The Only Survival Kit You'll EVER Need




About: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with.

Yes the title is a bold statement - but I stand by it :)

Statistically most people who are lost, are found within 24 hours. Any longer than that and your odds at survival start dropping relative to the area that you are lost in. Get lost in the snow or desert and your sh*& out of luck if it is any longer than a few days. Get lost in a temperate climate though, and you will have a pretty good chance of lasting a lot longer.

So why do I claim that this is the only survival kit you'll ever need? Well all of the places above have one thing in common - they all get cold at night. So really the most important thing that you will need to survive for at least 24 hours is heat. This is where my survival kit comes into it's own. Inside a shotgun shell I have managed to include 4 strike anywhere matches, and the most important thing, a small phial of whiskey to help keep you that little bit saner!

Probably the best thing though about this survival kit is it's size! Just stick it in our pocket, or keep it on your keys and your good to go.

Disclaimer - , So my claim that this is the only survival kit you'll ever need might be a little exaggerated! But as long as you have fire and some whisky, then surviving that critical 24 hours will be all that easier.

It has also been mentioned that alcohol actually can make you colder by drawing heat to the outer extremities of the body. Please note, this really isn't the "Only survival kit you'll ever need", that's just a catchy heading to get your attention!

Step 1: Bits and Pieces to Gather

Things to gather:

1. Shotgun Shells – Etsy or your local gun range.

2. Small glass phial - eBay

3. Small nuts, bolts and washers

4. Matches

5. Match striker

6. WHISKEY! - your choice but you may as well get something nice and strong.

7. Small piece of copper (to make a loop)


1. Stanley knife

2. Hammer

3. Small blow torch

4. Flux

5. Super glue

6. Plyers

7. Screwdriver / Phillips head

Step 2: Removing the Cap Off a Shotgun Shell

So the first thing you’ll need to do is to remove the end from one of the shotgun shells. I’m sure that there are plenty of different ways to do this (check the net), but my way works just fine. The cap (the brass section) is held in place very tightly by some plastic. It is virtually impossible to remove all of the plastic without heating up the cap.


1. Put the plastic end of the shell into a vice and make sure that it is tight

2. With a small blow torch, heat-up the end of the cap. Do this for about 20 to 30 seconds.

Note: Obviously don't do this on a live primer or you'll end up in a big mess.

3. Grab a pair of plyers and pull on the end of the cap. It should just slip off easily. If not, add some more heat and try again

4. To remove the primer, use a nail punch and hammer and hit the end of the primer. It should come out pretty easily

Step 3: Removing the Primer From the Cap

Once you have removed the cap, you will next have to remove the primer from the middle.


1. Using a nail punch or something round with a flat end, carefully hammer out the primer. Make sure that the primer is hammered out from the inside of the cap. It won’t work the other way.

2. Clean away any wax left over from the inside of the cap

3. That's it! the cap is now ready to add the cork stopper into.

Step 4: Adding the Loop


1. with a pair of round tipped pliers, bend a circle in some copper. It's up to you how big you want to have the loop.

2. Cut the excess copper off so you only have the loop left.

3. Next add some flux and solder to the top of a complete shotgun shell.

4. Solder on the loop using a small blow torch.

5. Clean-up any of the flux that has stuck to the solder.

Step 5: Adding the Cork to the Shotgun Cap


1. Add the cork to the vial and push it in tight. Mark where it ends and cut off the excess’

2. Next get a small screw and screw into the middle of the cork. Once through the other side, take out.

3. Take a larger screw with a flat and add a small washer to it, push through the hole in the cap and screw it into the cork.

4. Once through, add another small washer and keep in place with a small bolt.

5. Cut away any excess bolt with some pliers.

6. Test and make sure that the bottle fits into the cork as well as into the shotgun shell.

Step 6: Adding the Matches, Striker and Whiskey


1. Tear off from a box of matcher the striker section and wrap it around the vial.

2. Grab a few matches out of the box..

3. Add some whiskey or whatever your favourite spirit is to the glass vial.

4. Now wrap the matches and striker around the vial and carefully push into the shotgun shell.. It's a tight fit but it will ensure that the cap stays in place.

4. Push on the cork stopper and place the vial into the shotgun shell

That’s it! Attach it to your hiking bag, keys or where you think you’ll need it most.

Step 7: Notes.

