Introduction: Pocket Survival Kit

Picture of Pocket Survival Kit

A talented person can survive with nothing but the clothing on their back and what they have between their ears, however it is nice to have a little help. Unlike a GPS, satellite telephone, tent, cook stove, backpack, first aid kit, and more until you are dragging 200 pounds around with you. This pocket survival kit is everything you need to make survival easier. This kit is small light and cost less than Ten Dollars to put together.

Step 1: Components in Order From Left to Right.

Picture of Components in Order From Left to Right.

These ten things can make a difference.

1. A case.
The best case is a watertight case that floats minimum a rain resistant case. It should be small enough to fit in your pocket and large enough to hold everything in your kit. A tin case can be used for cooking but not a compass.

2. A strong four-inch knife.
Four-inch knife, large enough to clean game for eating, and sturdy enough to whittle wood. A knife is a simple tool possessed by Homosapiens (man) since the Stone Age. Today made from sharpened steel and a handle, knives continue to be a simple and reliable tool.

3. Ten feet of Snare wire.
Brass is just my preference over copper or steel. All three are good but copper is soft and less reusable and steel is stiff.

4. Sewing kit needle threads a pin, and a couple buttons.
A sewing kit can be used to stitch up a deep wound, repair clothing, or the needle can be used to make a compass.

5. A small Magnet.
A magnet can be used to make a compass by fastening it to a piece of wood with the elastic band and floating it in water. The watertight case can be used to hold the water and the knife can be used to whittle a piece of wood to float the magnet. The magnet can also be used to magnetize the pin or the needle to make a compass.

6. String.
Spun nylon fishing line fifty to one hundred pound test is good about 20 feet. This can be used to snare snakes, small birds, and large insects. It can also be used to bind stilts for a shelter, or to fish with.

7. Disposable lighter.
A disposable lighter has more lights than a book of water proof matches, and the striker and flint can be used to start fires long after the fuel is used up.

8. Fishing hooks.
Obviously for fishing.

9. Clear fishing line 10 feet.
Obviously for fishing.

10. Elastic Band.
An elastic band is a universal spring, fastener, and security seal for your kit.

Step 2: Inside the Kit

Picture of Inside the Kit

Post 9/11 most of the things in this kit would not be allowed on a plane. The wire, string, and fishing line can be used to make a garrote. The knife and lighter are out right banned. However, this kit is small enough to take hiking, cycling, or with you in a car, bus, or train. It may not have everything you could use in an emergency but it has what you need to make the others like a compass and a shelter. After this, all you need is a survival course.


EmcySquare (author)2011-09-23

My two cents: I don't mean to offend anyone but those kits always make me think: It's somehow strange.
I carry all those things and many other (not the hooks) with me everyday in my EDC , still I don't call mine a "survival kit".

How many are the chances that any one of us end up lost in the woods and will actually need to fish or to catch game to survive? Is anyone sure to be able to? Did anyone try? We live 99.9999% of our life time in an urban env, and that's where we mostly will need help since basically this is just another type of jungle.

I Would add:
- bus / metro tickets
- a real compass
- duch-tape
- zip/fastening ties
- means to get in touch with others or ways to signals you presence so to be rescued: a wistle would be perfect.

Good question, how is this useful to me?
People in New Orleans were starving after Hurricane Katrina and rescue took a week. Ask them how useful a whistle or a buss pass is.
You can make a whistle with what is in my kit.

Have you heard of urban wild life?
Could you set up a snare to catch a squirrel to eat?
Would you even know the best materials to make a snare?
What is wrong with eating coy from a coy pond or goldfish?
You can make a fishing hook out of a bobby pin.
Could you catch let alone eat the neighbors cat?
Just how useful would a compass be to a person that knows the city.
Take out a cigarette and ask someone that is not smoking for a light and you will find out how many people don’t carry fire.

There is no such a thing as duct tape not being useful, however a role of duct tape wont fit in your pocket and it is one time use.

zip/fastening ties are one time use unless you make a rope out of them.

All the components in my kit are multi time use; the thread if used for stitching or sewing is one time use, but more than one use.

Lets say you dropped the lighter or the knife down a crevice, tie the magnet to the string and drop it down the crevice to the lighter or knife, it sticks to the metal and pull it up. Try that with a compass.

By the way, what is an EDC?

I have been long hall truck driver and equipment operator for thirty years, (The most dangerous occupation in Canada) Most of the time when I am stuck it is close to or in civilization “MOST OF THE TIME”. Cell phones only work when you are in range of a cell tower and C.B.s only work when you are in range of another C.B.

Now I can see how a person that is never out of earshot of the metro rail can find a survival kit a little supercilious. However I travel all over North America to remote comminutes and travel roads that see a vehicle once a month or less. I usually travel with collapsible fishing rod and some fishing gear, a big knife that is closer to a sward than a knife that I can cut down a tree or kill a moose with it. The longest I have been stranded is one month. I amaze people that see me fish, trap, or hunt, my wife calls it shopping.

