Pocket Survival Kit


Another important consideration when assembling a survival kit is the ease it can be carried and/or concealed if the situation warrants it. Keep in mind, the Altoid tin survival kit doesn’t require an actual Altoid tin be used as the case. The point is to utilize a small enough case that can fit conveniently inside a pocket or can otherwise be easily carried and/or concealed. This kit should always be worn on person to make it effective. You could also store one in a larger vehicle or home survival kit as a separate component, a kit within a kit. Some other types of other commonly used containers include small Tupperware pieces, other types of candy/confectionery tins, small plastic cases used for pre-made first aid kits, etc.

Some folks make Altoid tin survival kits for specific tasks (such as assembling one with the sole function of starting a fire, mini-medical kit, etc.) while others prefer to pack it as full of multi-use, multi-function gear as possible to cover as much as they can. Whatever your strategy, the next time you have an empty Altoid tin or comparable container, set it aside and start finding little things to place in it. There’s no right or wrong items to stock your always carry kit with, just remember its main function is to always be available and on carried on your person. Other than that, there’s thousands of different ways to configure your kit. The following are some suggestions organized by general categories to get your creative side working to brainstorm various items you can stock in your Altoid tin survival kit.


  • Waterproof matches, be sure to store this item in a small waterproof container, also be sure and include an extra striker strip even if the matches are strike anywhere.
  • Disposable lighter, both the regular and mini sized lighters will fit in an Altoid tin.
  • Firesteel
  • Small magnifying lens, this can be used to start a fire using the sun as the heat source. The lens itself can also be used for a primitive water still.
  • Mini candle
  • Tinder, for this item you could use petroleum jelly fire starters stored in a small waterproof container to be placed inside the tin. Gun cloths, cotton balls, fire starter cubes, or whatever other compact material can be used as a potential tinder source can be used.

Personal Hygiene & First Aid

  • Lip balm / Petroleum jelly, if you go the route of packing a small tube of petroleum jelly, keep in mind it can also double as an accelerant when rubbed into some tinder like cotton balls.
  • Small tube of high SPF sunscreen
  • Dental floss, not only can it be used to floss your teeth, but can also double as cording should the need arise (think fishing line, cording to tie up a make shift shelter, etc.)
  • Small travel size bottle of insect repellent. Or you can find an all natural essential oil or salve as an alternative to Deet.
  • Alcohol based hand sanitizer which like petroleum jelly can also double as an accelerant.
  • Tissue / Toilet paper, you won’t be able to fit very much if you’re using just an Altoid tin, but not only can it be used to maintain hygiene but also can double as tinder if need be.
  • Common first aid items such as band aids, sutras, wraps, etc will all fit inside of an Altoid tin or similarly sized container.
  • Antibiotics / Extra prescription medicine in waterproof vial.
  • Common OTC medicine such as pain relief, fever reducers, antidiarrheals, etc., can all fit inside of an airtight vial and placed inside the tin. If you decide to pack the medicine in a custom package you pick, make sure you label it so you know what you have and what to take.
  • Tweezers
  • Miniature pair of medical scissors if you bring along supplies like gauze or wraps. The scissors can also be used for non-medical related purposes.

Water & Food

  • Water purification tablets / iodine crystals
  • Add snare wire and miniature fishing kits for food collection if you know how to. If you’re not already proficient at fishing or using snare wire, don’t bother adding it your kit. It’s not going to do you any good if you don’t know what to do with an item.
  • Candy, chewing gum, mints
  • A week’s worth of multivitamins in a food safe / waterproof vial.
  • Frontier water filter, this is a handy device that’s essentially a straw attached to filter. There are several different brands and variations between brands, some break down small enough to carry the filter part with you and the straw can easily be carried in your pocket or wherever.

Navigation & Signaling

  • Button compass
  • Local map (if you’re not familiar with the terrain you’re in….) make sure the map is current if you pack one.
  • Signal mirror
  • Rescue whistle
  • Mini LED flashlights, some of these flashlights come with additional light display settings such as strobe, which can be very useful for signaling assistance.


  • Aluminum foil can be used for signaling, aiding in the construction of a reflector fire, cooking, etc.
  • Duct tape, possibly the most common multipurpose item, and for good reason.
  • will be extremely versatile in its uses. Because the inner weaves can be broken down, you’ll be able to treat it like it’s multiple
  • Ziploc bags are good to wrap your items in before putting them in the Altoid tin; this will help make them more water resistant. They can also be used as separate storage that can be removed from the Altoid survival kit if need be.
  • Sewing thread & needles to repair clothing and/or blankets or tarps that can be used for shelter. Again, this is another item that if you don’t know how to sew, don’t bother bringing it along.
  • Safety Pins
  • Folded up bandannas can be used as a component for a water prefilter, or tinder, head wear, etc.


Remember the point of an Altoid tin survival kit is to always be carried on your person. While it’s obviously not a complete survival kit, it can provide a discreet, easy to carry survival kit filled with useful items that when planned out, can aid you in an emergency or survival situation. Using an Altoid tin isn’t required, just a readily available container for most folks. You can substitute it with any other type of small container that you can easily carry on your person.

There’s no right or wrong way to assemble a kit, just keep in mind that the planning phase is the most important so take your time and find out exactly what you want the kit to aid you in (starting fires? Purifying water? Etc…) and then stock the kit accordingly. Other like minded individuals will benefit from your knowledge so leave a comment about what you pack in your pocket survival kit.

2 thoughts on “Pocket Survival Kit

  1. I use a 5″ x 7″ scuba dry bag. Works great, flexible, waterproof, and cheap. Just take care with the fishin’ hooks.

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