you from chemical contamination, which could be a problem in any number of situations. Any time there is a flood, for example, lots of things end up in standing water.

You might think about linking some resources on using the items inside the kit, since many people wont know these things, and its possible they wont be able to tell bad information from good. You have the opportunity to curate that.

Thank you for you feedback. It is much appreciated.

CharlesE6 (author)2016-10-17

The tin itself could be used to drink from or even cook/eat out of. Just need to do something about the paint.

That is a very good point. I had painted it a while ago and decided to use it for my kit.

BlackSheep1 (author)2016-10-18

a note on packing: you can magnetize your needle so it sticks to the tin lid; same with steel but not brass safety pins. Or you can put a dot of tape over the needle / thread / safety pin assembly.

samnjoeysgrama (author)2016-10-18

When my husband went to AF survival training, they were given a small mirror with no 'silver' on a little circle in the center. You can look through the unsilvered hole and really target whoever or whatever you want to signal, (airplane, helicopter, rescue party on a distant hill, etc.). I know you have the foil, but if someone has room, these are often available at army surplus or you can make your own. Nice job on the kit. Everyone should have one in their glove box or backpack.

AF6YS (author)samnjoeysgrama2016-10-18

Thank your husband for his service!

From a retired Air Force Sgt!

mathteacherzee (author)2016-10-17

I recommend adding super glue for use as an emergency suture. That was its original purpose.

AF6YS (author)mathteacherzee2016-10-18

We're going to need a bigger tin! HaHa!

I have CyanoAcrilate (not the original, but knock off) in my kit, which is larger than an Altoids tin, but where do you draw the line on what to take and what to leave behind and wish you hadn't? You can't carry a suitcase around with you, yet my car was, never mind what it looked like- I live in the Mojave desert. It can be unforgiving if you don't go on well traveled roads and get stuck broken down with no cell reception, even if you go on a well traveled road, people don't stop these days, and for good reason! That is why I'm an amateur radio operator.

They have small single use ones at the dollar tree, I think it was 4 for a buck. That is what I carry in kit.

mathteacherzee, that is a very good idea. I will try to incorporate that next time.

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