There are places if you wreck the truck and they know where you are; they don’t go in to collect the body until spring. The body of the son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, (The ex Prime Minister of Canada) took almost two years to recover and rescuers knew where he was.

Rescuers will send a helicopter overhead to see if there are any signs of life, if they see none they do not risk the lives of others. They will not bother for someone like me.

itsruthanitha (author)2016-07-29

The Gerber Bear Grills Fire Starter is an essential piece to add to your survival gear and also features an attached emergency whistle.

jollygreen (author)2014-07-18

Great kit, I have not seen one in a soap container in awhile. I would like to say be careful of lighters because the butane can leak out or freeze up under 40 degrees if I remember right but the sparking wheel on the lighter is still available if you had some cotton ball shoved into the nooks and crannies. Thanks and

GOD Bless you and your families


Survivorkidjr (author)2014-05-02

Ok I'll try. I didn't see a ible on one

Neither did I so it would be something new might even be a winner.

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-05-01

I've tried using tinfoil and it worked for me. That is what is in my altoids one. Use the heavy duty stuff

Do an Instructable on it I would like to see that tinfoil is easy to come by and if it is easy that is even better.

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-29

What about tinfoil. small and can purify water...also water pur. tablets would be a good addition

Other than boiling water you got to show me that one.

Schmidty16 (author)2012-08-04

actually zip ties u can ur 3 or more times if u see the little clip that locks stuff take ur knife and bend that plastic clip back

djzadjza (author)2012-06-17

finally a person who understands the basic necessary survival tools. you need a strong knife. you need cordage or some kind. for the Size of the kit it is Very good.

doflagie (author)2012-02-07

Two more cents (If we keep going you'll be able to get a cup of coffee :-)

The contents discussion can go on forever and it's absolutely invaluable. Someone always seems to come up with another solution and if I were trying to survive with what I have on me, I'd want all the ideas I could get.

The contents of your kit are worth a few thousand times more if you use them constantly. Use them until it's not a survival kit, but tools that you always carry. Then you will be ready to try to survive. Don't wait until the last moment to find out that the flint in most lighters wont work well wet:-) Coghlan's magnesium bar fire lighter is an interesting replacement for the lighter. Can be wiped off after a fall in the stream, and used immediately. Needs shelter from direct rain to light a fire. The theory is that you scrape off a three-quarter inch diameter pile of magnesium and light it by scraping the striker bar on the back of the magnesium bar with your knife. I haven't tried a stainless steel knife blade. I don't know that it would get sparks. Personally I don't carry stainless blades. They don't sharpen easily and they wont make sparks with flint.

I have a thought for you. Why do you carry a compass?

I don't,. The best way out, if civilization still exists, is to follow a stream, or watercourse of any type. (downstream of course :-) The bigger the better. All will lead eventually to civilization, and most food is found where things are wet. Having a compass with you can tempt you to try short cuts, that's deadly. Just relax and enjoy the fishing. Move when you get the urge. People will worry about you, but it's better to get back in a month or two and fat than it is not to return at all

If civilization doesn't exist...just enjoy the fishing

voyageur10 (author)2011-11-05

Wow, I can't believe the ignorance of some of these comments.

Josehf - Awesome survival kit you have here! I spend over half the year in the bush, typically about 4 months of that are in remote backcountry areas (think at least 30 miles from the nearest road or even trail, sometimes much, much more.) I often travel solo and when in remote backcountry areas far from roads - I will always have a similar kit in my pocket or attached to my PFD, guaranteed. I do understand that most people don't lead lives quite like mine, but there are some of us out there whose lives could very well depend on the items in this tiny case! I don't spend 99.999% of my time in an urban environment, more like 15%. I personally love to see what other people carry in their survival kits.

I DO know how to use all the items in this kit, I can and have. Luckily, I haven't had to use them in a survival situation, but if it came down to it - yes, I would be totally comfortable doing so.

Personally, I don't carry kits like these on my person outside of a remote environment, but I will probably start stashing a few of them in various places.

