Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mini Survival Kits - Part 1

The Altoids survival kit is a bit of a legend among prepper circles, and it's actually easy to see why: a small, pocket-sized kit with a fairly wide variety of gear carries a pretty healthy appeal. The appeal is strong enough, in fact, that folks are selling them in various online outlets for $15-30 and up. I'm as capitalist as the next guy, and I applaud the hustle that this shows, but I hate spending money when I don't have to, and even $15 is a pretty steep figure for an Altoids kit.

This week, we'll look at the kit I keep in my "tactical manbag." It's not really pocketable, I admit, but that's not its intent. This kit is for the purse, fanny pack, backpack, or whatever your bag of choice is. This kit was also assembled, quite literally, from stuff I had lying around the house.

This is the box that holds everything. To be entirely honest, the specifics of your particular box are irrelevant, so long as it is solid enough to protect your supplies. My particular box was from some promotional item or another, and measures 5"x3.5"x2". The black elastics hold it closed because the latch on this box is less than awesome, but that's its only real failing.

The view when you open the box. Of note are the pair of single edge razor blades, still in their sleeves, taped to the lid. (This is of note mostly because I didn't want to un-tape them for other pictures.)

With the large bandages and 5' of paracord removed, the other contents become visible.

The firemaking supplies in the box consist of a couple pieces of Wetfire tinder, a mini lighter, a ferro rod and striker, and a pill bottle with tinder and a handful of strike-anywhere matches.

For a compact tool and knife, a Leatherman Micra is hard to beat. I also keep a carbide tool bit in the box. (Effectively, it's a Speedy Sharp, just a bit more compact. It's something I picked up in my tool salesman days.)

I can also tuck a little bit of first aid in the box. It holds a half-dozen alcohol swabs, a half dozen 1"x 3" bandages, and a pair of large bandages, roughly 3"x 5". I also carry a small sleeve of ibuprofen and a tube of lip balm. The bandages and swabs were extra supplies from when I built a first aid kit; lip balm is just something we keep on hand; and ibuprofen is a lifesaver when you're broken-down and high mileage like me.

You'll note that there are certain things that I don't carry in this kit. It doesn't have a flashlight, because I keep one in the bag. It doesn't have fishing gear, because this kit and bag aren't something that generally leaves town, and I'd rather budget that space for material I'm more likely to use. The beauty of a box this size is that it lends itself to even more customization than the traditional tin, so you can add and subtract as you feel it necessary.

So there you have the Spare Parts mini survival kit. Next week, I'll show you its pocket-sized little brother. (Spoiler alert: it's not in an Altoids can!)


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