There are tons of these survival kits floating around Instructables and the rest of the Internet and though I do love making kits that include fishing hooks and sewing sets, my chances of being in a survival situation where I actually need those things are slim. I wanted to make a kit of the things that I often find myself wishing I had or that other people often ask me for.
My kit is unique in that it contains some essentials for urban survival that I haven't seen in any other kits. A few of my favorite things are a mini deck of cards, a pair of sunglasses, and a packet of ketchup. My kit contains 30 unique items (31 if you count the tin itself), all of which are very useful things.
I'll list the items again as well as some of the uses on the last page. I would love to hear comments about what you would include (or substitute) to make the tin ideal for your own use. I hope this Instructable inspires you to make an everyday kit that you can carry around.
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The 30 items:
-alcohol swab (I used one of those moist towels that KFC gives)
-a razor blade
-paper (I used a few post-its)
-a miniature deck of cards (mine were from Chuck E. Cheese's but I've seen them in quarter machines)
-a small plastic spoon (I got mine from a ice cream shop when I was given a sample)
-a length of duct tape
-a cotton swab
-a piece of gum
-a safety pin
-a paper clip
-a small screwdriver head (mine came from a screwdriver with switchable heads)
-a pen (the clickey kind are the best)
-a small mirror (I got one from a makeup compact)
-a ketchup packet
-a salt packet
-a pepper packet
-a sugar packet
-a length of dental floss
-a pair of sunglasses (those paper or plastic ones that optometrists give after an appointment)
-a paper towel
-a hair tie
-a few bills
-a few quarters
-a plastic grocery bag
Other things you'll need include:
-glue (the stickier the better)
-scissors (I used a multi-tool)
Step 2: The Mirror
If the mirror you are using is from a makeup compact, the first step is to break it out. The first pictures show the carnage from the mirror I extracted. I would suggest waring protective glasses and to be careful not to break the mirror while breaking away all the plastic.
You want to attach the mirror to the inside top lid. A clean, dry tin allows for optimal adhesion. I used hot glue but I would have preferred a thinner type of glue that would stick well. Try to leave a bit of space between the edges of the mirror and the edges of the tin so that the lid can still open and close easily.
Step 3: The Straw
First cut the straw down to size to fit in the tin properly. Next use some clear tape to seal one end of the straw. Insert a cotton swab followed by some aspirin or an anti-histamine. Now seal the other end with clear tape.
Doing this helps keep the cotton swab clean and protects the aspirin. It also helps the straw to not be crushed. It was amazing to me how well a cotton swab and 4 baby aspirins fit into the straw. The straw I used was from Starbuck's and the aspirin were Bayer brand baby aspirin.
Step 4: The Plastic Bag
We need the bag to compact and this is a great way to achieve that. First lay the bag out flat, working with the natural crease lines to get something like in the second picture. Now fold that in half (hot-dog style) twice (pictures 3 and 4). Now bring up the bottom right corner to the left edge and crease (picture 5). Fold that triangle straight up, aligning the left edge to the left edge (picture 6). Continue folding this triangle up and over until you get to the handles part. Open up the pocket that the triangle makes and stuff the handles inside to create a compact truing of plastic bag (pictures 7, 8, 9).
Step 5: The Pen and Sunglasses
The pen should be disassembled and the ink tube removed. The tube can now be cut down to fit the tin to create a very thin writing utensil.
The glasses should be folded in half to better fit in the tin flat.
Step 6: The Tape and Paper Towel
Fold over a small section of the duct tape and begin folding layers over. Try to keep it all straight while rolling. When you need to use the tape it will be just like pulling it off a mini roll.
Fold the paper towel up and wrap the hair tie around it. The hair tie helps keep it together and creates a tighter (smaller) package.
Step 7: Pack the Tin
Now pack all the items into the tin. It may take some trial and error but it does all fit. Look at the pictures to see some strategies that I used.
I like to put flat things like bandaids and sunglasses in first. I also like to pack things like the straw that take up the entire length of the tin. I put small things like the toothpick and safety pin between the straw and the front of the tin because it made a nice little section. I put the razor blade up against the right edge of the tin, blade down, for safety reasons. I like to top the tin off with smoothy things like the plastic bag.
Step 8: The Items Explained
-bandage can be used for boo-boos and owies
-alcohol swab can be used for cleaning boo-boos and owies and is also useful as a hand sanitizer after touching something gross or before eating with your hands or just because you like the smell
-a razor blade is used for cutting (duh) and basically takes the place of a knife in this kit. It can also be used for scraping things like sticker residue off of stuff
-paper is great for writing notes or making origami creations.
-a miniature deck of cards is basically the key to endless entertainment. From solitaire to card games with friends, if you have a deck of cards there is no reason to be bored, even if you are stranded somewhere for hours (or days haha). card houses are also fun
-a small plastic spoon is great for when you get to work and school and realize you forgot a utensil to eat your soup or yogurt with. It's also great for digging into a friend's food or as a makeshift catapult device
-a length of duct tape...they say you can fix anything with duct tape
-a cotton swab can be used to clean wounds but I clean my ears with them and there are no substitutes for them in my opinion
-a piece of gum can be entertainment in the form of bubble blowing or a way to cover up a missed teeth brushing session
-a safety pin is something I have never once in my life used. I've been asked by countless people if I have one though so I included it in my kit. What all these people plan on doing with a safety pin. I have no idea
-a paper clip is basically your MacGyver tool. I usually unbend these to use on those pesky reset buttons that only a small object can get to or for trying to pick locks. paper clips are kinds like duct tape though in that their use is only limited to your imagination
-a match is included just in case you have to set that big survival fire. more realistically though, it can be useful if the power goes out and you need something to light those candles with
-a small screwdriver head is useful because it seems like everything nowadays has their batteries held hostage by a battery door secured by screws
-a pen is mostly for writing but could also be used to poke things with
-a toothpick is kinda like a cotton swab in that there aren't too many things that could replace it. when you have to piece of rib stuck in your teeth a toothpick offers immediate relief
-dental floss could be a replacement for a toothpick but I still prefer toothpick and only put it in here as a source of string
-a small mirror is something I always like to have with me. There are few things worse than feeling like I have something on my face and not being able to see it or having the horror of someone point out part of my lunch still stuck between my teeth. the mirror could also be used as a signal device (again with the wilderness survival haha)
-a ketchup packet is a no-brainer for me to include here. I've been out eating something, wondering where the ketchup was too many times, to not include this. to me ketchup is the universal sauce
-a salt packet is nice to have for when your food is too bland. can also be used for cruel snail experiments (not recommend), impromptu margaritas, or other, more productive things
-a pepper packet incase your food really sucks or you want to make someone sneeze
-a sugar packet because sometimes your sucky food needs sweetening. also good for tea drinkers or those with a sweet tooth
-a pair of sunglasses to either make you look cooler or for driving because you forgot your shades
-tin foil for molding into stuff like cups or bowls or for discrete doggy bags
-aspirin for headaches (duh). I would take an anti-histamine for myself but so many people ask me for aspirin that I included that instead
-a paper towel is useful for food purposes and also for after-food purposes. I vow never to be without toilet paper again! Also good for nose-blowing
-a hair tie for tying hair back (duh) but also for any purpose that you would use a rubber band for, including flinging to a friend
-a few bills because money speaks
-a few quarters for vending machines or on the rare chance that you stumble upon a pay phone and would like to try out this ancient technology
-a straw for syphoning some of your friend's drink or using as a blowgun
-a plastic grocery bag's uses are nearly endless. it can be used as a head covering in rain, as a seat cover for damp benches, or for it's intended use as a bag.
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