Don’t be to hard on them they only think from where they know.

dwmanz (author)2011-09-25

It's always good to think ahead. With all due respect to all, what makes sense to carry has a lot to do with what environments you travel through, size and weight restrictions, and your skill level. If you're working out of the back of a truck and traveling through the boonies, then it makes more sense to have a compact fishing pole (and real tackle) then to tie a bent bobby pin to a boot lace. If you want to stick with what you can carry on your body, then a swiss army knife is much more versitile then a single blade knife (I carry both) while a good tactical knife is stronger and can be accessed with one hand. One Stop Knife Shop online has good selection and prices, along with detailed descriptions and photos. Many Swiss Army knives include a compass. BTW - A functioning compass can be about the size of a nickel, and can also be used as a stud finder in case you aren't lost in the woods. A magnet and fishing line will not pick up a pocket knife with a stainless steel blade and brass bolsters, and basic directions can be determined from the position of the sun and stars without a sewing pin and a magnet. The Spyderco Byrd Wrench is a very versitile tool that provides a plier, adjustable wrench, 3" knife, diamond file and screwdriver bits in a very tight package and comes with a belt case. I carry mine, but this is also great for the glove compartment or desk drawer.An urban disaster area will still have all of the stuff of civiliation laying around. If all the string, wire, rubber bands, knives and butane lighters have been washed or blown away, you're probably already dead. It seems to make more sense to carry real tools and supplies than scraps that can be scavenged in all but the most rural areas. If you know you're going to be out in the sticks, pack tools, weapons, and supplies appropriate to the situation. I'm trying to imagine an emergency that would require a signal whistle to summon help, but also afford the time to whittle one from scratch. A whistle isn't that big or expensive. Then again, I can yell pretty loud. I see niether of you picked a flashlight as an EDC (every day carry) tool. There are some excellent LED units that are about the size of a butane lighter, have adjustable light outputs, and run for many hours from a single CR123 lithium battery with a ten year shelf life. Check online at Battery Junction in the EDC section. A cpuple of band aids and alcohol prep pads take up virtually no room, and can keep common minor cuts from getting infected. This comes up much more frquently than the need to eat the neighbor's cat. If the cat thing is really what you're after, a packet or two of soy sauce can be obtained from any Chineese kitchen (before the flood) and is very portable. Dental floss comes in very compact packages, and provides a pretty strong string in a pinch, as well as being useful as dental floss. If you're working in the city, a gas mask would be a good thing to keep in a desk drawer in the event that you find yourself going down twenty stories of smoke filled stairwell. Although this is not "pocket sized" most office people have a little drawer space that can be used for sensable emergency gear. Cell phones, metro cards, bus passes and the like are useless in global emergencies, but are very usefull in personal emergencies and essential in urban environments. Nobody mentioned MONEY. A bit of cash and a credit card kept seperate from the wallet is a very good idea.

Josehf Murchison (author)dwmanz2011-09-26

As I said in my instructable, “A talented person can survive with nothing but the clothing on their back and what they have between their ears.”
I also said, “and more until you are dragging 200 pounds around with you”.
Many people do not carry a simple knife or a book of matches.
Most of what is in my kit are things many people do not carry.
Even a buss pass is useful as kindling.
A whistle sticks out when everyone is yelling and it is noisy.
In WW 1 orders were issued by whistle blasts.
Not all grades of stainless steel are nonmagnetic; knives are made of a stainless with higher carbon steel content for a sharper edge.
Take a magnet into your kitchen, touch it to the kitchen sink and your pots and pans. With high quality stainless the magnet will not stick, but I bet it will stick to every knife but a butter knife.
See how the magnet sticks in this pick.

dwmanz (author)Josehf Murchison2011-09-26

Perhaps, “A talented person can survive with nothing but the clothing on their back and what they have between their ears”, but would a smart person allow himself to be stuck in a mess like that? Being prepared is about packing for reasonably foreseeable events. It makes as little sense to carry a city bus pass on a hike in the Rockies as it does to carry fishing gear on the subway. It's not about loading up with 200 pounds of stuff, but bringing the *right* stuff. It’s hard to imagine that you can’t find room in a truck for some hunting and fishing gear, a flashlight, extra batteries, and other basic, yet not quite so primitive, survival stuff. You present a gear pack for a guy who could dig iron ore with his fingernails, smelt the iron over a camp fire using his cheeks for a bellows, pound the metal with a rock to shape it into bicycle parts, assemble the bike, and ride to the nearest town. Most of us don’t have your skills, and live in areas where rudimentary items like wire, string, magnets, and rubber bands would be lying about in great abundance in the aftermath of a flood or hurricane. In fact, ALL of those things could easily be sacked from any derelict car. It simply isn’t advantageous to carry that stuff around in anticipation of Armageddon. The pocket knife is always good to have, and I usually have more than one at any given time; a tactical knife that opens with one hand for convenience, and a multi-tool for versatility. I also carry a small high power LED flashlight, a butane lighter, and a cell phone on my person virtually everywhere I go. I have a gear bag that goes in the car while I’m working that has everything I need with which to handle whatever the day throws at me. If need be, I could use my pocket knife to make a slingshot from a tree branch and a strip of rubber from an inner tube with which to hunt house cats and squirrels, but it’s unlikely that this would ever be necessary because my work doesn’t take me farther than the NYC suburbs. In your instance, trucking all over creation, I would trade in all the squirrel snares and rubber bands around for one satellite phone. True, trapping critters in the woods for a month makes a much more Hemingwayesque story, but the satellite phone would get you home for supper. BTW - the picture of the knife blade holding the little magnet is not at all the same as the magnet holding the weight of the knife. If you’re planning to use a knife in an environment where dropping the knife down a crevice would be an issue, choose a knife that accommodates a wrist thong to prevent the problem.

