I recently spotted a survival kit in a small tin on a website, and immediately fell for the concept. I love things that are compact and functional. I thought it would be a great idea to copy.
The advertised kit was in an Altoids tin — a brand of mints marketed as “Curiously Strong Mints” by their London-based parent company. There were an amazing number of tips on the internet on how to use an empty tin, and one pointed to the potential of a mini survival and first aid kit.
However, when I analysed this particular kit I realised that its contents were a bit broad, as they included items such as needles, thread and buttons, as well as plasters and antiseptic creams. These sat side by side with hardcore survival items such as hooks, sinkers and threads.
My personal challenge was to come up with a kit that I could keep in my cubbyhole, or move from vehicle to vehicle. It would comprise essential items that one should keep readily at hand on a trip.
The first task was to find a suitable tin. I did not have the real deal – an Altoids tin – but I wanted to stay as true to the concept as possible.
After much searching, I unearthed a suitable tin, though it was a bit larger than an Altiods tin. Then I got down to compiling the contents.
I settled on at least 10 indispensable items to make the idea work. (The tin had to close properly, so you couldnt fit in too much.)
Let’s look at the results of my first attempt. The tin currently contains:
This one I swear by as one often gets to a braai and finds that nobody has brought matches or a lighter.
Swiss Tech multi tool
It’s both functional and useful, featuring a star and flat screwdriver, as well as pliers. You can’t fit it to a key ring, but as that only adds weight, it’s not really a problem.
Tool Logic card tool
This is extremely useful in an emergency. It gives you a variety of tools, including a knife, screwdriver, bottle opener, tweezers, pick and torch.
Mini LED torch
No explanation needed. Also useful if you come home after dark to load shedding!
Blade Tech knife sharpener
I thought about this one as it was something I could have left out, but then I came back to the idea of having a braai with a blunt carving knife!
Vigil tyre pressure gauge
This is indispensable to an off-roader, but I also use it to check tyres after having them pumped at a service station, as many of the gauges are inaccurate.
I suppose one could drop this if you have a tablet or smartphone, but it is always useful to have a decent pen and paper.
If you are a photographer, it’s always useful to work out where the sun will rise the next day.
Well, if you include a pen then the notebook is essential.
Army mirror in cloth case
The survival element here is the ability to signal by using the mirror, but I also tend to shave in the shower, and in most cases there are no mirrors!
Well, I achieved 10 items, or slightly more if you include the multi-tools. I am not convinced that my selection is spot on, but it’s a start. Why not send us an e-mail on the items you would pick, or better still, also send us a picture?