One of the best books on survival is still the SAS Survival Handbook. I recently purchased one of the original versions of this, but there have been many updated editions since my 1986 one was published. I suggest that if you are serious in learning about survival, then you get your hands on a copy of this book.

My survival kit is simple, but if I was lost out in the bush the things that I would want are; shelter, fire, and something warm in my belly. My survival kit covers 2 of the basics (shelter is a bit hard to put in a survival kit!). I know that it is only a small amount of whisky, but man I reckon I would need it if I was lost, cold and concerned (not scared though).

I have also made a survival kit with a flint, striker and a couple of those candles that you can’t blow out. You can see from the below, it’s pretty handy little fire kit. I have also included some lint from the dryer so I have something dry to strike against and a compass. This kit uses the same shotgun case so if you want to make one of these instead, just follow the ible’ until you get to the part about the cork and add all the fire bits instead. I’ll also add a small knife to this kit at some stage too.

NOTE LINT AND WAX TINDER: In one of the comments below ...suggested that I add wax to the lint. This worked brilliantly and have I updated an ible' on how you can make your own

If you have a local gun range near you (check Google), give them a ring and see if they will give you some empty shells. Initially I purchased my shells from Etsy at $10 for 12. Big mistake! Once I contacted the gun range they were more than happy to give me as many as I liked for free! I ended up with a box full of shells.

If anyone else decides to make one of these, let me know by posting an image in the comments section. I’d love to see what other things people manage to put into this small kit!




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    28 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Great value for the size of it. ;)


    4 years ago

    Wouldn't you put some fuel instead of whiskey


    4 years ago

    that is a good Christmas present to give a hunter or an outdoorsey person


    4 years ago

    The wind is a prob


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, the claim was definetly way too bold...

    Toss the wiskey: actually it's more likely to kill you rather than the other way round.

    Seems like the idea behind this kit is "stay warm and alive 'till they find you". Fine. Then add stuff that might help you to be found: add a whistle !! If you could make one out of the shell it'd be way cool.

    1 reply

    I'd probably spring for a vial with a screw cap over the cork. Peace of mind. I can see filling a ton of these shells with various spirits. Looks like fun

    3 replies

    Good point. I did try and find a screw cap one but couldn't get one the correct size. The cork is in tight and I have had mine on my keyring for about a week with no leakage.

    Good to know. Was there anything else you contemplated putting in the shell but couldn't fit? I'd be loath to switch out the alcohol, but I wonder what other fire starting methods would fit. Potassium Permanganate and glycerin could probably be coaxed in, but the packaging would be difficult. One Shell for booze and another for beef jerky sounds like a winner too.

    Or one for honey, Also you could glue a striker wheel from a lighter in there somewhere as it is probably the most compact spark maker, although pre testing of the lighter is required as the quality of striker varies massively

    between cheap lighter brands.


    4 years ago

    Poor suggestion with whiskey, as many have pointed out before me. I stopped reading as soon as I read that misinformation and headed straight to the comments.

    Might want to put a authors note acknowledging the false info then suggest accelerant as was wisely pointed out.

    1 reply

    Your taking it all too seriously. I mean really, would you take only this if you were going trekking or bush walking! I have a real survival kit that I take whenever I do go on adventures and its a lot bigger and comprehensive than this one.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I must stress what others are saying here: alcohol is a bad thing to be drinking in a survival situation, and if it isn't burnable alcohol it's a waste of space in your kit. You stress that being warm is important, and while alcohol makes you feel warm, by circulating warm blood to your extremities you will actually become colder faster. In addition, even a small amount of alcohol will dull your reaction time, coordination, and decision making skills. In any survival situation I would far prefer my wits and warmth to whatever small comfort a half shot of whisky would provide.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Not to be a downer. It does make sense if you're in a situation where you expect to be found quickly to bring something that can boost your morale and keep down your hunger. But if you go places like me, 24 hours is a bit short of a time for rescue. I do approve your recommendation of the SAS Survival Handbook though, that is an excellent resource.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I'ts really only supposed to be a bit of fun really. If you are a serious adventurist then there is no way that you would take only this along with you.

    if you had it on you keys or in the bottom of your bag though and suddenly found yourself lost in the bush, then it wouldn't be such a bad thing to have.


    4 years ago

    It'd be better with a little FM transmitter .