The Curiously Useful Altoids Tin

The Curiously Useful Altoids Tin 0

The simple Altoids tin, designed several years ago as packaging for ‘The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Peppermints’, has since become the survival container favourite amongst the EDC community. Pocket-sized, sturdy, readily available, and with seemingly interior space, this little mint tin just happens to be an excellent way of keeping a survival kit neatly and securely stowed away.
There’s no solid lineup of survival kit ‘ingredients’ that go inside an Altoids tin survival kit; they are highly personalised kits, with components carefully chosen based on the situation and the environment in which the kit carrier frequently finds themselves. In fact, the very building of an Altoids tin survival kit is a very thought-provoking lesson in preparation, as the kit carrier should be considering their key survival priorities, and how each item would help to address them.
Creating a survival kit with these tins is also viewed as a bit of a rite of passage for EDC'ers, so I thought I’d try it as a little project, and see how I managed.
Altoids Tin Mints
So I started with the Altoids tin. The first barrier was the 50g of peppermints that packed the tin. These got quickly dealt with, so now, armed with a cleared mind and minty fresh breath, I could now put my mind towards carefully thinking about the survival priorities that my kit should help me address. I’ll list the main survival components underneath, in no particular order.
Fire Lighting
Fire is a remarkably useful survival tool, because as well as its principal role of keeping your body heated, it can also help with tackling some of the additional priorities, like water purification and signalling.
I made sure that there were two means of ignition added in my kit, as well as some decent tinder. For combustion, I went for a BIC Mini Lighter, and a little ferrocerium rod as a backup (to be used with a knife, which I included in this kit). For the tinder, I added a batch of 10 lengths of waxed jute twine. Waxed jute stays waterproof until needed, at which point it can be untwisted and fluffed up into a ‘tinder ball’, with the bonus of increased burning time due to the wax.
Water Purification
The requirement for water is a critical survival priority. Depending on the environment, just a couple of days without water could be fatal, and in the shorter term, it's essential for efficient functioning of the body and mind. So to stay properly hydrated, you require having a supply of water that wont to make you ill.
To address the demand for drinking water in my kit, I included a condom as a water gathering container, along with 10 NaDCC water purification tablets, each suitable for purifying a litre of water. Boiling water is another method of making it fit for drinking, and in an emergency, the Altoids tin could be used as a pot to boil up 50ml of water at a time.
Lack of proper shelter means that you’ll become exposed to everything the climate decides to throw at you, which in the UK typically means wind and rain, and we have it easy here. Nevertheless, exposure to wind and rain can quickly be fatal; hypothermia is a real killer. In warmer climates, heat stroke and dehydration are what make the shelter a must.
This priority I found the most challenging to address within the limits of the Altoids tin because by it's very nature even a portable shelter will use up a large space. An emergency foil blanket would have been suitable as a temporary survival shelter, but no way was it going to fit inside the tin. What I was able to include was around 10ft of 550lb paracord, for binding together a shelter frame from big sticks, and a useful-sized folding knife, for cutting the paracord, and preparing plant material.
While we’re on the topic of knives, I find them an extremely versatile and multi-functional survival tool, but an interesting point to make is that they are far less helpful in areas with little to no plant life.
Navigation / Signalling
The importance of navigation and signalling arises from the fact that there are always ways out of a survival situation, either by reaching safety or by getting help to come to you. So once you have addressed your immediate priorities, your focus should turn to these two.
The addition of a 20mm button compass in the tin means that I would have a way of getting my bearings and determining my way out, even if landmarks were proving difficult.
Signalling gets addressed in two ways in this kit; audibly, with a whistle, and visually, with the capability to make distress beacons with fire, and a reflective surface fitted in the lid of the tin. These reflective surfaces brightly reflect both visible light and infra-red, which aids rescue at night.
First Aid
Blood-loss and infection, would both be real showstoppers in a survival circumstance. So anything that you can add to a survival kit to help yourself with addressing these can only be a good thing.
I included two alcohol swabs, for wound cleaning/sterilisation. Injuries can then get dressed with a temporary bandage from torn clothing. For critical blood loss, a tourniquet can be built by using some of the paracord.
Food Procurement
In a survival scenario, food, while arguably a lower-priority matter, is still a valuable thing to be able to find. In colder climates especially, where your body burns calories far more quickly, food can be essential for maintaining your body. Having something to eat helps keep morale, and that’s one main key to survival.
My Altoids tin includes a mini fishing kit, which comprises hooks and weights, as well as safety pins and a sewing needle all sealed in a small length of plastic straw, then wrapped in 8 metres of fishing line. So with some determination, I could conceivably feed myself with fish and small game.
Carry Smarter.
Fixed Knives For EDC

Fixed Knives For EDC 0

For the most part, when people speak about knives, it's usually about folding knives since these are the most common to be carried daily. The selection of fixed blades is even larger than that of folding knives since they are used far more often in various tasks.


There are circumstances when you may bring a fixed blade knife as part of your EDC gear. These would probably be times that you are hiking, camping or entering an environment other than your usual one.


The main advantages to fixed blades are that they regularly allow a better grip, can have more job-specific blade patterns, and are usually more durable than folding knives. If you're expecting to put your knife to hard use, then a fixed blade should be in your EDC for that day.


Another excellent reason to carry a fixed blade is that, for the money, they're normally of greater quality. The complex mechanisms that go into some folding knives make them more expensive than fixed blades.


Carry Smarter.

Finding Your Keys

Finding Your Keys 0

Around the globe, people carry keys every day. It’s not unreasonable to assume that items carried so often would constantly be close at hand, owners taking comfort in the knowing that their keys are safe and secure.
You can blame it on absentmindedness, curious kids, distractions, hungry pets or gremlins hunting for shiny objects but there’s no denying that keys exceed at vanishing acts.
An excellent article popped up recently that showcased a collection of apps that are fantastic at assisting you not misplacing your keys. (Or finding them if you do) All the applications are usable on both iOS and Android. They come with many features so you can find the one that best suits you.
Some may not be available just yet, some you could use for finding other things too such as a dog on walks. If I'm going to recommend any, it would be hipKey and Tile. Both are easily attachable to your keys and operate on a simple app.
Carry Smarter.
  • Martin Punter
  • Tags: EDC Review
A True Paracord Survival Bracelet

A True Paracord Survival Bracelet 0

Paracord Survival Bracelets are popular for a few reasons. They look great and enable you to carry a usable amount of extremely durable cord with you wherever you go.

I'd like to explain to you guys what I think a true paracord survival bracelet should be. The idea of such a bracelet would be to pack in the greatest amount of functionality into a bracelet while still keeping the expenses reasonable.

Beginning with the cord. This paracord blends all of the strengths of 550 Paracord (7 white internal strands & durable outer sheath), with an added 8 lb fishing line and a strand of jute twine.

The next point that makes this bracelet so valuable is the fastener. The Firestarting Whistle Buckle blends a buckle, a ferrocerium (fire steel) rod and a practical whistle. This buckle, with the Fish/Fire Paracord, would enable you to start a fire anywhere, as long as you have sufficient fuel after you ignite.

To me, a bracelet made with those two parts makes a lot of sense. The combined functionality of the whistle, fishing line, ferrocerium rod and jute, make this bracelet a great addition to your EDC gear.
Carry Smarter.