Thinking small is important when preparing for survival, and you want to make sure that you can maximize options while dealing with minimal space. Some of the best tools and utilities that you will ever need can be placed in your pocket or a small container. Here’s a list of some basic and essential items that you should never leave home without, and they can all be crammed into a small Altoids tin.
Pocket Utility Knife
A good utility knife can make dealing with a million little problems or projects a lot easier. While it will never replace what a survival knife can accomplish, it gives you access to a range of tools in a very compact space.
Super glue can fix almost anything, and it compliments a roll of duct tape rather nicely. Get a small tube of this wonder substance and use it when faced with any one of a million little problems that you will encounter in the field.
This super-strong nylon rope can be used for anything from setting traps to replacing shoelaces or making a sling. It’s also very thin and easy to fold. You can put feet of rolled up paracord into your container without taking up much space at all.
You should always have matches with you, even if you also bring a lighter. You can easily fit a small book or two of matches into the container without taking up a lot of space. Another option is to cut out the strike pad from a box of matches and glue it to the inside of the Altoids lid. Then you can have a dozen or so matchsticks inside that can be ignited with a flick of the wrist without the box getting in the way.
You can bundle up a lot of fishing line in a very small space and secure it with some scotch tape. Try to get as much as possible into a bundle that’s a few inches long. The more line you can store, the more options you will have in the field.
You can get a good compass that’s not much bigger than a quarter, and it is an essential component to any wilderness survival experience. The best way to keep it from getting lost is to either tie it around your neck or throw it into the Altoids tin.
A good plastic lighter will last quite a while as long as it doesn’t get wet. You can either put it inside the container, or attach it to the outside with some rubber bands. You can also put it directly in your pocket. Never leave home without a lighter.
Get a good pen-light that allows you to change the batteries, but find one small enough to fit in the container or comfortably in your pocket. Get an extra supply of batteries as well.
You can easily fold and store a few small zipper baggies and tie them together with a rubber band. You can also put all of your items inside of one as a way to keep everything together if you don’t have a container available.
Take a handful of various sizes and wrap them around the outside of your container or baggie. They will definitely come in handy, and you can use them to attach items to the outside of the container as well.
Never leave home without a few paperclips. They can be used to fashion makeshift fish hooks or to tie things together for a million and one different purposes. They are strong, flexible and can give you inches of material to work with while taking up minimal space.
A small tube of antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly will help to prevent infections, aid in fire-starting and protect the skin. This is one of the most valuable substances that anyone in a survival situation should have on hand.
You can easily place a few small plastic ties in your container or baggie and use them for lots of practical purposes. They are much stronger than rubber bands, can hold a lot of weight and make binding loose items together much easier.
Take a few assorted sizes with you to ensure that you can cover minor scrapes and cuts. Lay them flat on the bottom of the container to maximize space.
Cotton balls can be used to clean wounds or to start fires by soaking them in petroleum jelly. Always have a few of them on hand, and they can be placed on top of everything else before you close the container.
Keep a few packets of wipes on hand for cleaning wounds or basic sanitation. They can also be used for wiping gunk from hands and cleaning surfaces as well.
Take a few fish hooks and sandwich them between two pieces of scotch tape. This will make them easier to access without running the risk of getting poked.
You can easily fit all of these items, and more, into an Altoids tin or baggie that can be placed in your pocket. Feel free to modify this list according your needs and preferences. You will be amazed at how many different things you can take with you in a very compact space once you start playing around with various combinations.