Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mini Survival Kits: The Covert Kit

Last week, we I put together the Spare Parts survival kit, which is suited to a purse, backpack, or other bag. I promised something more pocketable and this week, with the caveat that it wouldn't be an Altoids can. With that said, let's look at the Covert Kit.

The first thing to address is why I chose to not go with the classic Altoids can: quite simply, everyone wants a mint. They see a mint tin, and they're bound to ask. The same goes for hard gum containers; I have a Mentos gum canister on my cart at work that is full of screws, and about once a week, I hear a cry of disappointment when someone finds out that it contains nothing that is either nutritious or delicious. (We have a fairly open munchies policy among friend, so if it's in the open, you're usually sharing.)

So, in the name of security, we need a solid container that contains something most folks won't want to share. The unlikely yet perfect solution is a chewing tobacco tin. I don't advocate tobacco use, because it's not great for you; but if you chew, get some extra use from your chew cans, and if you don't, it's quite likely you know someone who does, and you can generally have their discarded cans simply by asking. The cans you're looking for are either metal and plastic or all metal; cardboard chew cans don't hold up enough to be much use.

Snus cans are the holy grail for this exercise. They're a bit bigger than dip cans, with a much handier shape. They're also all-metal, with a nearly watertight lid. Close observers will note there is a hole in the top of my snus can; that's because I used my char cloth tin for this demonstration. Whatever can you use, be sure to wash it out first, or else all your gear ends up smelling like tobacco.

The contents of the can.

In one snus can, I was able to fit all of the following, with a bit of room to spare:
  • 50' of 6# test fishing line
  • 3 1/8oz jigs
  • 10 strike-anywhere matches
  • a small pocketknife
  • a ferro/magnesium rod and striker
  • a handful of jute fibers
If I'd had any handy, I'd have added some large-ish sewing needles. (I have no clue about the proper sizing, but ones with eyes large enough to thread 6# fishing line.)

Fishing line is handy general-use cordage, in addition to being handy for catching fish.

I chose jigs instead of bare hooks so that I don't need to carry separate weights. This saves space and prevents loss of parts.

The knife is just a little thing I've had around forever. It holds a decent edge and fits very nicely in the tin.

The fire supplies are something I've gone over several times. I carry a couple methods at any given time, and jute is well-known as my favorite tinder. I could fit a lighter in in lieu of one of the methods in the can, but I keep a Bic in my pocket as a general EDC thing, so I'd rather have a different option in the can.

Everything fit in the can, with room to spare.

The most important part of any mini kit is to tailor it to you. Plan it around your environment, your needs, and your priorities. If very little of your time is spent outside of town, fishing gear is likely to be wasted, but first aid gear could be very commonly needed.

I'd really like to see what the readers can come up with. What unique containers do you use? What interesting bits do you carry in your kits? How have you grown and changed your particular kit?


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