Mini survival kit
A mini survival kit is a small survival kit which consists of the most essential outdoor survival tools and supplies which are the hardest to improvise, craft on the spot, or replace. It is intended to be carried on one's person at all times, be appropriate to all environments, and be a comprehensive kit without being too large. Other personal gear will primarily offer additional serviceability and ease of use, but the mini survival kit should provide for the basic needs of a survival situation, followed by self rescue, assistance, or a return to normalcy in optimum situations.
Two philosophies surround the preparation of mini survival kits. Some people like to carry a few relatively large items such as a knife, matches, whistle, emergency food, water bottle, etc. Others prefer a collection of smaller but more comprehensive items such as rubber bands, paper clips, fishing equipment, lashing material, razor blades, etc. The decision of which technique to subscribe to depends on one's physical condition, survival skills, wilderness knowledge, and other factors.
The survival tools and supplies found in a mini survival kit are generally kept in a container that is small enough to fit in a pocket. Altoids tins are commonly used, but many other options exist, including specially purchased mini-survival kit tins, regular tobacco boxes, life capsules, film canisters, plastic bottles, tin cans or boxes. The popular Altoids-type tins measure approximately 9.3 centimetres (3.7 in) x 5.8 centimetres (2.3 in) x 2.1 centimetres (0.83 in). Some kinds of containers benefit from waterproofing, which may be done with adhesive tape or dipping the closed container in paraffin wax.
An alternative approach is to carry mini-survival kit items in no container at all, but loose on a neck-chain, or directly in a satchel, pouch or belt pouch. Additionally, it may also be included into the belt itself (as is done in money belts).
Because each kit depends on the situation and environment the person is carrying it in, there isn't a "one size fits all" kit. Instead, the person creating the kit chooses items that they will need. Below are some examples of gear carried in a kit:
- Fire source: butane lighter, matches, tinder and ferrocerium rod or "life boat matches" and striker board
- Signal device: LED micro light, small signal mirror, or survival whistle
- Candle: can be used for emergency food if made from tallow
Food and water procurement
- Fishing line: (30 feet (9.1 m) to 100 feet (30 m) or all that will fit on a bobbin)
- Assorted fishing hooks: "split shot" lead balls, snap swivels
- Snare wire: copper or brass wire is best for workability without tools or steel 'trip wire' or utility wire for durability
- Dental floss: for any uses that string might be helpful; lightweight and strong.
- Water purification bag: small capacity plastic bag, 10 US fluid ounces (0.30 l), to keep tinder dry or for water storage/transportation
- Food/energy source: glucose tablets or hard candy
- Water purification source: fire plus a tin for purification or chemical purification means; Potassium permanganate or bleach for chlorination
- Non-lubricated condoms: capable of expanding to store a large quantity of water; Magnums can hold several gallons before bursting.
- Button size compass
- Magnetized needle and thread
- Cutting tool: flexible wire or collapsible saw
- String, fishing line, wire, finishing nails, and safety pins are helpful in trying off or affixing shelter materials
- Potassium permanganate or iodine tablets: wound treatment/water treatment/antiseptic
- Scalpel or utility knife blades: minor surgery and fine work
- Plasters/bandages if they fit in the kit. Alternatively, superglue or cyanoacrylate glue can also be useful, due to its adaptability to size and shape of injury. Inclusion of this item depends on its ability to fit inside this small 100 cc space kit.
- Prescription medication for pain, such as Paracetamol or Vicoden
- Pocket knife
- Information cards with regionally selected information, knots for fishing, multi-use listings for kit contents.
Some of the historically most important items to have are:
- 1. Cutting tools
- 2. Combustion devices
- 3. Containers
- 4. Cover (warmth and shelter)
- 5. Cordage
- 6. Signalling
- 7. Food procurement
In addition to the items marked above, the following items are also frequently found in many mini-survival kits (depending on the area the operator is expecting to be in, personal experience, multiple use considerations, serviceability, and durability).
In some kits, certain items marked above can also have been completely replaced by certain items below. Items and many of their uses are listed along with alternative uses and/or alternative items to perform the role in the kit.
- Candle kit component: effectively replaced with 'ready-made' tinder i.e., tinder quick tabs, to save on space. Fire Kit components are further well filled by 4–6 LifeBoat/Storm Matches
- Alcohol wipes or Povidone-Iodine Prep Pad: wound cleaning, alcohol pads may also be used as fire tinder
- Needles or sewing awl and durable, thin thread: used for equipment repair, attaching fletching to arrows, and creating sutures.
- Butterfly closure, medium
- Braided nylon cord (10 feet (3.0 m) 150 pounds (68 kg) test): shelter building, lashing, repairs, 550 Parachute cord is a widely accepted kit component for its versatility being used whole or in its constituent parts i.e., with the inner threads removed and used individually.
- Waxed dental floss
- Waterproof paper: note taking or used as tinder
- Micro LED flashlight: signaling, work light, or fishing aid to attract fish.
- Additional water scavenging items in large kits include:
- Medium plastic bags 10x20in used in Transpiration water traps, bandannas
- Compressed sponges to collect dew.
- Small mirror 3 inches (7.6 cm) by 4 inches (10 cm): first aid, signaling
- Aluminium foil 1 square foot (0.093 m2): boiling water, cooking, signaling, reflecting fire or body heat
- Baking soda: two electrolytes, antacid, antidiarrheal, antifungal, dental hygiene, deodorant, clean skin, hair and resins.
- Butane lighter or butane torch as a more "capable" flame to ignite damp tinder
- Electrical tape (18 inches (0.46 m)) or teflon tape to waterproof the container.
- Parachute cord (20 feet (6.1 m)) wound about the outside of the container or tin: tool and weapon improvising, lashing, fishing line, trapping small game, rigging shelter, sewing repairs, to create lanyards for the kits contents.
- Duct tape (18 inches (0.46 m)): hasty repairs, waterproofing, one of the most versatile kit components.
- Safety pins: for hasty repairs.
- Sharpening stone
- systemic Analgesics such as aspirin or paracetamol
- Anti-malaria tablets: for jungle or regionally specific kits
- Antibiotics: broad spectrum ones such as Azithromycin cover staphylococcus bacteria and can treat ear infections, pneumonia, strep throat, and sinusitis
- Antihistamine: first aid against insect bites and stings and allergies
- Anti-diarrhea medication such as Loperamide
- Beta Light, battery-less/waterproof light: work light or as an attractant fishing lure
- Tritium or Superluminova kit marker
- Magnifying glass or credit card sized Fresnel lens: igniting charcloth, many first aid applications
- Super glue: protect skin, stop fabric from ripping further, weld a knot or two pieces of fabric together, other repairs. Remove with salt, veggie oil, natural alcohol, acetone, nail-polish remover, paint thinner, or it wears off. Some types of super glue may ignite  when used on cotton.
- Ziploc type bag: container to collect, treat, store, and transport water and to keep tinder dry
- "Doug Ritter's Mini Survival Kit". Equipped To Survive. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- John D. McCann. "Make a Survival Kit out of an Altoids Tin". Field & Stream. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- John D. MacMenamin. "How to build the Ultimate Altoids Survival Kit". Altoids Survival Ideas. Archived from the original on 2014-12-14. Retrieved 2014-11-12.