Being Prepared On A Small Scale – Altoids Survival Kit

One of the Rites of Passage for being a geek or a nerd is doing things with Altoids Tins.  You can google for hours the things that people do with them.  Since we are in the midst of some kind of crisis (real or imagined) I thought I would slap together a little Altoids Survival Kit.  It’s easy to do, it’s fun, and it might just come in handy some day.  In addition to that there is ALWAYS space for an Altoids tin in the glovebox or purse and they’ll even fit in your jeans pocket.

And of course you can build them up with stuff YOU think is useful but the challenge is to find stuff that will fit and be usable.   Let me show what I came up with.

In reality I kind of built this from a point of view of what others might find intriguing about a kit like this.  In reality I could have left out the multi-tool and flashlight as I NEVER go anywhere without a proper pocket knife or flashlight.  I’m not kidding.  I won’t walk the dog in the bright sunlight without a flashlight in my pocket.  It’s just Everyday Carry Stuff that someone who is gently prepared carries with them all the time.

The kit:

Altoids Survival Kit

The build on the inside:

  • Couple of bandaids.
  • packets of triple antibiotic ointment
  • alcohol wipes
  • bee sting wipes
  • small ziplock with a few feet of dental floss
  • paracord
  • sewing kit
  • safety pins
  • compass
  • Gerber Dime multi-tool
  • Olight i3t flashlight

The build on the outside. I cheated and used the outside.  Sue me:

  • Carabiner Clip
  • Fire striker tool
  • Velco Strap – came with the mini compass.  Took it off and used it to secure the tin.

Now if I ever stumble across some waterproof matches I’ll put a few on the inside and ditch the fire starter.  Again, if I’m carrying a multi-tool and flashlight I can free up a lot more space on the interior for first aid stuff.  Then again, having redundancy on some tools is a component of being prepared.

Here’s the finished product.

Finished product


If you have access to a 3D printer you can print all manner of dividers as well for additional capability.

3D printed inserts for Altoids Tins

Hopefully this project, while on a very small scale, has you thinking more about your level of preparedness.  I would like to add one lecturing thought.  If you are a full grown adult and don’t know how to REALLY use a compass in a rudimentary fashion…………shame on you.  If you are a parent and you are throwing small children into the world that doesn’t posses the skills to read a compass you are messing up.  Get to it!  One day a compass will save your life or prevent you from getting lost.    I used to hike in Joshua Tree National Park for HOURS with just a compass.  A compass gives you the skillset to find your way back from a hike in the forest or the Mojave Desert.

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