Altoids Mini Survival Kits: A Stupid Idea?

There's a trend that I've seen lately. Mini houses. People are building full blown houses on boat sized trailer frames and dragging them around the country.

Survival kits are going in the same direction. Lately I've been seeing many resources devoted to Altoids mini kits. I think what draws people to these mini kits is the appeal of trying to make something smaller and smaller.

They argue that a Personal Survival Kit or PSK is easy to throw into your car or briefcase. And it feels good knowing you have a "survival kit" on you always.

But do you really think a sardine can will hold a survival kit? I don't think it will. I think mini survival kits are kind of goofy. The contents are usually cheap. Yeah, often you'll see some fishing hooks thrown in to make you feel like you're going to catch some fish. But what about shelter, heat, fire or purified water?

So let's explore this idea further. And along the way, I'll give you an improvement with each bad idea. So let's jump in!

Here's one alternative to Altoids tin survival kits

Bad Altoids Survival Kit Idea #1


You could make or buy one. In either case, no shelter of any value will fit in the container. Simply stated, the kit is too small.

First, do you think you're going to fit a space blanket in an altoids box survival kit can? Nope. A second example is ultra light material. Even something as lightweight as Tyvek won't fit in a small tin.


Try using a tin to carry paracord and duct tape. This way you aren't carrying the shelter. But if you find materials along the way, you have the cord and tape to attach things together. Its now a can of connection materials.

Bad Altoids Survival Kit Idea #2


For heat to exist in a survival kit you need fire starting gear. Backup fire starting gear will be needed, because something will go bust. But with this, you can barely fit a book of matches. And if you are lucky you'll fit a small striker or magnesium bar. How about a sparkie or a BlastMatch to start fires? Nope again. And to add insult to injury, the tin isn't waterproof.


Get some jute cordage and roll it up inside of a tin. Then fill the tin with melted wax. Soak the jute in wax. Instead of trying to carry all of your fire making gear in a tin, carry just the tinder. Make it a tinder tin.

Bad Altoids Survival Kit Idea #3


Food? How about a few bags of dehydrated food? That won't fit. Instead, why don't you try a few very tiny slices of beef jerky or a few pieces of chewing gum. Food isn't going to work here..


Use the tin as a stove instead. For instance you can cook bread in 10-15 minutes with self rising flour, water, salt and a little bit of oil. Create a dough ball first. Then lightly sprinkle the tin interior with dry flour. Start cooking with the lid up. At the 12 minute point, put a toothpick in. If it comes out dry, you're done!

Bad Altoids Survival Kit Idea #4


You wont be carrying around liters of water here. Water filters aren't small enough to be stuffed into an Altoids tin. In the end, maybe you can fit some water tablets.


Boil water in the tin can. So do you see what I mean? Bottom line is to put together the things you'll need, and let the contents dictate the size of the container you'll be using. Not the other way around.

Here's Your Next Step

Focus instead on your own needs. Then, meet them with the least expensive and lightest/smallest package possible.
A great place to start is by making an inventory of those needs. Put it on paper. Start looking at the dollar store or Wal-Mart for your items.

Once you fill the list, take the next step by looking for a container to carry your items with. Your survival kit bag might only be as big as a fishing tackle box.

An item I like a lot is the GearPod. GearPods are clear plastic tubes with screw on caps on the ends. These are ingenious for lightweight survival kits. And they are large enough to carry meaningful items but small enough to pack into your backpack or carry bag.


The reality is that if you are going to be prepared at all, then do it right. Put a portable survival kit together for your car. It doesn't have to be a big one. But even something as large as a carry bag or large purse, will certainly contain plenty to live off of for 72 hours if that's what's needed. Relying on an mini PSK altoids can for 3 days, is going to try your patience.

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