There's a shed load of “survival tins” on the market these days ranging from gimmicky cheap and useless, up to expensive so-called “military spec” that are too big to comfortably fit in your pocket.
I've been mostly disappointed with what I've found having torn a few apart.
I reckon the best bet is to make one yourself and customise it to your own needs, maybe spend a little more on some quality stuff that'll not fall apart. (like just when you need it)
Remember the rule of threes – 3 hours without shelter, Three days without water, and three weeks without food. Keep your survival priorities to mind and use this list to get the essentials together for your own survival tin.
1 – The Will To Survive
There's no such thing as an atheist in a survival situation! Faith and Family will motivate you to keep going when it gets tough, so keep a photo laminated with some plastic in the lid of your tin.
2 – Emergency Contact Numbers
You may have lost your mobile phone. How many of you have all your important contacts on your phone?
Get them down on a small card that can be laminated to fit in your tin.
3 – A Good Knife – A decent blade will last better than a cheapo one and be more robust. It won't be able to replace your primary blade for chopping and other heavy stuff, but you'll be able to improvise a lot more with a decent blade.
4 – Ferrocerium (Ferro) Rod – Will produce extremely hot sparks to ignite tinder. Make sure you practice how to use it
5 – Strike Anywhere Matches – with a striker. Cooks matches are pretty good too, but cover them with melted wax to water proof them. Best kept in an old film can of pill bottle.
6 – Cheap Disposable Gas Lighter – these may be cheap, but are pretty robust and will light well even after getting wet with just a good shake and blow off!
7 – A Piece of Tinfoil – Measuring 12” x 12”
This can be used to make a can to boil up some water.
8 – Candle – Can be used to provide light and to transfer fire. Also a good way to make sure that fire lights first time! A few shavings of wax on your tinder works wonders
9 – Tinder – I have some cotton balls soaked in vaseline. Birch bark and pine resin are pretty good to pick up as you find too.
10 – Button Compass – The ones i've found in shop bought tins are pretty much useless. Better to spend a few dollars on one that actually points north.
11 – First Aid Items – You'll not fit lot of first aid stuff in this kit but a few aspirin, tylenol and anti-histamines should suffice. Some steri strips and a few band aids will also be useful.
12 – Duct Tape – Sticks to just about anything, can also be used to improvise splints, repair gear, improvised medical dressings etc…
I've got a few feet wound around a small piece of plastic.
13 – Razor Blade – I've got a medical scalpel blade with a plastic handle. Much easier to use.
14 – Vaseline Petroleum Jelly – Great for using with cotton balls as a fire starter, Put some in a small pill bottle. Protects minor wounds and skin.
15 – Water purification Tablets – For when you can't make fire. If you're on the move and you come across water, drink as much as you can and carry some too.
Don't be tempted to drink untreated water as a touch of the trots will have you laid up pretty bad and could end up really screwing you big time!
You dehydrate quickly and remember, you're already up against it!
Water Purification Tabs
16 – 550 Paracord – You can never have enough of this stuff so put as much as you can in your kit.
Paracord can also be thinned out to its smaller strands for such stuff as fishing line.
17 – Needle and Thread – I have a medical suture with 3 m of thread. Don't fancy stitching myself in the field much but if needs must, I'd rather use the proper stuff!
18 – Rescue Whistle – Whistle sounds carry a long way and its a lot easier to blow than to shout for extended periods. Put it on a cord around your neck so it's available as soon as you need it.
I wonder if they scare bears?
19 – A Survival Blanket – Spend a few more bucks and get a decent one made for the outdoors. The ones made by SOL seem to be more robust than most.
Can also be used to make a pretty good improvised shelter and being bright orange, will be seen from the air much more easily.
20 – Safety Pins – Improvise fishing hooks, getting out splinters and holding your gear together as well as holding bandages in place.
21 – Wire Saw – Used for sawing up branches that your knife can't handle,
22 – Fishing Kit – Some small hooks and fishing line will make it easier than trying to catch fish by hand, should the opportunity present.
Now all you have to do is get it all in the tin!
I think it's important not to lose sight of the seriousness of having stuff within reach of you should you find yourself in trouble. There's little point in having any survival kit if its stays in the closet at home rather than in your pocket or close by should you need it.
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How To Prioritise Your 3 Day Survival Kit
Keeping An Edge – Tips for Maintaining A Sharp Blade
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