Survival skills are a must have skill-set if you plan on traveling very far away from the civilized world. Yet, even with these skills, it is a very smart idea to have a small survival kit in your pack. Tons of companies sell survival kits in a wide range of sizes and the contents of those kits vary to a degree but for the most part, they all include the same core elements.
The cost of these kits encompasses a wide range. The advanced all-inclusive bug-out bag, filled with 3 days worth of food and all the tools necessary to begin your life on the homestead, can run you well over $100. These kits offer the ease of one stop shopping but lack in customization. You can put together a much smaller basic kit for less than $50.
A good exercise for your survival mindset is putting together your own mini survival kit. This kit will fit inside of an Altoids tin. The Altoids Survival Kit should include all of the basic necessities to ensure you survive the 72-hour window that it takes modern search and rescue teams to find you on average. Below is a comprehensive list of items that should be included in your kit with examples.
What you need:
- Altoid Tin
- Buy Altoids. Eat them. Done. $2
- Fire and Light
- Stormproof Matches (UCO is a good brand to go with, and remember to include the abrasive striking strip that the matches come with) $4
- Ferrocerium Rod/Steel (Flint and steel would work also but Ferrocerium generates hotter sparks. I used a Sparkie Firestarter by Ultimate Survival Technologies but any sparking device works) $6-$10
- Waterproof Tinder (Wetfire is the best, which is what I included, but you could also use cottontails, dryer sheets, etc.) $4
- Water and Food Procurement
- Chlorine Dioxide tablets or Iodine tablets (suggest CD because they don’t have the bad taste of Iodine tablets) $8
- Small basic fishing kit (size 6 and 10 fishing hooks, 8lb test monofilament fishing line, 1 or 2 colors of fake worms (trout magnets are awesome), 1 or 2 Dry flys, split shot, some barrel swivels, small rubber band to keep fishing line in check) $10-20 (depending on brand)
- Zip-lock freezer bag (for collecting water and storing your Altoids tin inside of to keep the contents from getting wet) *(not including a price here because most people have these at the house already)
- Small button compass (Suunto Clipper compass is a great choice, I went with a zipper compass because it was cheaper) $9
- Mini-Multi-Tool (I choose a mini Gerber multi-tool) $15
- Multi-Purpose Items
- Paracord (learn a good paracord storage wrap/weave and you can easily store 10-20 feet of cordage wrapped around the tin, many uses) 100FT for $7
- Aluminum Foil (Can be used as a reflective device, used to cook with, coal carrying device, etc.) *
- Safety pin (Multiple uses, from fixing clothes to sewing with, etc.)
- Duct Tape (Used to fixed things, make tools, seal wounds, etc.) *
Total Cost of my Kit: $69 (I didn’t spend this because I already had many of the items.)
This isn’t the limit to what you can include in your Altoids Survival kit, nor do you need to use all of the recommended items that I included on my list. Feel free to substitute items as you feel necessary or as it fits your budget and needs. Have your eye on another model mini multi-tool than the one I included? Go for it. Want to use a different kind of cordage than paracord? By all means.
Your creativity is the only limit when crafting your Altoids survival kit, you don’t even need to use an Altoids tin as the container if you have another container. More than anything this a good exercise for your survival mindset. The exercise makes you think about your absolute needs and the creative ways you can satisfy them. Have fun!