Josehf Murchison (author)dwmanz2011-09-26

On 9/11, do you think the people in the twin towers chose to be in a building hit by a plain?
Smart people don’t chose to be in it, but smart people end up in it anyway.
I am not knocking a cell phone there good when they work.
Just like I’m not knocking duct tape, there is no such a thing as duct tape being useless.
Satellite phone, great when they work. You can talk to the rescuers and tell them where to find your body when they decide to rescue you in the spring.
Rescuers are there to save lives, not to add to the body count, and they pain over the ones they loose. That is reality.
Every thing is useful.
However you have gone from stainless steel is not magnetic, to the magnet is not strong enough to pick up the knife.
Pick an argument and defend it, or don’t pick an argument.
All the tools suggested by every participant in this contest are useful.
And I have checked out the other participants.
Take the survival bracelet made out of Paracord. Cosmetically stylish and useful unravel the bracelet and you have rope, unravel the Paracord and you have fishing line.
The figure 4 trap a bate trap that the author can obviously make and it works.
Many people do not carry a simple knife or a book of matches.
Most of what is in my kit are things many people do not carry.
The exact one you carry is up to you.

dwmanz (author)Josehf Murchison2011-09-27

Granted, office workers didn't expect their building to be hit by a plane on 9/11, however, building fires happen for much more common reasons, none of which is relevant to the immediate goal of getting out to safety. This is why it would be smart to have a gas mask and a good flashlight in a desk drawer. I do. When the stairwell is filled with black smoke and a few hundred panicked people are trying to get out alive, it stands to reason that those who can see and breath will have a distinct advantage. Looking ahead and preparing oneself for reasonably foreseeable dilemmas is being smart, and that is why I propose that smart people don’t have to “survive with nothing but the clothes on their back and what is between their ears”. I’m not saying that the materials you packed in your survival kit have no use, but you were talking about being stuck in the middle of nowhere with your truck. I know I’m repeating myself, but a vehicle that is intended for long hauls should have enough storage space for *real* tools and supplies to last a reasonable period of time until rescue comes. Satellite phones work anywhere on the planet, and it’s hard to imagine anywhere that you could drive a truck that couldn’t be reached with another ground vehicle or, if need be, a helicopter for an emergency rescue. A folding solar panel for charging the phone, MREs and bottled water to last a few days at most. Some basic cookware, including a pot with a metal handle that can be placed in a camp fire for boiling drinking water, although it’s unlikely to come to that. Maybe you’re into roughing it, and having a story to tell about how you lived through the winter with a cassette box full of wire and string appeals to you. If so, great, and have fun. It’s hardly practical planning if the goal is to emerge from a dangerous situation unscathed. Regarding the knife and the magnet, I wrote, “A magnet and fishing line will not pick up a pocket knife with a stainless steel blade and brass bolsters”. That’s my original statement and I’m sticking with it. Your picture shows a small magnet stuck to the side of a blade. This does not prove the reverse, which is that the magnet can support the weight of the knife. Add to the problem that you will need to tie a line around the magnet in order to lower it down to the knife. The line wrapped around the magnet will impede the magnet from laying flat against the blade. If you really needed a large strong magnet, you could sack a much more powerful one out of one of the speakers in your truck. Then again, what’s wrong with using a wrist lanyard to avoid dropping the knife in the first place?

Josehf Murchison (author)dwmanz2011-09-27

Any woman will tell you, “It’s not the size that counts its how you use it.”
Every thing in this pic is held together with magnetism.

dwmanz (author)Josehf Murchison2011-09-27

Women only say that to make you feel good, but I stand corrected. When I tried that with an open blade, I could get the knife to stand up, but as soon as I tried to lift the full weight off the table, the magnet slid along the edge and the knife fell right off.

Josehf Murchison (author)dwmanz2011-09-28

Want a trampoline for five bucks? That is real doe.

Is a your dime magnetic?
If they are sandwich the magnet between two dimes it focuses the magnetic fields.
The magnet I used was smaller than a dime and about as thick as a nickel.

I forgot about the lighter my knife in this has a link for a wrist lanyard and like I said, “10. Elastic Band.
An elastic band is a universal spring, fastener, and security seal for your kit.”
It can also be a wrist lanyard.
Check out this pic of the lighter, there is almost nothing of the magnet touching the lighter.
The pic of the magnet holding the knife was a video of it being shock off and picked up again by the magnet but for some reason it would not post as a video.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started ... More »
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