I love pocket-sized survival kits. For EDC situations, I prefer an easy-to-carry wallet kit, but for a wilderness survival situation, a more full-blown kit is in order. Enter the altoid survival kit.
Who knows what genius initially came up with the idea of using an Altoid tin to hold a survival kit, but survivalists everywhere owe him a debt of gratitude. I'm a mildly obsessive sort, always interested in improving things in whatever that I can...so these kind of kits are right up my alley. Sourcing miniature survival gear and putting together a decent kit is waaay more fun than it should be.
As I've mentioned previously, I'm in a gift exchange this Christmas. There's a price limit of around $20, and I wanted to see what kind of Altoid survival kit I could pull together for that amount.
I started by listing out various survival priorities. For each category, I needed to find an inexpensive, altoid kit-sized piece of gear. An interesting challenge indeed.
Here's the list of the final contents:
|Contents of the altoid kit|
- Fire Starting:
- Mini Bic lighter
- Ferro rod
- Four pieces of TinderQuik tinder.
- Total cost: about $3
- 1 Qt. Emergency Water Bag (more on these later)
- Vial with 20 water purification tablets
- Total cost: about $4.00
- 20mm compass
- Cost: $4.50
- 9 foot hank of 150lb test-weight dacron line
- Cost: Free--I have about 500 feet of this stuff lying around
- A miniature whistle
- Cost: Around $1
- A SerePick Folding Razor Saw
- Cost: I had this lying around doing nothing, so it was free in that sense. If I hadn't had this kicking around, I would have used a folding razor, which is $1.50, and a piece of hacksaw blade, which is basically free.
- Streamlight Nano Light
- Cost: $6
- A couple of safety pins
- Cost: Free
- Total Cost of the Kit
- $20.00 (approximate)
I'm looking to wedge some gorilla tape into the kit somehow, but overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The Emergency Water Bag and miniature vial of purification tabs is the best water set-up that I've seen in a PSK-size, and the Nano Light is a great piece of kit. For the cost, this is a pretty darned good set up.
The kit obviously comes up a bit short on shelter/covering, but all pocket kits do. There's just no room for a poncho, spaceblanket or similar in an altoid tin. This kit does have some good cordage, though, which will help when fashioning a debris shelter. Food gathering is a bit short as well, though with the folding razor, saw blade, and cordage you would be able to improvise traps, gigs and so on.
If I was going to spend a bit more on this kit, the first thing--and probably the only thing, really--that I would upgrade would be the knife. The folding razors are ok and inexpensive, but I'd rather a mini fixed blade like the RSK MK5 or a small lock back like the Spyderco Ladybug. There's not much space for anything additional, save maybe some small nails, fishhooks and maybe some tin foil folded very flat. And there's not much in the current kit that I would want to lose...either the lighter or the ferro rod could go (they're redundant), but that's about it.
Anyways, there's the kit. Fun, affordable little survival project to pull together, and I will be sad to see it go at the gift exchange! Hopefully I get something just as good in return...which is highly doubtful!