Introduction: Mini Altoid Survival Tin

For anyone who has a friend or family member who is “that guy” (or girl), you know the one, super hard to buy for, they have everything they already want, or they don’t really want anything, I have a solution that will make both them and you happy!

The Altoids survival tin.

That’s right folks, a harmless little $1 or $2 tin of mints can be transformed into an actually useful, potentially even lifesaving gift with just a little time and creativity. Based on what you already have laying around your own house, it may even end up being a free gift!

And it will certainly be unique.

(Unless your giftee is a hard-core preparedness and/or survival expert, then they probably have a few dozen kits like this, and much fancier. But it is still the thought that counts, and I’m sure they are never mad about extra prepper gear!).

You can get kids involved too, they love to come up with fun ideas for tiny, useful items, and tetris things together until they fit. It becomes a game of how much can you stuff into this tiny box!


For these kits, all you need is a small Altoids tin (or any other small, sealable metal tin) and an assortment of survival related items. There are infinite sites around the internet with suggestions and recommendations on what to add to these kits, ranging from meds to tarps to fire starting equipment. Some even show youtube videos on how to turn the tin itself into a knife or saw, which you should only attempt if you are educated on how to use the tools to do so.

It is best to take into consideration the personality of the person you are creating this kit for, and the likely scenarios in which they could need this. It could be a beauty emergency kit for a female friend, in which case you would want to include things like hair bands, bobby pins, safety pins, oil blotting papers, Q tips, and maybe tiny samples of makeup or makeup remover pads. It could be a “Bad Day” emergency kit, and contain things like a mini bottle of wine, pieces of chocolate, and uplifting sayings on pretty paper.

Step 1: Assemble the Items You Want to Put in Your Kit

For the preparedness/emergency kit, you want to include things like pain medications, matches and candles, ways to collect or purify water, and items that have multiple uses like string.

Keep in mind that even things used to hold together other items, such as electrical or duct tape, string, or rubber bands, can themselves be useful too.

The kits shown above contain:
3 matches taped together with electrical tape
2 small birthday candles
3 feet of string tied with a twist-tie
A toothpick
A safety pin
1 antibacterial moist towelette
2 Band-Aids
200mg ibuprofen tablet
1 ml of bleach in a sealed plastic tube
1 small trash bag (to hold water to add the bleach to, or provide a tiny bit of coverage from rain or sun)
1 stick of gum
1 packet of lettuce seeds
A rubber band to hold it all together

And if you REALLY like your gift recipient, you can hide a small folded bill of cash at the bottom!

Step 2: Make It All Fit, and Enjoy the Satisfaction of Your Free Gift

Now the tricky part is getting everything to fit into your tin.

Obviously, the more you add, the bigger your tin must be. Altoids makes minis and regular size, but we are not brand loyal here. You can use any smallish sealable container. Waterproof and pocket sized is best if shooting for the survival route.

The beauty of this kit is that it is tiny enough to fit into any pocket, so for something as simple as a road trip, or a camping trip, or going to work in the city, your recipient can know that they have a small advantage should the S hit the F.

Happy gifting!

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