Let’s face it, you can never prepare too much for a survival situation. Altoids survival kits are a cheap, effective way to do just that. They’re easy to make and are just as handy as a pocket knife when a package arrives. Well, almost.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Exploded Altoids Survival Tin

Compile a list of things you think would be useful in an emergency situation. Here’s our list we picked from:

  • Empty Altoids tin
  • Survival tool
  • Duct Tape
  • Weatherproof matches
  • Ibuprofen/Advil
  • Mini compass
  • Leatherman Squirt
  • Zip ties
  • Safety pins
  • Water purifying tablets
  • Fire tinder
  • Cheetos
  • Compact flashlight
  • Lip balm
  • Alcohol prep pad
  • Small fishing kit
  • Wire
  • Lighter
  • Duct tape
  • Whistle
  • Super glue
  • Band Aid/Neosporin
  • Tweezers
  • Pen
  • Razor blade
  • Paper clips
  • Tire band or paracord to wrap the tin
  • Each item on the list could be very useful, but we found a few to be extremely handy in our tests.

    The fishing kit almost goes without saying. This little kit works like a charm! We got 4 fish on the line with it and brought 2 to shore. Not bad at all. You don’t have to pack everything in a fishing kit, just something like some line and a hook. That said, you’ll want to pack as much as you can fit in the tin.

    The compact Leatherman was extremely useful for small cutting tasks that came up. The Squirt sports a knife blade, file, scissors, bottle opener, pliers, and a screwdriver. A knife is one of the most important tools to have in a survival situation, and the Leatherman fits nicely in the kit. Plus: pliers. Those suckers are invaluable.

    Had we been playing for keeps in our survival demo, the weatherproof matches and tinder would have been invaluable. We included 3 ways to start fire in the kit: matches, lighter, ferro rod. These are a necessity when trucking it in the woods and they don’t take up much real estate in the Altoids tin. We’ve all seen fires started with something like sticks and rocks, but why make life hard on yourself? When you’re out surviving the last thing you want to do is waste all your energy rubbing sticks together like a caveman (although bow drills are super cool when you're not freezing). Pack fire-making redundancies for best results.

    Step 2: Pack the Tin

    Wait, you can’t possibly fit all that in an Altoids tin, right? When there’s a will there’s a way, my friend. Seriously, you’ll be surprised how much you can pack in there with some maneuvering.

    Open Altoids Survival Tin
    Back of an Altoids Survival Tin

    For the water purifying tablets, we put about 20 in a small zip lock bag and taped the instructions on it. Then we taped the bag to the lid of the tin. We also glued the cap of the matches, which has the strike pad on it, to the bottom of the tin.

    Step 3: Get Out and Survive

    Doesn’t it feel good knowing you have an compact emergency kit handy? You bet it does. Now take this kit and go hoof it in the woods for a while. Pack it in your pocket and take it somewhere it can be put to good use. After you get a feel for what you like and use, make a few dozen and keep them anywhere and everywhere. Throw a few in your car, around the house, with your camping gear, etc. Who knows, your life may depend on one someday.

    Finished Altoids Survival Tin
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