Altoids Tin: Pocket Survival Kit




I know you guys have probably seen these before; I have as well. However, the ones I have seen both outside this app and in it have been very poor representations of what this little kit can be. This kit should be carried on your person at all times and can be a lifeline during a survival situation in which your B.O.B or complete kit gets lost. This kit should provide the basic essentials for survival. In this instructible I will present mine in hopes that those of you who take the time to read it will gain the knowledge of the importance of something like this and be able to apply it to your own kit.

Best regards,


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Step 1: Aquire Your Altoids Tin

Assuming you do not have an Altoids tin, you can find them at most convenient marts and grocery stores. Then you can dump the mints into a bag and, if you're like me, eat them while making up your kit! Seems such a waste to trash such tasty little treats.

Step 2: Decide What Purpose the Contents Should Serve

For my kit, I wanted to have the bare basics. Obviously there isn't much room for luxury items or much to help in making shelter. However, my kit allows me to do the following:

1) Bandage and clean any wounds, and relieve pain, which should be your primary care in a survival situation.

2) Make fire. Fire is extremely important for several reasons. First, it keeps you warm. Second it allows you to cook food and sterilize water. Third, it helps your confidence. Fourth, it can help signal a rescuer. The list goes on and on.

3) Catch food. Big game is not an option here. The human body can go up to 3 months without food. Scavenging, gathering, and catching small game will keep you alive. You just have to make sure to not burn more calories than necessary.

4) Clean or dress a catch and whittle a snare or other tools. This is the closest thing to luxury this kit can have.

5) Repair minor tears in clothes or to make some makeshift clothes with cloth or skins. (This probably will not be an issue in a short term situation but that one nighter could turn into something worse very quickly.)

Step 3: The Contents

In the picture you will notice all of these things:

1) Tylenol wrapped in duct tape (top left)
2) A box of single edge razor blades
3) A small 3 blade pocket knife
4) 3 adhesive bandages
5) 6 wax covered matches with striking paper
6) A can tab which can be used as a makeshift hook or fishing lure.
7) A swivel, spinner, 3 hooks, and 2 lures for fishing (taped in the lid of the tin)
8) 2 small zip ties
9) 3 small wax candles
10) 2 nails
11) A roll of dental floss
12) A small stick of hot glue
13) 2 straws which contain cotton balls for fire starter
14) 2 paper clips
15) Fishing line (about 20 ft) wrapped around a paper clip
16) 2 sticks of charcoal
17) Alcohol prep pad
18) Small sewing kit
19) 12 inch x 12 inch square of foil
20) And of course the tin, which can be used to put berries in or boil water in or even make char cloth in.

* I also wrap 2 rubber bands around it to keep the top from popping could count them but rubber bands tend to dry out and snap over time.

Step 4: Closing

I believe I have covered all the necessary bases here...other than shelter and water. Shelter will remain a product of your ability to fashion a shelter from what's around you. You will have to locate water, but once that's done, you can then boil it using the tin for a drink.

I can foresee questions about a few of the ideas with the nails are that they can be fastened to a stick with either the rubber bands or the zip ties for a small spear for fish or what have you. The bands and ties could be used to aid in building a shelter once you have located the necessary resources.

Thanks for reading and please check out my YouTube channel "TruGearReviews" for my opinion on survival gear and my video on my complete Bug Out Bag! Have a great one guys and gals!

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24 Discussions


3 years ago

There have been people go longer than 3 months on a fast. Don't like it? Oh well


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

not true. the body can withstand atleast 2 months of verifiable lack of food without dying (with proper hydration)

water is an entirely different story..regardless of food intake without it you'll rarely survive more than a 4 days outdoors without water

if you look at every article on it you'll find they say "more than" 3 weeks

ghandi is a famous example since he didn't eat anything for 21 days on a fast

granted you won't feel very good without eating for such long periods..but you can still survive


4 years ago


Not a typo. Human body can go 3 months without food.


4 years ago

Wow I made the kit and use it for hiking and camping, but I really hope I never really have to us it


4 years ago

a small stick on magnet can be attached to the inside of your lid..its very thin, will allow hooks etc to stay on the lid, and I've found many times the magnet to be quite useful...(4 years in the Marines, deployed tons, every tiny trick I find I add to my list, this tin is a great one the for sharing!)

4 replies

Reply 4 years ago

Why the magnet? What are other benefits? Thank you for your service, btw!


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

The magnet can also be used to magnetize a needle to make a compass. You can get the small, extremely strong ones at Hobby Lobby.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

VB is right, it is excellent for keeping hooks together (and
out of fingers while digging in the box) also if you drop
needle/hook/etc in the dirt it can be hard to find, especially at
night. Might sound trivial but having a magnet on hand to run over
the dirt is super helpful. Depending on the magnet strength I have
used them to get small metal shards/splinters out of my skin (duct
tape also works pretty well for all splinter removal) but really I
never could have predicted all the uses. Spending so much time
deployed I discovered so many "huh, who knew" uses for
things its shocking. lol. now I have a rule for small packing that is
"if there’s room in the box it isn’t done being packed"
now that thought can get crazy and heavy with large containers,
terrible in fact, but small like this, if it fits, stuff it in there.
Never know. :-)


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

To keep the hooks in place also great for needles. I have a sheet magnet in an altoids tin for needles

To each his own, I suppose, but I don't think it is very productive to say that "the ones I have seen . . . have been very poor representations . . ." or for readers to add comments like "All of the other one are 'carp' . . ." No kit is perfect, but many of them have good features and while some suggest content that is not very useful or well thought out, a lot of them offer creative and effective ideas. I gave a lot of thought to mine . . . you might want to have a look:


4 years ago

All the other ones are carp mine is very similar but I keep a first aid kit in my pocket


4 years ago

for water add a unlubricated condom, they can carry quite a bit of water and they take up very little room

1 reply

4 years ago

I like the hot glue idea. I've looked at many survival tins and have never seen that before. I've seen people put a small tube of krazy/super glue in a tin but hot glue is different and could definitely be useful at times. can easily be melted with your mini bic, which seems to be missing from this tin. :)

Thanks, we don't do much wilderness stuff anymore but these are small enough to be helpful anywhere.


4 years ago on Step 4

Nice inventory. Always good to have redundant resources.


4 years ago on Introduction

Two things:

Well written and quite inclusive for a pocket-size survival kit.

The Rule of Threes: Three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three

days without water - three weeks without food. Not three months. Typo.

You may want to consider adding a Fresnel lens based magnifier to the kit - very thin, flexible and an emergency fire starter in sunlight.