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Outdoor fun can turn into a survival situation in minutes without any warning. Your next camping, hiking, fishing trip may call for simple, yet effective preparedness measures that you can carry in your shirt or pants pocket. DIY is simple and best when it comes to creatively producing your own style of survival kit out of something as small as an Altoids tin.

The Empty Box

What can you do with an empty Altoids tin? Before you fill it, you may want to consider this and even do a little experimenting. A few suggestions go a long way, so start by using this little guy to boil water for sterilizing small equipment, such as a needle for lancing a boil or for digging out a splinter.

Of course, you can also boil water in a pinch for drinking or cooking. This little tin box also makes a simple snack easier for roasting nuts or other edibles that you forage. Store these edibles for hiking journeys if your box is empty and you want to repurpose it during your trip.

Building the Box

Start with the inner lid and inside bottom. Use electrical tape to attach a few sewing needles, fish hooks and a razor blade or a small X-Acto blade. When building your box, think of how you can use your items for multiple purposes. The tape can patch a small hole in a tent, for instance.

When filling your box, start with flat items to place into the bottom: waterproof Band-Aids, alcohol prep pads, salt packet for cooking, small square of aluminum foil, emergency phone numbers (in case you can’t access your phone), small piece of writing paper (to leave a note tacked to a tree or somewhere else).

Next, add a push pin for tacking your note, cotton string for repair or tinder, rolled 6-7′ brass wire for snares, a brightly colored lighter (easy to spot in snow or when dropped elsewhere), compact survival knife or multi-tool, small light, industrial thread wrapped around a short pencil. This thread is heavy enough to use for fishing line.

On top, add a few mints or candies (not sugar-free), a few safety pins and paper clips, a birthday candle (best for lighting tinder in windy or rainy conditions), a few pain killer tablets wrapped in aluminum foil, a small whistle.

The Full Box

Once your Altoids tin is full, hold it all together with a thick rubber band, which has its own multiple purposes, such as starting a fire, securing a corner of shelter in place, a hair tie, et cetera. If you need to waterproof your box for a boating trip, wrap the outer edge in electrical tape. Additional electrical tape can be wrapped around the lighter.

Tweak your tin for your own personal outing, and now your DIY survival box is complete. It is small enough to fit into a shirt, pants, jacket, or backpack pocket. By carrying it on your person, you have a better chance of not losing it, so a deep pants pocket is usually the best place to carry it.

Small tins like these can be purchased for survival needs, but by making your own, you’re assured that you have the specific items you need for your next trip. Most importantly, don’t count on someone else to bring it. Build your own box and make sure you pocket it before you leave so that a potential survival situation doesn’t go from bad to worse.

This small, yet useful survival toolkit can be enough to save lives, feed your fellow survivors, and bring you back home to your family.

Checkout our take on the Altoids Tin Survival Kit

John Bishop

Category Outdoor Survival

Type article
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